Inspired by Car Talk

September 20, 2022 at 12:23 p.m.
Pat D'Amico, Northwest Prime Time's Light Verse contributor in what she calls her "natural habitat" --
her easy chair.
Pat D'Amico, Northwest Prime Time's Light Verse contributor in what she calls her "natural habitat" -- her easy chair. Pat D'Amico

From 1987 until 2012, I occasionally tuned into “Car Talk” on National Public Radio. It was hosted by the Magliozzi brothers, Tom and Ray. I know nothing about the inner workings of cars, but I am no stranger to the humorous dynamics of Italian families and I loved their lighthearted banter. One day while they were discussing transmissions, they got on to the subject of the lessons learned from their sainted mother. I grabbed paper and pen and this happened:


Be sure to wipe your feet
And do not slam the door.
Pick up all your toys--
Or you won’t get any more.
Wash behind your ears
And dry between your toes.
Comb your hair and brush your teeth
And never pick your nose.
Don’t kick or bite or burp out loud
Or antagonize your brother.
And always you must listen
To your sainted mother.

Turn around, young lady.
Go back and change that dress.
I doubt if you can take a breath.
Your ribs are under stress.
So cover up. Put on some clothes.
Your pleading will not swerve us.
The fashion may be cutting edge
But it makes your father nervous.
Don’t chew gum. Don’t slouch or sprawl.
These words aren’t meant to smother.
It’s important that you listen
To your sainted mother.

If you use my car,
Please put back the seat.
I’d like my rear to end up near
Where feet and pedals meet.
Kindly leave your skin
The way that God intended.
Stop and think since tattoo ink
Cannot be amended.
Listen to your inner voice
And if I have my druther,
This voice of wisdom, you’ll derive
From your sainted mother.

When you’re away at college,
Avoid the boozy blasts.
A pickled brain cannot retain
Anything that lasts.
If your money’s running short,
It’ll do no good to try
To hit up Mom and Dad again--
The well is running dry.
Someday you’ll have children
And one way or another
You’ll tell them they must listen
To their sainted mother.

* * *

Here are some of Pat’s thoughts about “payback” after the kids grow up…

Here is my laptop.
I’ve messed up again.
I pointed and clicked
And that is right when
All of my programs
Refused to respond.
Now I must call on
The parent child bond.
Please, will you fix it—
Pull out all the stops
And think of the time
When you were laptops.
* * *


Our children are having children;
Now it’s time for retribution.
When faced with misbehavior,
They’re in charge of the solution.
When things start getting testy,
I put on my coat and hat.
And just before I reach the door,
I say, “Good luck with that!”

* * *


“He’s looking out my window!”
“She’s breathing all my air!”
“He’s hogging more than half the room!”
“Am not!” “Are too!” “No fair!”
Their mother says she’ll stop the car
And they’ll get what is coming.
Grandma zips her lips
But déjà vu is softly humming.

* * *


Here come the headlights.
The grandkids are here;
Filling our hearts up
With love, hope and cheer.
There go the tail lights.
We’re pooped and need rest—
Can’t decide if the heads
Or the tails are the best.

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