Tools Of The Trade

Editor’s note: This column was previously published Oct. 27, 2010.

My mom is probably the strongest person I know. I don’t mean in the physical sense, more like strong-willed. I have never seen something defeat her, such as when I was 3 years old she took care of my younger sister, brother and me.

We lived in New Jersey, she couldn’t speak a word of English and my dad was deployed to Vietnam. Alone, she managed to care for us in what to her was a foreign land. The Situation has nothing on her.

That’s why some of the things she does today don’t surprise me. I said “some things.”

The other night we were all in the living room watching TV. My mom came walking from the bathroom mumbling that the toilet wasn’t flushing properly. I rolled my eyes, thinking that I would have to interrupt my mindless relaxation and solve the problem.

Before I could even complain out loud, my mom came walking back with a number of implements in her hands. Of course, she had a toilet plunger, a small plastic bucket, some paper towels and one other thing that totally caught my eye: my Bobby Flay official barbecuing tongs.

I halted her in mid-step and asked what she was doing with my tongs. She said she might need them to fix the problem. She told me not to worry, that she’d clean everything with Clorox and Lysol.

I stood up and grabbed the tongs away, saying, “Ma, there’s no way you’re going to use these for that!” Unaffected, she proceeded to the bathroom sans my tongs and took care of “the problem.”

I looked at my wife and said, “Can you believe what she was about to use my tongs for?”

My wife, with a totally straight face replied, “Why? It worked for her the last time she used them.”