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The Times
  • Gary Brown: Your mom might get you elected, too

  • I think I first truly realized how much my mother loved me when she agreed to organize an entire eighth-grade class graduation party in 1 1/2 days. She might have needed to show less urgent love if I’d told her sooner that this was her job.

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  • I think I first truly realized how much my mother loved me when she agreed to organize an entire eighth-grade class graduation party in 1 1/2 days. She might have needed to show less urgent love if I’d told her sooner that this was her job.
    The mother of every eighth-grade class president was responsible for planning the graduation party. Most of them knew about it ahead of time. My mother found out about it ahead of time, too, but only technically. The party was on a Friday, and I think I told her about it Wednesday after school.
    “I’m in charge of what?” my mom asked, with additional question marks and even more exclamation points than I am grammatically allowed to reproduce here.
    “Eh, everything, I think,” I answered, and went to get an after-school snack. “Sister wanted me to ask you how it’s going.”
    GETTING ELECTED
    As you can tell from the blatant nun reference, I went to a parochial school where I proved that it apparently was incredibly easy to get elected eighth-grade class president.
    First of all, I had a political network. I didn’t know this at the time, but all the guys I played with on the basketball team — fellows who didn’t want to be eighth-grade class president, or at least had mothers who didn’t want them to be chief class executive — were happy to work to get me elected.
    And since many of those guys had girlfriends — at least in the sense that there was someone special in a group of girls who would stare and giggle with her friends — they were able to garner a significant number of votes from an opposite sex that otherwise would have been like a different political party to me.
    Endearingly, I got a lot of B’s in subjects, so none of my classmates had much of an opportunity to dislike me for being too smart.
    But perhaps my biggest political asset in my campaign was my absence from it. I was a crossing guard, trained to be an altar boy, and I even delivered recess milk, so I really wasn’t in class enough to make many enemies. I certainly didn’t have time to promise anything that went against church doctrine. “Meat on all Fridays!”
    So, my election really came as a surprise to me. I think my entire acceptance speech consisted of the words, “I am? Oh. OK.”
    MOM GETS THE VOTE
    Just that quickly — actually it took eight or nine months for Mom to find out about it — my mother was entrusted with the organization of the celebration of the biggest event in our admittedly short scholarly careers.
    Page 2 of 2 - Actually, the party took place before our graduation, I think so the nuns in charge had diplomas to hold over our heads if we got out of line. It was part dance and part buffet. I think. I know I remember eating.
    Fortunately, the school gym, where the party was held, already had been reserved by school officials who were working under the delusion that I actually had told my mom in advance. Mom had placed a few frantic last-minute phone calls to other mothers to get food prepared.
    In the end, the party went so well that my elect-ability extended into my freshman year of high school, when a block of trusted parochial school voters assured my selection as homeroom representative to the student council. And I have Mom to thank.
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