Ask Mrs. Vera: What can a mother do?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

What do you do when all of your relatives want to run for President?

Barbara Pierce Bush,
Flushing, New York

Mrs. Vera newman, with rainbow eyebrows and monocles, or something.

Mrs. Vera Newman,
San Francisco, California.
Photo: Bill Bowers

Dear BooBerry Piecebush,

So sorry to be addressing your inquiry so many years after receiving your letter; the envelope was just so unattractive and I am so sensitive to cheap perfume that I had to keep it sealed in a black Ziploc® bag, which I had to paint black myself, because they didn’t make those back in 1988 when it arrived and I could have really used one because, P.U.

I never feel it is fair to blame one family member for a variety of other family members’ actions, crimes against humanity, just plain awful potato salad recipes or globally crippling atrocities resulting from utter lack of comprehension of the effects of their stupid economic policies. While this position applies to the general populace, as a manners must, in your specific case the particulars fill me with compassion at your plight, because not only must it be very lonely to be the odd lady out who doesn’t want to run for anything, herself (except, perhaps, away!), but it has also been your cross to bear to spend your entire adult life having to dress a lot nicer than you obviously would have done otherwise, and to do so at all times, when you would clearly, probably, just prefer to lounge around in stained velour sweatpants with a slutty phrase spelled out in rhinestones on the butt, leopard print tube tops, humorous novelty t-shirts about “being with stupid —>”, wearing everything Don Ed Hardy (for formal occasions) and watching Hoarders  while eating mayonnaise out of a jar with a plastic fork like a regular American. Instead, you’ve wasted your life in pearls, boxy blue suits and screw-on shoes, trying to dodge family, friends and strangers on Mother’s Day.  Congratulations, by the way, from me at least, that all of us are still here for one more year since the first Bush somewhere got elected.

For the unlucky relative doomed to witness the purchase of their loved one by the local Lobbying Conglomerate interested in installing them in an elected position, the running for office basically signals the end of one’s previous existence as an autonomous individual, and this has happened to you so many times that you might as well be a cat, and even then you had better keep track of all those lives you are running through (though I worry that you might not know what to do with a mouse if you ever actually caught one, or could ever be happy using a litter box at your age).

Most politician’s wives agree that, while regrettable, after one husband and eight children with any even potential political ambitions, safe and legal abortion should be made available, if only in the interest of the health and well-being of the mother’s life (who could die from embarrassment from the complications of her child’s actions subsequent to being born), and probably to save the country from certain irreparable collapse into feudalism.

My advice is that you should steal a time machine and go back into the past, and do something about the terrible legacy your unqualified sons have wrought upon us all.  I’m not advocating doing anything rude and paradoxy, like murder, as that would reflect poorly on you, whatever the larger benefits to society that would accrue as a result.  No, you must be creative and work harder to find a way to spare the lives of your criminal, unprosecutable children while you are simultaneously taking action to diminish the people of our Nation’s suffering at the hands of your unqualified, inept offspring.

You could, for example, perhaps, have spent a little more time teaching Neil about proper use of his piggy bank, what a savings and loan bank is supposed to do, and who other peoples’ money legally belongs to — maybe tell him how they might feel if someone were to just lose it or not give it back.

My suspicion with George W. is that phoning it in didn’t help him (or us) much in the long run, but we do not get to pick our kids, it’s true.  If you could have at least made sure he could read words and pictures, maybe that would have been enough, but I wasn’t there and don’t like to judge.  Where were you for his first eighteen years, anyway?  Since you now have a time machine to stop the collapse of both America and the civilian-crushing buildings found wherever we have bombed them looking for WMDs, would it kill you to go back in time and try to have affairs with the members of the selection committee for the Baseball Commissioner? Just think how much America could have been spared going through and the amount of wealth we could have saved if you could just pretend to find exciting the interminable dreary sports metaphors and stats being whispered in your ears by however many “Coach Moneybaggs” it took who were in a position to help out your boy around the time when Enron™ was collapsing. Lots of other wives have adapted to this reality of married life, once pretzels and broccoli have lost their charms.

You do have one other option, albeit a drastic one — one that fortunately does not involve time travel or infanticide.  You could run for office, yourself, and initiate policy changes to ameliorate the damages that have been done to America and, incidentally, the world, by your husband and children, before they do any more harm, simply by preventing them from occupying one office by literally filling it yourself and making pearl necklaces and white hair rinses your top priorities, along with putting little boxy blue business suits on little girls everywhere.  Mission Accomplished! Soon. Probably. OK, email me for Scalia’s, Thomas’s, Robert’s and Alito’s numbers if you are serious about being part of the solution.


Vera with toys and greensMrs. Vera Newman is a San Francisco absurdist character, humorist, artist, writer, community organizer, clothes horse and co-founder, with Mister Tina, of The Verasphere. She has been answering the unasked questions she receives from the lonely, empty rooms of America’s heart-shaped circulatory pump room ever since it began beating. Nestled in the politically bent bowels of the Nation since she was a young girl babysitting the very same newborn Nation, her ability to self-reflect about anyone else’s embarrassing shortcomings, inept fumblings or lousy recipes has enabled her invisible rise as a modern-day Cassandra, whatever that means. Feel free to dispose of all your worries by leaving them on her doorstep!



  1. Lady -K, Ministra Of Joy In The LOU says

    Dearies, . . . just the Latest in OurVera’s wonderings, wanderings, waffles, wiffle balls, whitewashes, walruses, and Wishes For Peace and Unity in and Amongst the Beings of This Planet. —

    I Say, “Carry On, Brave Vera-Mine (Ours), . . . The Fat Lady is Not on the schedule until Act Iii . . .
    XO, XO

    • Thank you for your kind and gracious words of support, any that come from missouri are always as greatly appreciated as they are rarefied! Funny story…I was supposed to be doing this column from Mars, and only recently discovered I’ve spent all this time at the wrong party, and boy is my face red and green with blue dots! Since the host doesn’t realize or is too well mannered to put me on the spot, I’ve agreed to stay on and at no additional cost to me have been granted the opportunity to whitewash her Walrus Compound and all the jolly Walrusi within it!