Would It Kill Ya?

Whenever I say, “Would it kill ya?” it is usually followed by a bunch of yelling, whining and begging by my family.

One morning, my daughter signaled she was ready to go to high school by tapping a pencil fifteen times on the counter, sighing, and gripping her cell phone tight enough to lose circulation.

“Let’s go Mom,” she said, intent on finishing a text message.  “My friends are waiting.”

I scanned the room for last minute messes and spied a half finished glass of orange juice, a crusty bowl of cereal and a crushed napkin near her placemat on the kitchen table.

“Please pick up your mess,” I said, wiping the counter with a dishrag.

My daughter remained perfectly motionless except for her thumbs. “Come on, Mom.  We’re late.”

“Would it kill ya to put the dishes in the sink?”

“What’s the big deal?”

“Dishes,” I said through clenched teeth.


Back home, I poured a cup of joe and relaxed for twenty minutes.  Felt like ten seconds.  I peeked at the clock and realized that if my son didn’t clean up, pack up and hurry up, he’d be late for middle school.  Again.

“Time to go,” I shouted, grabbing the car keys.  “Get your homework and meet me in the car.”

I watched from the driver’s seat as he exited the backdoor and walked down the driveway, sluggish and drowsy, as though wadding through Jell-O. With droopy drawers and downcast eyes, he dragged his feet the entire distance.  I averted my eyes so my head didn’t explode.  How is it possible to be that slow? Moments ago, he was shooting basketball hoops while riding a scooter.

“Would it kill ya to walk any faster?” I yelled out the window.

“I’m hurrying.  Be right there.”

“You’re going to be late.”


My expectations for the family seemed simple.  Would it kill anybody to place scissors back in the drawer after using them?   Put shoes in the correct spot?  Hang up a jacket?  Be on time?  Am I asking too much?

I tried again at dinnertime to squeeze out a little more help with the chores.  First up, I asked my son to clear the table.

“Can I be excused now? Gotta go,” he said, dodging eye contact.

“Go where?”

“You know,” he said, tilting his head in the direction of the bathroom.

The bathroom faker.

“Would it kill ya to wait a minute?   It’s your turn.”

“I’ll be right back.”

Bamboozled.  A real Harry Houdini of the smooth getaway.

And a little personal grooming never hurt anyone either.  After dinnertime, snuggled up by my husband’s side, I noticed a wiry gray hair poking out of the center of his left eyebrow.  Like a thief, I tried to yank it out but missed.  A few more tries and he begged me to stop.

“Would it kill ya to pluck that crazy eyebrow?” I said with a laugh.  “It’s blocking your eye.”

I wonder if I could tug it out in the middle of the night with tweezers? Or a post-hole digger?

“Don’t touch,” he said, leaning away.  “Trying to watch ESPN here.”

“Please.  It’s so distracting.”

“Leave it.”

Finding it hard to focus on our conversation, I slipped out of the room to read I Was a Really Good Mom Before I had Kids.  In the den, my kids stared at the computer and Xbox in a high tech trance.  Unfolded laundry surrounded them like snowdrifts, piled up on every surface.  I watched in awe as my daughter shoved the mass to the ground to plunk down her textbooks and backpack.  My son took the novel approach and used the laundered clothes as a reclining chair.


“Would it kill ya to fold the laundry instead of pushing it around?” I asked with a shake of my head.

“We’re tired,” they replied in unison.

Exasperated, I joined my husband in the living room but was still fascinated by that rogue hair as long as a pipe cleaner.

“What?” I said.

Was he talking?  Can’t stop staring.

“Do you want to go out to dinner tomorrow?”

“Huh?  I can’t take my eyes off that hair.  Pull it.”

“Would it kill ya to stop saying that?” he said and tried to hotfoot it out of room.  I grabbed him in a firm embrace.

“I love you,” I said with affection.  Then with my thumb and forefinger, I yanked that wild hair right out.

Score one for Mom.

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