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What's So Funny

What makes a mom cool? What traits have one mother coming across as a stern taskmaster while another seems fun and easygoing? Why are some moms Georgia peaches and others Kentucky dykes? Why does one mom constantly get on your case, saying, "Take out the trash, Adam, take out the trash, Adam, when are you going to take out the trash?" when all you're trying to do is get past this one level on Street Fighter II and you've been fighting Sagat for an hour now, and you're on the verge of beating him, so you're forced to scream, "Jesus Christ, I'll take the trash out in a goddamned second! Don't you realize you're fucking suffocating me?!" when someone else's mom would just take out the trash herself?

I remember the coolest mother I ever met. It was in 1997, that period of Denver that local historian Tom Noel often refers to as the "What's So Funny Coming-of-Age Years." Even then, my seasoned journalistic skills were in play, and by keeping my ear to the street -- read: paying a girl on the field-hockey team to tell me -- I had gotten wind of a party in Five Points.

Arriving promptly at 7:30 p.m., I was shocked to find not one single member of the National Honor Society at the soirée. Nor a student council member, nor anyone from the yearbook or newspaper -- not even a Key Clubber! In their stead was every reputed gang member at East High School at the time. Dickies, do-rags, teardrop tattoos, rottweilers, the whole nine. They eyed me the way a silverback gorilla family might an intruding adolescent male, if that adolescent were, say, a spider monkey with a tendency to cry during fire drills. The air grew tense. Were I wearing pants, I would have shat them. But I was wearing shorts, so I was okay.

Then, lo, a sweatpants-clad mother appeared on the porch, holding two enormous plates of spaghetti.

"You one of Joseph's friends?" she asked. "Come on in here and get yourself something to eat!"

As I sat at the kitchen table shoveling noodles into my mouth, the woman explained that it didn't matter if I knew Joseph or not. Everybody was welcome at her son's birthday party.

A well-known East drug dealer walked in, grabbed a beer from the fridge and proceeded to go back outside. Joseph's mother slapped him on the back of the head so sharply and suddenly that were it not for the spit that shot out of his mouth and landed on the floor, I wouldn't have been able to say for sure that it happened.

"Boy, take your ass downstairs with that beer!" she cried. "What, are you crazy? Trying to get me arrested or something? Get your ass in the basement!"

He lowered his head in defeat and obligingly headed down the back staircase.

This was a cool mom.

Silvia Ann Johnson is not a cool mom. Oh, she may think she is. In fact, during an interview with a Jefferson County investigator, she went so far as to describe herself as a "cool mom." Johnson is accused of supplying liquor, marijuana and methamphetamines to Arvada West High School students, and of having sex with at least five boys between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. She was never popular in high school, she told police, but these teen parties made her feel included.

Now, we know what you're thinking: "Not cool? That's the coolest thing I've ever heard!" But you're wrong. Such behavior used to be kind of cool. But it's gotten out of hand.

When Tom Jones penned those lyrics to the smash hit "Sex Mom" -- Sex mom sex mom, you're my sex mom/And baby you can turn me on -- the sight of a liquored-up hoochie mama slutting about her kid's party was a rarity, a chance occasion to be celebrated in song. But the Sex Mom phenomenon has become so commonplace now, it's just sad. You can't count the number of mothers you see turning to drugs and alcohol in the relentless pursuit of popularity these days. Moms turn on the TV and see those desperate housewives sucking off their pool boys, and they want to do it, too. Then, at the mall, the moms are all whored up with makeup and pierced ears, hanging out with all the popular boys like Jason, whose parents have a pool, and Brian, whose brother works for the Broncos. When will it end?

Right now. A few other ways to be a "cool mom" besides offering angel dust and hand jobs:

In addition to milk, soda and purple stuff, keep refrigerator amply stocked with Sunny D

Why hide the harsh realities of the world from your children? Allow your kids to watch pornography -- but watch with them

Demonstrate depth of "downness" by publicly referring to kids in carpool as "my li'l crazy-ass homies"

Cook a meal every once in a while, bitch

Distance self from other parents by appropriating thirteen-year-olds' fashion trends

Sex is a rather large commitment; a blow job -- now, that's cool

Contrary to popular belief, everyone enjoys hearing about your childhood in Thornton. Keep those gems coming.

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Adam Cayton-Holland

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