Ask the Fruitcake Lady: Everything You’d Already Know If You Had Any Sense


Chapter One


I had an ideal childhood. But I was not the perfect child. I was a real rough neck, you know. I liked doing things that were very dangerous. After my parents died, I was raised by my aunt Jenny at her big old house in Monroeville, Alabama. There were a bunch of us kids there, including my young nephew, Truman Capote. While Jenny wasn’t good at showing love, we knew she cared about us. She never prohibited us from doing things. We lived near the woods, so of course I always wanted to go out there and walk around gathering things, like wild strawberries. But there were a lot of snakes out there. I hate snakes, so I’d put a leash on a pig and he’d walk in front of me and squeal and that would run the snakes away. That’s the kind of thing a kid needs to do. There’s just so many things a parent could tell a child not to do, so many that you couldn’t possibly get around to all of them, so you might as well back off. When you let them do things on their own, then they are better able to cope with life. That’s all there is to it.


Q: When I ask my daughter if she’s finished her homework she just says, “Whatever.” It burns me. What can I do?

A: Nothing. That’s their favorite expression. It means they haven’t done it, but they will do it. Let ‘em go. They’re saying whatever, not never.

Q: Yesterday my dad told me to do my chores. I said, “No.”  He said, “What?” I said, “You heard me.” Then he swatted me on the butt so hard I could feel the sting all the way through my jeans. Is that the child abuse they were teaching us about at school?

A: Well aren’t you a daisy.  I mean, you felt a sting?  Through your jeans? That’s not child abuse. That’s not even tough love. He could of taken a damned belt to your behind. He could have knocked you right down on it. He could have beat you up right there for talking back to him. But he didn’t. He gave you a swat. So listen up: do your chores! Stop being ridiculous! Lord!

Q: I’ve got four kids under age ten. I like to read the paper when I take them to the playground. They insist I play. What are my rights?

A: You have the right not to take them to the park, you idiot. But if you take them to the park, you should play with them in the park. You’re not going there for your pleasure.  So why not follow through on it, you selfish bastard?

Q: My friend dopes his daughter up on Starbucks coffee before her field hockey games to make her more competitive. Is this a good idea?

A:  That’s absolutely wrong. He’s trying to live through her and he should get a life of his own. Doping up his own daughter --- it’s criminal, really. That is the sorriest story I ever heard. And you call him your friend?

Q: The five-year-old boy next door is taking a little too much interest in my five-year-old girl. What should I do?

A: Well, forget the boy. You can’t do anything about them. You’ve got to tell your girl the facts: boys should not touch girls. And if they try to do that she should run right home. You tell her never to show a boy anything, even if he promises to show his thing too. Cause he probably won’t. And if he did it wouldn’t be that interesting, from what I’ve seen.

Q: My porky 11-year old son looks right at home in his pigsty of a room. When I told him to quit eating fries, he just stuffed one in his mouth and said French people never get fat. What can I do?

A:  Well who gave him the French fries in the first place? The real beast is that if you say no, he just gets upset, and then you go and serve him every damn thing he wants. No wonder he’s so unattractive. You’re the parent. Just tell him not to eat too much. Let him get upset and jump up and down – the exercise would do him good. I would not give him extra money for French Fries. I would not give him money for burgers after school. I mean, Lord, look at your own self. You’re probably the biggest hog in that house. How’s he going to learn anything from you? How many French fries did you eat today?

Q: My 16 year old son is gay. Should I let him have same sex sleepovers?

A: Hell no! Are you crazy? Would you let your 16-year old girl have a boy over for the night? Do everything in your power to stop it. Gay child sleepovers? What in the hell is happening to this world? 

Q:  I’m twelve, and my parents give me everything I want. I’ve got the cellphone, the nice jeans, the sunglasses, the Chihuahua with a fake fur coat. How can I get them to stop spoiling me?

A: You must be an exceptional child, because most children would never even think about being spoiled. They’d just ask for more. But you’ve just got to let your parents be parents, even if they do a terrible job. You can’t tell them what to do. You’ve got to live with being spoiled. Just don’t make the same mistakes with your dog. 

Q: Should children be seen and not heard?

A: Absolutely. They’re boring. They shouldn’t talk until their first year of college.

Q: My son wants to know if I ever smoked reefer. Well I did, and sometimes still do. What should I say?

A: Good God, what are you – a drug addict?  Smoking marijuana is about the worst thing a person could do. But you’ve got to tell your child the truth. I don’t believe in all these parents sneaking around and doing things they don’t want their children to know about.  I mean, there are some things – intimate things, like dressing up all fancy and rolling around in the bedroom -- that you should keep to yourself, but other than that you should tell them the truth. And warn them about the dangers. And maybe check into a rehab yourself.

Q: My folks want me to clean my room. Isn’t that what the maid is for?

Well aren’t you something. The only maid you need is that somebody made you clean your room. If you were my child I’d tell you to get your ass in there and get that room clean and I mean clean that room. And then you get in there and clean the maid’s room too. What’ll happen when you leave home and get married? Who is going to clean your room then? I mean, Lord! You might just end up an old maid yourself.

Q: Are children weird, or is it just my imagination?

A: God, are you joking?  Jesus Christ, are they strange.  Oh, Lord, they’ve got animal in them. They’ve got human in them. They are a mixture of everything God ever made.  It’s like a cocktail.  A bad one.  I don’t ever want another.

Q: My kids refuse to go to sleep at their bedtime, especially when my wife is out of town. What can I do?

A: There’s no way that you can force a child to go to sleep. They’re going to play with pillows, tear them up and get feathers all over the damn place. Its just part of their lives. With young kids you could try reading them a story, or offering a bribe, but with teenagers you’re just wasting your time. Tell them to go to bed and then go downstairs and have a cup of tea and put those kids out of your mind. And what’s your wife doing out of town anyway?

Q: My kids rebel when I try to impose my marine training methods on the household – it’s rare I can bounce a quarter off their beds. How much leeway should I give them?

A: I don’t try to stop children too much. I think children should express themselves.  Absolutely, you warp a child when you don’t allow them to do anything that’s brazen. And it’s not too good for you, either, fighting them, getting rough with them. I mean, I know sometimes you wonder why God brought this on you and all that, and you just get to feeling like you could kill them, but the law says you can’t. 

Q: When I try to wake my son up for school he pretends he’s wounded and can’t move. What do I do?

A: Oh, God. That’s like, Jesus, that is a problem. You’ve got to take measures there and show him what it might be like to really get wounded. I’d just jerk his covers off and say, get the hell out of bed and I mean get up now. Just scream and cuss at him.  In utter anger he’ll get out of the bed. He’ll sit down at the breakfast table and sulk. But you don’t give a damn about whether he eats his cereal or not. You don’t care about anything. Then when the school bus comes you start yelling and cussing till he gets his ass up out of the chair and onto the bus. School’s important. Breakfast isn’t.

Q: My fourteen-year-old daughter hangs out with a girl who talks back, lives on junk food, and never does her homework. I can’t stand her values, but my daughter thinks she’s cool. What can I do?

A: For God’s sakes, you’re the parent, aren’t you?  You tell her, look, you’re not going to be friends with that girl and that’s all there is to it and if you do see her there’s going to be serious consequences. If she resists, you must really pound her down by cutting off every advantage that she haves. No phone, no allowance, no candy, no TV. You just sew her up. Oh, she’ll cry and carry on and all that. But in cases like this you’ve got to be firm. Absolutely. In the end she’ll respect you for it. Children are strange in this way.

CHAPTER: BODY  14 questions

Now my body, it’s getting old, but I’m still strong. Everybody young is mystified by that. They think you just shrivel up and disappear, but you don’t. Some old people, however, get real difficult. Like old men. An old man is a hard thing to get along with. In general, they are rigid and they are ornery. I mean, they’re very judgmental, you know. And then old women -- God, they’re a mess. They want to meddle in everything in your life. Everything. They live for gossip. That’s their whole world. I tell them, for God’s sakes, start a rose garden or do something constructive, instead of all this damned gossiping, you know? That will drain the life right out of yourself. The secret to getting old is taking care of yourself. I don’t go in for fads or anything like weigh lifting or walking. I just do as I damned please and do the best I can and roll along with life as it comes. That’s all you’ve got to do, man.

Q: Is youth wasted on the young?

A: Of course not. It’s wasted by old people who think they could do it better, if only they had the chance – which they won’t.

Q: What is the secret to longevity, not that at age 95 you would know?

A: Just live a normal life and don’t go to extremes. Be moderate. Like me. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. I used to smoke. Oh God I smoked. Oh Lord, it was terrible. And then I just realized all of a sudden that I was killing myself with smoking and I just stopped dead before I died. That was ten years ago. I was 85.

Q: Should I pay extra for soft bathroom tissue, or save money on the rough stuff?

A: Your ass won’t know the difference.

Q: My wife says I’m lazy for wanting to nap in the afternoon. Do you nap?

A: Your wife is right, poor thing. Nothing worse than a lazy man. I never nap, and I’m 95 years old.  I get into bed each night with my pit bull, Chrissie, and we watch Jay Leno. It’s part of my job to keep up with the show. Especially when I’m on it. Jay once said to me, “My God, you mean to tell me you get into bed with a pit bull?” I said, “Of course, Jay – and she won’t let anybody else come into the room.” I think he might have been sad to hear that.

Q: Is it possible to cry when you’re underwater?

A: Who the hell cares whether you cry underwater or you don’t? Now I’ve never heard of anything as foolish as that. Oh Lord, that was a stupid question.

Q: My wife is begging for a boob job. I’m horrified, and told her I’d divorce her if she got one.  Am I being too stubborn?

A: I think you’re right. She shouldn’t do it. If you’re happy with the way her breasts are, even if they are small or saggy or whatever, she should be happy too. I think all this medical stuff is very dangerous, and eventually they’d have to go back in there and take all that stuff out and restuff it. She’d start to feel like a horned sheep on somebody’s trophy wall. I wouldn’t let her. But you’ve got to make her feel that you like it the way it is. Let her know not all men need need overinflated balloons to play with.

Q: How do I get my husband to stop adjusting his privates in public?

A: That is the worst habit I think any man on earth can have. Just clawing at his dick every time he goes out to the mall, putting it over here and moving it over there —I don’t know why any wife would put up with that kind of disgusting behavior. I would just tell him, look, you do all the playing you want here at home, but you’re not going to fondle yourself out in public like you’ve got some kind of pet in your pants that you got to take care of. It’s sickening.

Q: Scientists have found a virus that causes obesity.  How can I avoid catching it?

A: What’s that virus called – the gut stuffer virus? The fat cheeked jiggle butt give me another donut virus? The I’m a piggy wiggy wiggy virus? The I can’t control myself so I’m gonna go blame some little innocent virus that doesn’t know a crème puff from a salad? The only way you can avoid that virus is by keeping your jaws closed.

Q: Why did God give us wrinkles?

A: It’s to remind people to act their age. Oh God, there’s way too many people these days that are acting teenile instead of senile.

Q: Statistics show that widowers die younger than men who are married. I don’t understand.

A: Just look down at your penis. That’s all the explanation you need. Men in general can die from not having sex. That’s what they’re all about. Still, even though most of these old widowers are rigid, its not necessarily in the way that a woman needs. These softies wouldn’t be a lady’s first choice.

Q: My grannie’s Victoria Secret catalogue is just brimming with Post-It notes, including a hot pink one flagging a sheer teddie-stocking combo. Isn’t she too old for lingerie?

A: What difference does it make how old a woman is? Some women wear lingerie well into their 60s and 70s. Some of them still wear string underwear for God’s sake. It’s ridiculous, sure, but no more ridiculous than a 17 year old using a piece of string to cover her butt. It just depends on the individual woman, and how she feels about herself. What does it matter? How come you’re asking me such a dumb question? Just remember those Post-Its when her next birthday rolls around.

Q:  Do you think cosmetic surgery is good?

A: I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. I think you should do the best you can to always look good and all that, but remember, there are ugly people who are very interesting, and I think they should remain that way. While, generally, prettier people seem to have an easier time of it, sometimes ugly people have much better character and can do things with their lives that a better looking person wouldn’t bother to do. Beauty can be a real curse. Sometimes a person will depend on her beauty, instead of her brain, to her everlasting sorrow.  And if that’s beauty’s faked up by some doctor? Well, even a dog could spot that.

Q: My college age son is averse to bathing. He comes home stinking like a bear and tells me the smell is God’s gift --  he doesn’t want to mess with mother nature. What do you think of that?

A: You ought to knock the living shit out of him. Oh, God.  You are the mother. Take charge. He shouldn’t be allowed to stink. That’s sickening. He should take a shower every day. Maybe two.  Plus deoderant and maybe a squirt of cologne. How’d you raise that boy? Good lord.

Q: Is it okay for a man to get his butt waxed?

A: If that’s what he wants, yes.  I don’t see the point of it, but it’s not my butt.