This past weekend, for about a split nanosecond, I had some serious street cred.

On our way to that gangster hangout also known as the National Book Festival, we passed by an Ace Hardware Store.

“Let’s go in here for a second,” I said to my kids. “I need to get a new switch plate.”

“What did you just say?!” my fourteen year old son asked me incredulously.

“I need a new switch plate. You know…to replace the one you broke in the basement?”


The boy’s shoulders sagged visibly and he said glumly, “Oh. For a second there, I thought I had the coolest mom in the world. I thought you said you were going to buy a switchblade.”

When we got to the convention center, it was swarming with thugs like:


and these shady characters:

The boys decided they wanted to explore on their own. We said we’d keep in touch by phone, but then I forgot to take mine out of my purse.

I guess my son had forgotten all about my desperate attempts to make contact with him this summer when he was away at the beach and in Vermont, because when we finally caught up with each other again, he scolded me like an apoplectic squirrel: “We called you a million times and you didn’t answer! Do you EVER check your phone?!”

Payback, baby! With zero effort and no switchblade required! Gangsta.

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