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Maternal Misbehavior

We sift through the annals of history, Scripture and B-movies for a dubious Mother's Day honor roll.

May 12, 2000|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"So . . . tell me about your mother."

--"Freud for Dummies"

One of the most sacred duties of motherhood is to embarrass the children whenever possible, especially if they're teenagers and--for bonus points--especially in front of members of the opposite sex.

Of course, some women take this responsibility more seriously than others. In honor of Mother's Day, we salute those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty:

Eve: Poor Cain and Abel. Not only did their mother once pick them up from the mall wearing hideous plaid pants, but they bore the additional shame of having to tell their friends, "Yes, it was our mom who ate the apple and brought Original Sin into the world."

Jochebed (mother of Moses): This model mom set her son adrift in a river, hoping that somebody--anybody--would take him off her hands. Only after considerable pressure from God did Moses later agree to reinstate the phrase "and thy Mother" to the commandment about honoring one's parents.

Joan Crawford: Actress, mother and author of "101 Uses for Coat Hangers."

Lizzie Borden's mom: The heretofore unexplained "40 whacks incident" is now believed to have followed Mrs. Borden's unfortunate decision to show embarrassing home movies to Lizzie's would-be boyfriend, Lyle.

Melissa Etheridge: Claims to be a close friend of Brad Pitt but chose David Crosby as Mr. Artificial Inseminator Guy to father her child. Compounded faux pas by admitting it publicly.

Godzilla: After terrorizing New York, carelessly laid eggs in conspicuous Madison Square Garden location, then admitted the father was David Crosby.

Jocasta (Oedipus' mom): Married her own son after he killed her husband. Winner, American Psychiatric Institute's Improper Toilet Training Lifetime Achievement Award.

Madonna: "Sex," the book. Dennis Rodman, the romance. "American Pie," the hatchet job. Enough said.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger: Anatomically correct photo album posted on Internet redefined the term "Kodak moment."

Pamela Anderson Lee: See Doc Schlessinger.

Tipper Gore: Crusade to slap parental warning labels on rock albums tarnished the poetic beauty of KC & the Sunshine Band's "Shake Your Booty."

Fergie: The Duchess of Weight Watching pushed child mortification to new heights when the Daily Mirror published photos of her "financial advisor" sucking on her toes.

Roseanne: Some mothers sing in the shower, others sing the National Anthem at baseball stadiums and grab their crotch.

Rebecca (mother of Esau and Jacob): As recounted in the Book of Genesis, this doting mom conspired with Esau's younger brother Jacob to cheat Esau out of his inheritance--and deceived her own husband in the process. Winner, Mother of the Year Award, 3005 BC.

Mama Rambo: Sylvester Stallone's thrice-married mom, Jackie, has racked up an impressive record. Besides telling reporters her son has "zipperitis," she has insulted three of his wives, promoted a team of nude female boxers called Stallone's Knockouts and publicly demonstrated the "age-old art of rumpology," in which the imprint of a person's derriere is said to foretell his or her future. In a script for "Rocky XXXIV," son Sly lives out every teen's dream and goes into the ring with Mom.

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