Susan Alexander
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Susan Alexander
 

Rant Archive:

Week of June 28th

My Creator

My family settled down in Carlisle, Pennsylvania when I was 10 years old.  Carlisle is known for Jim Thorpe and the largest annual Auto Show in the country.  I liked growing up in a small town and in general everyone was pretty friendly.   Living in a small suburban town with an off the boat Korean mother was a challenge. Even after living in the United States for over 30 years, my mother’s Korean accent is still thicker than the fog coming in from the San Francisco Bay.  Understandably, it was somewhat frustrating for some locals to speak with my mother.  When my father, brother or I would be with my mother, the locals would direct all their questions to us. This made me realize that I would always be my mother's translator for the rest of my life. My mother didn't mind because she liked to play the docile Asian role to her advantage and not have to worry about speaking to people she did not like.  As I grew older, I realized that my mother was smarter than most of the people I met in business.  If my mother was a business woman she would put Martha Stewart to shame.

I thought the reason my mother never taught my brother and I Korean was so we wouldn’t have accents and assimilate better than she did in America.  I finally figured out the real reason was so my brother and I wouldn’t understand her when she was speaking to her Korean friends.  But we did pick up some ‘key’ phrases.  So when I go into the local corner store and dry cleaners, I surprised them when I can understand their conversations.  I can understand Korean and speak in phrases but I am not able to read and write in Korean.  Basically, I would be considered an illiterate in Korean society. I usually don’t include that on my resume.

Having a realist for a mother grounds you but it also limits your delusional fantasies about relationships.  When my brother and I would bring home friends or potential dates, we did give them warning about our mother.  At first, they always thought we were exaggerating because all they saw was this petite smiling Asian lady who was feeding them a great meal. After they were comfortable then my mother would attack with her Korean inquisition of questions. A little tense, but her method would scare away any ‘junky/bum’ people that she did not want her children to hang around.

When I told my mother I was interested in comedy, she was hesitant but she has surprisingly very supportive.  She makes sure to follow-up with me every Sunday afternoon about all my gigs.  For example, I told her I would be performing at an outdoor concert on the Fourth of July (which is also my mother’s birthday).  This was her response:

“That’s good for you to perform outside because you very LOUD girl.  When you little girl you yelling so loud that Mommy try to leave you in store but security guard made Mommy take you home.”

Thank you for being my creator, editor and critic. Happy Birthday, Mom!   I love you dearly.

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