Once Again It’s Award Season and My Mother’s a Red Carpet Aficionado

by Paul Beckman

Good morning. Before I start would someone please pass an everything bagel, some lox, and a slice tomato. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, (except for my brother Solly), friends, acquaintances, and those of you who know me by reputation and those of you whom I do not really know.

This award for a Critical Statue is something I have not even allowed myself to consider and now I’m standing on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty which most of you consider being a New York Wonder of the World, but in all actuality, it is in New Jersey waters.

I would like to thank you all, especially my family, for nominating me to be “Critical of the Year.” I learned criticism from my mother and she, from hers. Without further ado, I will thank those who have accepted my criticisms in the spirit for which they are given.

I’ve been allotted eleven minutes and eleven seconds to give my speech. The Critical Award Committee should realize that to do this award justice the award winner should be given unlimited time or at least one hour and eleven seconds but that is an issue I can take up later since I imagine, like Miss America, I will be traveling around the country giving speeches, criticizing, answering questions, and selling my new and first-ever chapbook:

“Wrong? You Want to Know What’s Wrong? Okay, I’ll tell you.

A Loving Mother’s/Sister/Friend/Neighbor/Stranger on a Bus’/ Guide to Criticism.”

“To my devoted daughter, Sandy. Yes. I think that skirt makes your tuches look big. But that’s your taste; all of your skirts add ten pounds to your tuches. It’s the stripes, you should try paisley.”

“To my loving son Morton: You went to med school to be a pediatrician. You could have been a radiologist and made real money.”

“Now to my daughter-in-law, Marsha. You could have pushed Morton to be a real doctor, but you said you wanted him to be happy. Good. Is he happy? Are you? I’m not an I Told You So, but . . .”

Molly, my older sister: “I told you not to marry the bum. You’re still working, and he retired when he turned fifty but, remember, he practiced retiring for ten years before that. Feh!”

“To my five grandchildren. Using the F-word at the dinner table does not make you seem like adults; you sound like hooligans.”

“Rabbi Hoberman, stop flirting with all the women and give your wife money for a makeover and some fashionable clothes. Have her call me and I’ll take her to my stylist, Carlos, and please shake loose some money from the pushka, and I’ll go with her to Bergdorf’s. You? Your taste is all in your mouth.”

“Time is running short, so I’ll double up with my neighbors on each side. Bea or Joan, would it kill you to make the latkes or the birthday cake one year?” “Okay, Solly, now you.”