Introducing Norman Anderson

 Guest blogger Norman Anderson is married to Marjorie and is a Catholic father of high schoolers Kevin, Marybelle and Hazel. He works as a claims adjuster at Skinner’s Insurance Incorporated. He attends St Martha’s Catholic Church in Adam’s Falls, North Carolina. Norman is a suburban hermit.

Jeannine at the office said yesterday that I had the death wish, and I haven’t really been able to get it out of my mind since. Strange that she should say that since I generally feel that I enjoy life. Perhaps it was because I didn’t wish to attend the celebration of her birthday with the other office workers at Honkers. I went there once and found the music to be very loud. You couldn’t really have a conversation, and I couldn’t understand why the waitresses were wearing such short pants and skimpy tops. I suppose it is what they call a themed restaurant.

I also did not enjoy the food very much. It seems that in many of the restaurants the menu is the same except they give different names to the same food. For example I have noticed that in one restaurant which is themed around monsters the cheeseburger was called a “Frankenburger” while in another restaurant which was themed around hiking the cheeseburger was called “The Trailblazer.” I suppose having a themed cheeseburger must make the experience of eating more exciting. I have not found it so, but I expect it must be or the restauranteurs would not continue naming their foods with themed names.

The fact of the matter is that I have come to the stage in my life where I really do not enjoy eating very much. I think this is because I am expected to have such a wonderful experience while eating, and there is something in me which dislikes being expected to have an exciting experience whenever I have a meal. I am somewhat worried that if I eat a “Frankenburger” or a “Trailblazer” and only have a rather ordinary cheeseburger experience that I have somehow let people down. Will my waitress be disappointed if I do not have the Frankenburger experience?

When we ate at the themed monster restaurant for Kevin’s birthday the waitress was called Mercedes. At first I thought it odd for a parent to name their daughter after a car, but on reflection it seemed to be a pleasing name. As she went through the “monster mash specials” I thought of other female vehicle names. “Hello, I’d like you to meet my daughter Chevrolet.” “Have you met my girlfriend Kia?” I think “Buick” would not be so euphonious.

Mercedes was rather large up top and had lots of wavy hair and a very cheerful smile. Marybelle said she used to attend St John Neumann, but left for some reason. She kept coming to the table asking cheerfully if “Everything was alright.” It was as if she was wanting me to exclaim with pleasure that I was having the Frankenburger experience, but I could not do so. It simply wasn’t in me, so I smiled and assured her that everything was indeed all right, but I don’t think she was satisfied. This caused me to wonder if everyone else was having a wonderful eating experience and whether I was letting them down. Was that man who was eating the Wolfman Ribs having an extraordinary dining experience I wondered. What about that woman who was making her way through the Saladzilla?

Perhaps Jeannine is right and I have the death wish, although I am not certain what that means. What I do realize is that I not only have less and less interest in eating food, but I also have less interest in going out and doing things. Why do people go out and do things? I would rather stay at home. I have a perfectly nice study with my books, and if I want to go out and do things I will go into the yard. I have my roses and I have taken to spending a considerable amount of time in the treehouse. The children don’t use it anymore. They are always out doing things with their friends, so it makes a very pleasant place to sit and read. I pull up the rope ladder and say the rosary there quite often too.

St Martha’s is the church we go to. Father Randy is the priest now. He is very popular and is making great efforts with the young people. I usually attend the 7:30 Mass on Sunday mornings. I prefer there to be no music. Perhaps that is the death wish in me again. I suppose Jeannine is right.

I had better go. One of the things I do go out and do is my weekly hour at the adoration chapel. Marjorie goes on Wednesday nights and I keep to the graveyard shift: Thursdays from 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning. It’s usually only me, so that is pleasant enough.


Norman Anderson on Shopping
New Guest Blogger Flora Harper
Mantilla the Hon on the Cappa Magna
Mantilla the Hon on the Use of Incense
  • kkollwitz

    Sometimes -well, all the time- this fallen world is too much to bear. Not much longer, Norman.

  • Augustine

    Actually, the car Mercedes is named after the daughter of a racer who won several races using the cars made by Daimler-Benz. Moreover, Mercedes is a pretty common name in Spanish-speaking countries.

  • Richard

    From Wikipedia: “Mercédès Adrienne Manuela Ramona Jellinek, called Mercédès (September 16, 1889 – February 23, 1929) was the daughter of Austrian automobile entrepreneur Emil Jellinek and his wife Rachel Goggmann Cenrobert. She was born in Vienna on September 16, 1889. She is best known for her father having Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft’s line of Mercedes cars named after her, beginning with the Mercedes 35 hp model of 1901. Also, at the 1902 Paris Automobile exhibition, her father hung a large picture of her.” And, as we all know, if it is written in Wikipedia, then it must be true.

  • johnnyc

    I suppose most would think Christians have a death wish being that we look forward to being with our Lord in eternity. I know some protestants who are constantly asking for the Lord to come now but I think as Catholics we look at life as a gift that we should enjoy. But I’m with ya Norman. Nothing better than to have a home cooked meal and sit down with a good book. I have the 3am shift too!

  • perenolasc

    Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes o Nuestra Señora de la Merced is in english Our Lady of Mercy!!

  • markdotgooley

    Mercedes is based on a title of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Mercy.

    It’s one of those names that can be chosen for sacred or profane reasons. Tabitha is another: Biblical name meaning gazelle, or the daughter on the Bewitched TV series.

  • mike cliffson

    Fr Randy?
    Is the stateside connotation of this name less hmm whatever than the Brit?

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    Well it’s nice to know that your chaps over in the USofA called ‘Norman’ look very similar to our Normans over here in Blighty (closely related to Malcolms).

    Does he have the nasally whine when he speaks owing to enlarged adenoids, coincidentally prevalent in our Normans, too?

    However, as he’s a rather reclusive alter-ego, I presume Mrs L’s relieved he doesn’t ‘go out’ too often…or have you been bumping into him more frequently recently?

  • AnneG

    Hi, Mike, Probably does not readily carry the same connotation as for y’all (plural of you) in the UK, but it does a little. Also, when a priest is called Fr First Name frequently means they are older and easy going, but not always.
    I suspect Fr L may be using it in both ways. At least he didn’t mention Life Teen, BLECH!

  • Richard

    Vitae est valle lacrimarum

  • cowhide3006

    I’m gonna like this guy Norman, but yeah, what Mike said. We have enough trouble explaining things to the “separated brethren” without having to deal with Fr Randy!

  • hotboogers

    He hates loud, over-themed restaurants. He’s confused by cultural efforts to ensure him a vivid experience at everything.. He enjoys solitude and the kids’ old treehouse. He prefers Mass without music. He enjoys Adoration. OMG he’s me!

  • kkollwitz


  • Marcus Aurelius

    I kind of identify with Norman. The more absurd the world gets, the more I’d rather just stay home and read.

  • ArgyleEuphoria

    Missed a golden opportunity: Quesa-zilla.

    But on a serious note, what’s the game plan? When everyone wants to get hammered at Honkers, how do you be in it and not of it? Suburbia and its suffocating consumerism can easily lead to isolation. But suburbia is almost necessary for raising a family in 21st century America.

    Love the satirical portrait, but what are we suburban hermits to do?

  • Brad Harvey

    Father: Did he mean Mass without music, or Mass without “music”?
    I find myself identifying with Norman, a bit, but I’ll wait and see what direction you take him before I decide whether I like him.