Wednesday, April 28, 2010




1 : inclined to be merciful : lenient
2 : mild

This is one of those words that I normally see in the negative form—as in, INCLEMENT weather. I cannot say I have found myself commenting, while taking in news of mild weather: "Huh—the forecast calls for CLEMENCY all this week."

As expected, the proper name Clemente translates to a similar meaning: merciful, mild, gentle. My mother dated a man named Clemente once. He was rich and wore a gold ring on one of his pinky fingers. For Christmas one year (I was thirteen or fourteen) he bought me a $100 gift certificate to BOBS—a clothing store in Connecticut (the kind of place where you can buy any brand that is considered "cool" at the given moment). This was unheard of, not only under our Christmas tree, but in my life. It actually may have been the first gift certificate I ever received. At the time I couldn't even imagine how to begin spending $100. I think he got my sister a huge teddy bear twice the size of her four-year-old body.

Although Clemente may have appeared generous (he was just rich), I wouldn't call him merciful or mild. Even at thirteen, I could tell he was sleazy by the sugary sweet tone he used in speaking to me. I didn't trust him. I even felt a little dirty spending that $100.

It turned out Clemente had a kind of INCLEMENT past—the former mayor of a nearby city, it was rumored that he embezzled many of his riches and left office with a bad reputation. He moved away and fell off the radar for some time, returning a few years later to live in a quieter town, where people may not have remembered his misdeeds.

And then he dated my mother. This didn't last very long; They dated casually for about a year. I imagine she was onto his sleazy ways as well.

I remember using part of the gift certificate to buy a long, old-fashioned white night gown. I think I was going through a phase in which I wanted to be "old-timey." When I got it home, I put it on and stared at myself in the full-length mirror. I didn't feel old-timey as much as I did ridiculous. I laughed at myself in the mirror and changed back into my ripped up pajamas. I returned the nightgown the next day and probably used the credit toward a new pair of Chucks.

1 comment:

  1. this clemente guy sounds like good writing material. have you tried it out? like, how DID he get that gold ring on his pinky?