I Wish They Had Women’s MMA When My Grandma Was Young (And Other Stuff)

I used to work with a guy when I lived in Florida. I said hi to this guy every morning. We weren’t friends per se, but, as fans of Ron Swanson might say:

After all these years, I still love Parks & Rec

The first time I said hi, he did a little nod and said, “What it do?”

Immediately overcome by the urge to say it, and asked, “What doesn’t it do?”

He slowed down for a second, looked at me sideways, said, “Huh?” then kept walking away normally. Maybe a little faster than normal. And then that became our thing.

We didn’t keep in touch.

Good story–tell your grandkids.

Tell us about the mma-grandma connection, weirdo!

Right, right, right…

So my grandma passed away awhile ago now, but I was thinking about her the other night as I was falling asleep. And I remember absurdly thinking–as one does when dreams start taking over–that she was what people from a certain time would’ve called “a tough old broad,” and she’d probably whoop some ass in MMA.

She was born in Italy, came to America as a little girl, married another Italian immigrant, and raised four kids in Brooklyn. (You don’t have to say New York. I mean, you can, but a New Yorker will think you’re an asshole. They’d probably think that anyway. No offense; I think you’re great. (And New Yorkers, I’m just playin–you guys rock!)) So she already had the immigrant stigma, but she was always proud. Mentally tough, ya know?

But she was physically tough, too. She made her own dough. Have you ever rolled and pounded dough to make multiple meals for your family, no grocery bought stuff. We’re talking for all the bread, calzones, and whatever else she felt like whipping up. That will bulk up your shoulders after awhile. And pressing meatballs for dozens of people at a time and grating whole blocks of cheese. That’ll make yer forearms feel somethin. People didn’t buy box dinners or eat out all the time, back then. They spent hours in the kitchen, lifting flaming hot 20lb turkeys in and out of the oven.

I know, some people might think I’m being 100% jokey and wanna say, Hey, that’s misogynistic–equating housework to working out…, or something along those lines. First of all…

Hold on, I have to go switch the laundry to the dryer. Be right back.

OK, I’m back. As I was saying, I am–by choice–a stay at home dad. Ya know, as a side gig to blogging. So I’m not hating on housework (well, I don’t love it), women, or making fun of the homemakers, or anything like that.


No, I was serious as can be. I was trying to say that you’ve seen people cook before, but that woman was on another level. Her engine went full speed, all the time, no matter what. It was exhausting to watch her when she was cooking. She did the work of four people at once, regardless how many people she was feeding, delegating only the crappiest kitchen jobs to whichever of my aunts insisted on helping.

Working hard in the kitchen doesn’t equate to athleticism. Are you sure you don’t just wanna see someone roundhouse ol’ grandma?

Why would you say that?


Well, here. Try this.

When my father couldn’t get friends together for a game of stickball or something, she’d go outside and play catch with him. We’re talking back when people actually did say misogynistic things like, Women shouldn’t play sports; it’s unladylike. When I heard she did that, I was maybe 12, she was maybe 78. I didn’t believe it, and I told her so.

You know what she did?

I’ll tell you what she didn’t do. She didn’t laugh and say, “I know. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?”


She scowled at me, told my dad to get her a glove, and she dragged me outside and threw a baseball at me (I had a glove on, too) as hard as she could.

It stung a little.

Then she held her glove out for the ball and looked at me like, Whaddya think now, ya little shit.

With her short but strong frame, mental toughness, physical strength, the desire to overcome obstacles–perceived or imposed, and living by the rule don’t-take-no-shit, I think she could’ve given Amanda Nunes a run for her money.

Please don’t tell Amanda Nunes I said my grandma could beat her up;
I like my face the way it is.

That’s all for me. I’m gonna go hide from Amanda Nunes now.


Thanks for reading!

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