It’s time we talk about Aunt Sally. Mainly about how she’s wasted, and has been for over one hundred years.
You know Aunt Sally from grade school. She is the one your math teachers told you about when helping you memorize the order of operations — Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction — or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. And guess what? That’s my aunt, and she’s drunk off her ass.
Nobody knows exactly when Aunt Sally started drinking, but my mom tells me that when they were growing up, she’d find Aunt Sally in the garage throwing back Heinekens like some sort of saloon cowboy. “Sally,” she’d say. “Don’t you think that’s enough?” “Eat a dick and die,” Aunt Sally would reply.
When I was born Aunt Sally showed up to the hospital trashed. She had a bunch of bags with her, mostly stashed with Mary Kay makeup and cheese crackers, which she spilled all over the floor. “Sorry,” she laughed, her eyes wobbling around her skull like loose grocery cart wheels. Then she asked my mom to do a reenactment of the birth. “Please excuse her,” my mom sighed to the nurse. This is when I learned that Aunt Sally needed to be excused.
On Saturdays when we were kids Aunt Sally took me and my sister to the movies. It was fine in the beginning because she’d mostly sleep, but as time went on she liked to provide commentary. “IDIOT!” she yelled when Lindsay Lohan revealed her identity as the other twin to the nanny. “Shhhhhh!” the theater hissed. Aunt Sally would scoff and down a wine cooler she’d snuck in with some Milk Duds, then lean over to me and whisper, “Don’t look under your seat.” I always looked under my seat and there was never anything there.
For my high school prom Aunt Sally told me she knew a great venue for photos. “It’s a castle,” she wheezed to me with the enthusiasm of someone who just won twenty dollars from a scratch-off ticket. “You and your friends can pose in front of the fountain before heading to the dance.” Turns out she didn’t even know the guy whose house it was. He threatened to call the cops and she called him an illuminati-worshipping jizzmonger. “This is why you should tax the rich,” she said to me and my date, who I never heard from again.
Things became worse when she made herself public. One year she ran for town council and told the incumbent he looked like an oversized bird. Another time she went on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and asked the audience if they’d ever seen a million dollar pussy, before flashing them, when she got the $250,000 question wrong.
And so I beg of you, dear reader, to please excuse my dear Aunt Sally. But also to stop using this phrase for your math equations. My Aunt Sally is a real person with real problems—not a cute mnemonic device.
Math teachers, please consider the embarrassment of my family and return to the device you were teaching your students for years before you learned about Aunt Sally: Pain Eats My Dead, Afflicted Soul.