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'Amy's Answering Machine': More Messages

Amy's real answering machine
Amy's real answering machine
<I>Amy's Answering Machine</I>, the book
Amy's Answering Machine, the book

What would you do if your mother left this message on your answering machine?: "I'm just thinking, if God forbid you needed to get out of your apartment real fast, maybe you ought to get yourself a parachute."

Or this one: "I hope you're still taking your allergy shots. I don't like that sneeze. [A friend who was allergic] gave one good sneeze and she went into labor."

Well, if you're former advertising executive-turned-comedian Amy Borkowsky -- whose wildly successful compilation of her Mom's messages were collected on a CD and book titled Amy's Answering Machine -- you'd put out a sequel CD, of course. Call it Volume 2: More Messages from Mom.

"You know, everybody's getting a big kick out of my mother," Borkowsky tells NPR's John Ydstie. She heard that a fan even threw a "momioke party," where guests took turns mouthing her Mom's messages while playing them.

Borkowsky insists that her mother is like everybody else's. "She's just a little more extreme." Other mothers are creative in finding alternate uses for things, like converting an old sock into a dusting mitt or making a vase out of a wine bottle. "My mother calls me up a couple of weeks ago to say that the ladies' room in an airport can also be used as a tornado shelter."

There's no telling how far her mother's imagination might wander, as in this message: "Amila, I'm having second thoughts about that little palm-size computer that you bought. You could swallow it and, God forbid, choke... I just read an article about a fellow who lost a tiny cell phone and when he dialed his own number to try and locate it, he heard a ringing sound coming from his dog..."

Borkowsky says her mother's messages drive her crazy, "but I love her and I want her in my life. I'm not going to break up with her [and say]... 'Look Mom, this relationship isn't going anywhere and I'd like to start seeing other mothers.'"

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

John Ydstie
John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.