I loved my nana (who's made the briefest of cameos here, here, here, and here) to itty bitty pieces. She lived in the same house in Queens from the time she was 5 years old until a few months before she died in her 70s; she smoked like a chimney (which eventually killed her), always drank the same whiskey (Dewar's), and was intensely witty.
Once, she was visiting us in Indiana for the holidays (when I was about 13), and we saw a promo for an upcoming episode of Geraldo—back when he was a daytime talk show scandalmonger, before he became the highly reputable journalist for Fox News that he is today. It was one of those adverts that announced the topic and requested guests: "Prostitute Grannies! If you want your grandma to stop selling her body on the street, call 1-800…"
I told my nana (who was, by the way, a secretary) that I was going to call, because I was tired of her wild whoring.
She took a long drag, exhaled with a raised eyebrow, pointed at me with her cigarette, and said without missing a beat: "Don't mess with my livelihood."
I collapsed into a fit giggles. And possibly put a book on her head.
[Photo by Mama Shakes.]