The Naked Truth

I am sitting in the living room with my elderly mother-in-law, Mother Mary. We are watching television. Mother Mary holds the remote.

The television is enormous. I am talking about a TV that’s bigger than a king-size mattress mounted to the wall. The volume is cranked up so loud that bits of ceiling plaster are falling into my beer.

My wife is away tonight, and she has left me alone with Mother Mary. We are watching TV. Mother Mary is flipping channels.

You’d like Mother Mary. She is white-haired, with a voice like Scarlett O’Hara. She sits in her recliner, and we are eating pizza delivery.

She flips past all the major networks. She pauses on HGTV for a little while, but nothing appeals to her. She scrolls past all her favorites: TLC, TBS, USA, TNT, Home Shopping Network, Univision.

She finally lands on the Discovery Channel. The show is entitled “Naked and Afraid.”

On the screen are two forty-somethings. Male and female. They hike through the wilderness trying to survive. And they are both—how do I put this?—buck naked.

The gist of the show is simple and realistic. Two people with desk jobs suddenly find themselves wandering through the woods, fighting insurmountable odds, harsh weather, sleep deprivation, predators, and multiple commercial breaks. And they do it without wearing any pants.

The important thing to remember here is that these are not actors, and they are actually naked. Their primary body parts are blurred by special camera effects, but their secondary body parts are in clear focus.

For example: There is a man on the screen right now. He is bending over to get a drink from the river. And I see London, I see France.

“Oh my word,” remarks Mother Mary. “I see his little hiney.”

I cover my eyes. “Mother Mary, would you like another piece of pizza?”

“Would you JUST look at that?”

“How about something from the kitchen?”

“It’s so white.”

“Some orange juice? Tea, milk, maybe a double shot of bourbon?”

“Are you SEEING this?”

“Yes, I see him, he’s naked alright.”

“As a jaybird. I can see his salt shaker.”

“His what?”

Mary covers her mouth. “Have you ever SEEN such a thing? I’m so offended. I just don’t know what to say. It simply OFFENDS me.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but you’re the one holding the remote.”

“Do you mean to tell me that people ACTUALLY watch this kinda stuff on TV?”

“I guess so.”

“It’s disgraceful.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Simply disgusting.” Mother Mary turns up the volume. She reclines in her easy chair.

And here we are. Mother-in-law and son-in-law, alone in the living room. Just a couple of in-laws, watching some good old-fashioned cable-TV nudity.

On this episode, the man and woman are trying to find shelter from the cold rain because, as I said earlier, they are only wearing the Joy of the Lord.

Whenever the man’s backside appears on the seventy-two-inch high-definition flat-screen television, his haunches are roughly the size of a Philco refrigerator.

“Oh,” says Mary. “Look at that.”

“No, ma’am. I’m not looking at the screen.”

“He’s so bony. He needs to start eating.”

The man and woman build a makeshift shelter out of bamboo and banana leaves. And I will say one thing, the guy is industrious. He might be naked, but he’s clever.

First, he builds a foundation. Then, drawing upon his background as a CPA, he devises a complicated machine that acts like a hydraulic crane. This helps him construct the roof to his shelter. When he finishes, this primitive dwelling is nicer than most one-bedroom condominiums.

But—and I don’t mean to be judgmental—at no point during the episode did it occur to him to make himself a pair of pants.

Cue the commercial.

Mother Mary says, “Can you believe what passes for television today?”

“No, ma’am. I cannot.”

“Why, I remember when TV was wholesome. Ed Sullivan wouldn’t even show Elvis from the waist down, did you know that?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“All I can say is, I wouldn’t do it.”

“Do what, ma’am?”

“Let someone drop me off in the Amazon so the whole world can see my bootius-maximus.”

“Your what?”

“Oh, loosen up. Everyone’s saying that word now.”

“Really? Because I’ve never heard that word before in my—”

The commercial break is over.

The show resumes. The man and woman are hiking through the forest again. This time, the man is climbing a tree for coconuts.

Mother Mary says, “Bony Butt sure can climb a tree. Did you just see what he did?”

“No. I was trying not to look at the screen.”

“Oh, you gotta see it. Let me rewind.”

“No, that’s okay.”

“Relax, I have DVR.”

So we watch the man scale a tree. Twice. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that from this angle we get a great shot of his blurred out salt shaker.

The TV program finally ends. Mother Mary clicks off the television. We have finished our pizza, and the night is over. And I will never be the same.

She stands, holding onto her walker for support. It’s past her bedtime. She wanders into her bedroom.

My wife arrives to give me a ride home for the evening. She asks what Mother Mary and I did tonight.

“Nothing much,” Mother Mary says, “we watched television and ate pizza.”

My wife asks, “What’d you watch?”

My mother-in-law says, “‘Naked and Afraid.’ But I wish they’d quit playing reruns.”


  1. Susan Parker - April 30, 2021 6:34 am

    Ohmygosh….reruns…..salt shaker….Bony Butt!!! I can’t get my breath for laughing!!

  2. Susan Bradshaw - April 30, 2021 8:37 am

    Priceless! This is the literature I am here to read!

  3. Laura Wilson - April 30, 2021 8:41 am

    I love Mother Mary and hope to be like her when I’m her age.

  4. Cynthia - April 30, 2021 9:27 am

    Mother Mary makes me laugh like no one else.

  5. Julie Moreno - April 30, 2021 9:50 am

    Bless her heart, what a hoot!

  6. Ann - April 30, 2021 11:05 am


  7. Elgin Clark - April 30, 2021 11:07 am

    Sean, this is by far one of your best columns yet! Bless Mother Mary!!!

  8. Lorene - April 30, 2021 11:23 am

    What a great way to get fully awake early in the morning — Hazelnut coffee and a great laugh. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lynn - April 30, 2021 11:25 am

    Oh no, I just spit out my coffee on the reruns line and all over my laptop!

  10. Heidi - April 30, 2021 11:33 am

    Can’t get any better than my morning tea, shortbread, Mother Mary and nudity. Laughing my not bony butt off.

  11. Kay Britton - April 30, 2021 12:00 pm

    This has to be one of the funniest you have ever written. I was by myself and laughed out loud!

  12. peggyhayesauthor - April 30, 2021 12:14 pm

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud, big time!

  13. Jan - April 30, 2021 12:36 pm

    Too funny, I can just see this in my mind! And laugh I must!

  14. Jennifer John - April 30, 2021 12:37 pm

    Oh, that was good. MM’s a hoot!

  15. Samantha McDaniel - April 30, 2021 12:59 pm

    This one’s a jewel!

  16. Mary - April 30, 2021 1:03 pm


  17. Louisa Farley - April 30, 2021 1:09 pm


  18. Susan Wold - April 30, 2021 1:10 pm

    This brought a wonderful memory of when we moved my gma into an apartment with cable, back in 1977. She sat in her comfy chair and turned on the TV for the first time.. Boom , full ride (and I mean ride,) Porn. I turned to look when she screamed “Oh my God,” as gma never used the Lord’s name in vain. I ran to turn the channel and she screamed again and but this time she screamed “Wait, I wanna see something.” I didn’t give her a chance to see whatever “something” was and quickly figured out how to block channels.

  19. Tina - April 30, 2021 1:16 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is hilarious! Thanks for making my day!

  20. Peggy Thompson - April 30, 2021 1:23 pm

    Love mother Mary, she is a hoot.🤣🤣♥️

  21. Tina Montalbano - April 30, 2021 1:24 pm

    OMG, that was hysterical…especially the salt shaker comment. Had me rolling on the floor. This was a GREAT, FUNNY column. Made my day…

  22. Terry Harbuck - April 30, 2021 2:41 pm

    Just hilarious!!

  23. Debbie g - April 30, 2021 2:47 pm


  24. Judy - April 30, 2021 3:32 pm

    Bootius maximus is my new favorite word n ps had to change my pants after this column…maybe naked is a good idea!

  25. Bex - April 30, 2021 3:33 pm

    🤣😂👍🏻🙌🏻🤪 This made my day! 😂

  26. Christina - April 30, 2021 3:43 pm

    Mother Mary is keeping it real for us all 😂

  27. Phil (Brown Marlin) - April 30, 2021 3:54 pm

    Hee-larious! I like Mother Mary. Be careful, or she’ll have you playing cards and going to pool rooms.
    BTW, I wonder if Bony Butt and his companion also built a shelter for the camera crew, or did they have to sleep in the van?

  28. Lynda Pedersen - April 30, 2021 4:21 pm

    OMG! Mother Mary is priceless! Tears are still streaming down my cheeks. I haven’t laughed this hard for a long time. Thank you for this blog, it was wonderful.

  29. Linda Moon - April 30, 2021 5:12 pm

    I was thinking about Mother Mary yesterday. I’ve never met her, but I sure do like her. If this post is a re-run, I’m hoping all is well with you and the family today in real-time. I hope your self-described absent spark has returned too, Sean. Re-runs of favorite movies and columnists are just fine. Come back, Sean, with a new column, maybe after you’ve taken a break from being a gifted writer. HOPE…that’s a good word I used that just popped into my head and onto the keyboard here. So, if you need it today, take it with affection from me!

  30. Jane - April 30, 2021 6:56 pm

    OH MY GOODNESS!!! Tears falling….I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!! Glad no one was close by to hear the hysterics!!

  31. Cynthia Russell - April 30, 2021 7:06 pm

    This was a repeat… I’ve read this before from you.. as soon as I started reading this I thought Naked & Afraid..
    2nd time around is a refresher.. Thanks Sean!

  32. Tammy S. - April 30, 2021 8:27 pm

    I can hardly type this from laughing so hard, so I’ll just leave it at this…😂😂😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣
    “Reruns….” 🤣

  33. Jan - April 30, 2021 11:15 pm

    So happy you still have this lady in your life.

  34. Scott Hilliker - May 1, 2021 2:18 am

    To good Sean. I’ve be laughing all day.

  35. Kate - May 1, 2021 2:31 am

    I was reading this to my husband and we were both laughing so hard we could hardly breath. Thanks so much for the laughter. I really needed it.

  36. Brian pryor - May 1, 2021 8:03 am

    Man. That was the best. Very funny. I appreciate you work. Especially these days. Keep it up. Thank you.

  37. Mary bM Berryman - May 1, 2021 1:32 pm

    What a way to start my day! That was laugh out loud funny!

  38. Suzi - May 1, 2021 5:33 pm

    Salt shaker🤣what a fun hoot she is!

  39. Sheri K - May 1, 2021 11:59 pm

    Sean, this is hilarious! I laughed till tears flowed! I love your writing; your stories are something I look forward to every day and share regularly. Thank you!! ☺😂😂☺😂

  40. Lisa Wilcox - May 3, 2021 3:27 pm

    Learn somethin’ new everyday. Salt shaker.
    Bahahaa! What a gift to get to hang out with your Mother Mary!

  41. Susan - May 3, 2021 6:35 pm

    Made me laugh so hard! Thanks for another great one Dean!

    • Susan - May 3, 2021 6:36 pm

      Hate auto correct, I meant Sean of course

  42. Bob E - May 5, 2021 1:26 am

    Thanks for the laughs…
    Oh yeah and the graphics.


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