Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lamentations of the Father

I got this from AllanE a long time ago.

A Father's Laws Concerning Food and Drink
Household Principles
Lamentations of the Father
by Ian Frazier

Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all
foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the
living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into
burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the
cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not
in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the
wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright
color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living
room. Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen
after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living
room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in
sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may
you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where
the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you
may not eat, neither may you drink.

But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something,
then may you eat in the living room.

Laws When at Table

And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a
greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as
they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon
the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you
have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table
are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is
given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor
spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not
bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have
swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister
what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat
that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws,
nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to
you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the
table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And
though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not
stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that,
that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side
or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed
me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Laws Pertaining to Dessert

For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that
is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have
dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have
eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each
bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six
peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of
your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can
see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number
of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have
dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten,
you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion ther eof.
And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around
with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not,
you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no

On Screaming

Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are
given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each
other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the
ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal
seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning
is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain
from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause
you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your
throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your
nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold,
I eat of it myself, yet do not die.

Concerning Face and Hands

Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to
the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are
upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice
thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the
tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a
manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it
must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances

Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on
bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars,
nor against any building; nor eat sand.

Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should
so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as
I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will
drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

Complaints and Lamentations

O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you
must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail;
and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and
even sometimes do you spit, and shout "stupid-head" and other
blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof
when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that
no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has
years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in
anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway,
"Can I come out?" and I reply, "No, you may not come out." And
again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you
ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay
again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount
higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give
six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even
this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member
of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we
still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth
within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for
surely you cannot know.

For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and
unfairness of it and rend my receipts. And you shall remember
that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.

Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father;
Volume 279, No. 2; pages 89-90]