Mike Harden commentary: Grandpas have a right to sanity
Sunday, January 20, 2008 3:27 AM
By Mike Harden
Molly, my old yellow Lab, sensed the coming tremor first, her ears perking at the telltale crunch in the Earth's lithosphere.
The three cats dived for cover like bar patrons in a cheap Western when the gunslinger hits the swinging doors.
My granddaughter, "Big Noise," had arrived. For the next eight hours, mayhem would know no bounds, tumult no end. A retiree with children (and grandchildren) has given a hostage to serenity.
I hung the nickname Big Noise on my granddaughter, recalling the wild and ominous drumbeats of Big Noise from Winnetka.
After Big Noise departed for the day, leaving the house a shambles, I decided to begin work on the Grandparents' Bill of Rights. They are amendments established for the protection of my personal constitution: First Amendment: Children shall make no babies who abridge the right of grandparents to peaceably assemble, disassemble, unwind or otherwise chill in their "golden years."
Second Amendment: A well-stocked medicine cabinet being necessary to sanity, the right of grandparents to bear liquid Benadryl and administer accordingly to barbarous children shall not be infringed; similarly, there shall be no infringement of a grandparent's right to procure, purchase or otherwise score Xanax when the aforementioned intractable child is present.
Third Amendment: Children shall refrain from the quartering of their pets with grandparents while said children are off on vacations the grandparent cannot afford because the money was spent on said child's tuition, first divorce or bail bond.
Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons and houses being an inexorable prerogative, children shall make no babies who engage in unreasonable searches and seizures of a grandparent's cabinets, shelves, drawers or stashes.
Fifth Amendment: When spoiled and unruly grandchildren are inflicted upon a grandparent, said grandparent shall not be compelled to testify against himself if the aforementioned requires restraint up to and including binding, gagging and sedation.
Sixth Amendment: Grandchildren in the care of a grandparent shall for go the right to a speedy, public trial by a jury of their peers, said peers, after all, being drooling incontinents who drink out of the dog's dish.
Seventh Amendment: In cases where grandchildren destroy the personal property of a grandparent, said grandparent shall be entitled to a redress of grievances from the parent, including, but not limited to, going upside said parent's head.
Eighth Amendment: The infliction of cruel and unusual grandchildren upon a grandparent shall be limited by the routine practice of birth control.
Ninth Amendment: The enumeration of certain rights to parents shall not be construed to deny similar rights to grandparents ; e.g. a parent may not secure peace and quiet by inflicting willful and heedless offspring on a grandparent, thus denying said grandparent similar peace and quiet.
Tenth Amendment: There shall be no Tenth Amendment because Big Noise just dumped a plate of spaghetti on the dog's head.