‘Because I said so’ protected by the Constitution

July 30, 2013

You hear a lot about people’s rights today. With high-profile criminal trials being televised around the clock and a horde of legal experts who specialize in interrupting each other, the idea that someone else is infringing on your territory seems to be in the forefront of the national news.

Everyone is lending an opinion as to your rights; you have the right to this, you have the right to that. You have the right to wear white after Labor Day; you have the right to tail the car ahead of you if it has an Obama/Biden bumper sticker; you have the right to throw up when a new reality show is announced by the television geniuses who gave you single men and women proposing to people they’ve only known in front of a camera. Fortunately for us, our forefathers had the vision to write all of this in the Constitution and then get the heck out of Dodge.

Life was simpler years ago, and so was the interpretation of the Constitution. Your rights were answered quite easily with three choices, number one being, “Because I’m your father.” Number two is, “Because I’m your mother.” And number three, which I like personally, is “Because I said so.”

This also affects our everyday life even in the most basic of scenarios. You take a guy who isn’t exactly known for his expertise around the house. He’s not sure where the dishwasher, washer, dryer and furnace are located, or even if there is a backyard. And yet, after being inundated with non-stop fix-it tool commercials, which sometimes are confused with medical plumbing issues, he feels the need to act. By gum, it is his right to go to the local home improvement center and wander around like he knows something. He’s thinking, I better exercise my right to fix that hole in the side of the house that squirrels have been using all year to go in and out. In fact, they’ve made so many trips, they qualified for their own E-Z Pass. According to a lawyer on television, who posed in front of a Porta Potty, which was all that was left of some poor sucker’s home, that right could be taken away from you.

He has a box of tools he’s had since the 1950s in a suitcase under a tarp in the basement, thereby necessitating the need to go out and buy stuff that will eventually result in taking down the house into a pile of sticks and kindling, which will happen as soon as he climbs the ladder and pounds a nail into the siding. Yeah, this will be fixed as soon as Elvis shows up. But hey, a guy has a right.

The squirrels will disappear very quickly, which was the whole point of the exercise; it doesn’t happen right away. Squirrels have rights too. First they have to stop holding their sides and gasping for air, which comes about when they are laughing so hard they go into laryrngo-spasms. And then they have to change out of wet pants into dry clothes, and that needs no explanation.

Now I’m not picking on men; we women also think we have a lot of rights. A prime example of this is the Kardashians, who have a reality show that demonstrates that a bunch of women in this family have a right to sit around and do nothing and still make a fortune. Actually this is the premise for most reality shows.

We women do have a lot of driving rights. For instance, you have the right to put on mascara at a stop sign while backhanding an unruly mob of kids, mostly your own, who are mooning other drivers after their Little Tykes sports event. It’s in the Constitution, and it takes quite a bit of manual dexterity.

Today’s rights are on the front pages and are not to be taken lightly. But I think I still will go with, “Because I said so.”

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.