Personal rights and reasons don’t have to make sense

April 21, 2019

It can’t be, you’re not ready, but it is time. We need color, flowers and Oprah. But besides our spring wishes, we have our spring issues.

Today you hear those issues are about people’s rights. With images of people face-down on the pavement in handcuffs and high-profile trials being televised around the clock with 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, which is why we broke away from the British. They couldn’t understand that we have the right to wear white after Labor Day; we have the right to tailgate the car ahead of us if it has a bumper sticker; we 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 strangers 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 was, “Because I’m your father.” Number two was, “Because I’m your mother.” And number three, which I personally like best, was, “Because I said so.”

And 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 nonstop 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.

Now if he could just remember how to program his GPS to find it, everything would be all set. 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 causing 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 rights.

The squirrels will disappear very quickly, which was the whole point of the exercise. Squirrels have rights, too. But first they have to stop holding their sides and gasping for air, which comes about when they are laughing so hard they go into laryngospasms. And then they have to change out of wet pants into dry fur, and that needs no explanation.

Now, I’m not picking on men; we women also think we have a lot of rights. For example, women have the right to put on mascara at a stop sign while backhanding an unruly mob of kids (well, mostly their 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.

Summer is coming, and soon we will have the right to stand in line. “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.

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