Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

with one comment

Since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the US military has received so much media coverage in recent weeks, months and years, I thought it germane to note that we, too, have a policy by that name, and that perhaps other parents might want to post the elements of this policy around the house for the offspring to review, then ignore at will.

Because that’s what they do. They would not be independent beings if they blindly performed every little task we ordered them to. They would not generate such vicarious pleasure if obedience and proper behavior were to be expected. If they actually cleaned up after themselves after, say, missing the toilet in such a way that the mechanics of the incident remain scientifically inexplicable, we would not notice. It must be thus.

That does not stop us from expecting the best from them at all times. I am pleased to present, therefore, Thag’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:

Don’t ask:
1. For a snack unless you are prepared to accept an apple or carrot.
2. The same goddamn question again and again and again.
3. For pizza for every single meal.
4. To stay home from school. Not happening.
5. For more clothes. You have more than enough.
6. Why that person is so fat, unless you do so in a very, very soft voice. So soft that not even I will hear you.
7. For dessert until everyone else has also finished eating.
8. Me to help you find something unless you have looked ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE.
9. For a band-aid unless it’s for a band-aid-appropriate injury. The following injuries do not qualify: Invisible scratches; bruises; mosquito bites; soreness; nonexistent wounds.
10. For anything we have already told you you will not get, in the hope that we will forget that we revoked that privilege as a result of something you did.
11. Any question at all to which you already know the answer, but are just looking for the security of getting the response you expected. You will not like the response you get, so don’t ask it.

Don’t Tell:
1. On your siblings unless they are doing something dangerous.
2. Anyone they’re fat.
3. Me you weren’t doing anything when I clearly saw you or heard you engage in an activity I’ve told you at least four billion times, in the last three days alone, not to do.
4. Me you couldn’t hear me when you simply weren’t listening.
5. Your innocent younger siblings anything other than the unvarnished truth. Or your older siblings. Or your parents. Or anyone.
6. Your mother you’ll be back home at five unless you really WILL be back home at five, which means leaving your friend’s house a good bit BEFORE five to ensure that you get home on time.
7. Me to do your laundry because you have no clean clothes. In our society, we have this concept called “respect” that calls for making requests, not demands, especially when demands will make me simply say, “No.” You will find this mode of communication extremely helpful with anyone who holds any power whatsoever over you.
8. Your friends that your father has a secret identity as a superhero. Even if true, it only invites unwanted attention and makes my life more difficult. Goes-Eight-Months-At-A-Time-Without-Showering-Man cannot perform his duties with all that distraction.
9. Solicitors at the door or on the phone that we are available.
10. Me you’re not hungry right after I prepared you the food for which you just asked. Tough.
11. Me you won’t when I insist you will, or vice versa.
12. Me something happened accidentally when it happened because you were touching or playing with something not yours.
13. Me about anything less urgent than life-threatening danger before 6 in the morning, and even then, it might depend whose life.

Other policy elements shall be issued from time to time; please note them and internalize them. Other parents are naturally welcome to develop their own policies, as well as to suggest additions or amendments to the one delineated above. Just not before six in the morning.


Written by Thag

September 13, 2010 at 8:16 pm

One Response

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  1. that’s a keeper. nicely done


    September 15, 2010 at 3:33 am

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