Perhaps you’ve heard about the New Jersey girl who is attempting to sue her parents for her current private school tuition then college costs and legal expenses. In her suit, 18 year old Rachel Canning claims her parents tried to make her live by their oppressive rules. She has been living with the family of a friend. The friend’s father happens to be a lawyer who apparently has a little time on his hands.
While a judge has made a preliminary judgement against Canning’s case, there’s no question she’s opened an exciting, slimy can of legal worms for the rest of us to consider. Upon learning of the story, my first instinct was to follow her example and go after my own parents for punitive damages. I made a short list of their horrible transgressions which included my lack of birthday ponies in the 60′s and top shelf orthodontia in the 70′s. After considering their fixed-income octogenarian lifestyle as well as some issues with the statutes of limitations, I’ve decided against that route. Looks like they’re going to be able to afford a little sweater for their dog, after all.
Look at that sweater! That’s custom work and it don’t come cheap. I grew up wearing hand-me-down Sears “high-waters” and that mongrel gets European duds?! (image from Wikimedia commons)
My other alternative is to join Rachel’s legal team. I watch my fair share of TV crime dramas and as such, I’m pretty sure I could do the whole lawyer thingy. While tuition and expenses are certainly good starting points, there are a bunch of other potential claims which have been overlooked by her current squad of legal eagles. As a show of good faith, I’m willing to divulge a few examples. I hope her lawyers have the good sense to add me to their team, or I might have to take some legal action myself. After all, I’m an American and goddammit, somebody owes me something! Here now, are a few of the additional offenses which Ms. Canning’s parents may well have perpetrated over the years of oppression.
Oh the humanity! Little cabbages make you gassy! (Image from wikimedia commons)
The pain and suffering of having to eat Brussels sprouts. Your honor, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and as such they are yucky. My client has been scarred by their foul, sulfurous taste and may have been socially embarrassed on more than one occasion by the resulting flatulence of having been forced to eat such inhumane fare.
Aunt Hilda in her youth back in the 1920′s. Otto is hidden in the shadows, and possibly devoid of hair in those early years. (Painting by Korb from wikimedia commons)
The repetitive trauma of having to kiss Aunt Hilda every Thanksgiving. If it would please the court, please refer to Exhibit A, to be identified as the photograph of one Hilda Shisler, the maternal aunt of my client. As you can see, Ms. Shisler has a prominent hairy nevus on her left cheek, known to the Canning children as “Otto the hairy mole.”
It wasn’t bad enough to be segregate the kids in those days, they weren’t even fed indoors. (Image from wikimedia commons)
The social stigma of being relegated to the children’s table at Christmas dinner. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, eating at the children’s table may have passed for something of a tradition for many of you back in the days of your youth. Fooled by the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, some of you may even have fond memories, when in fact it was nothing less than age-discrimination against the youth class! The sagging, stained tops of folding card tables and lack of good china have hurt generations of Americans, and my client is bravely taking her pain public to stop this barbaric practice once and for all.
Courtroom artist’s illustration of the Easter Bunny in the off-season. Those poor children can still imagine smelling the bourbon and carrots on his hot breath. (Illustration by the author – yup, I drew the wabbit all by myself)
The mental torment of being betrayed and at times threatened with repeated lies. Among the fictitious demons planted in the head of my client are a giant mysterious rodent known as The Easter Bunny and an obese night visitor who goes by the name of Mr. Kris Kringle. The psychological terrorism and invasion of privacy was further perpetrated by her parents via their emissary of evil, The Elf on the Shelf.
You can’t tell from this picture, but those girls were laughing at poor Rachel. LAUGHING! (Image from wikimedie commons)
The social ostracization due to the forced use of sub-par athletic equipment during summer field hockey camp between freshman and sophomore years in high school. Your honor, if it would please the court, I refer to exhibit 13-J which is a generic brand field hockey stick typically available at large sporting goods retailers for prices ranging between $35 and $40. My client specifically requested a Nano brand carbon fiber composite field hockey stick like all the starters on JV already had. Mr. and Mrs. Canning denied her requests and Mr. Canning reportedly commented that he wasn’t buying a field hockey stick that costs more than a monthly payment on the family’s minivan. (I pause here, letting the unfairness of it all sink in – pursing my lips, blinking and swallowing repeatedly to hold back the outrage, keeping the tears of injustice from cascading down my face. Point made, I slam the stick onto the display table and walk away from it as if it has the cooties).
“No further questions, your honor” I say, my voice nearly cracking with emotion.
The judge, tired of my drama and a little pissed about the scuff mark on his display table, points out that I wasn’t questioning anyone. He further states that I am not actually a lawyer. Embarrassed and without an opportunity to retrieve the field hockey stick I paid $37.95 for out of my own pocket, I’m escorted from the courtroom by a guy who looks a bit like Rusty the Bailiff.
After a moment, it occurs to me that my lack of a legal degree is not my fault. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of my parents, who neither applied to law school on my behalf nor offered to pay for it once they did. Statutes of limitations or not, I want justice. Looks like their little mutt is going to be shivering on his morning walks in Sunset Acres. Justice will be served!
Author’s disclaimers: I don’t know any more about Rachel Canning, her family or legal representation than what I’ve read on the internet. While the case in question has given me fodder for a satirical post, I am certain it is no laughing matter for any of those involved. I do not condemn either side and any opinions regarding the shortcomings of her legal team are purely comedic in nature and should not be considered slanderous.
My parents actually paid more than enough of their hard earned money to raise me right. In truth, I was an emotionally needy child with a massive appetite. They had every right to put me up for adoption just to save money on tissues for my tears and groceries for my constant hunger. My lack of ponies and orthodontia ended up helping me develop the character traits and coping mechanisms which serve me to this very day. The preceding post was a satirical commentary on the news of the day. As for my parents, I’m sure they’re beaming with pride that their little One Point has written what some might consider to be “satire”. Their little dog’s sweater is safe.