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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Parental Malpractice

“What’s malpractice?” asked my 10 year-old at dinner tonight.

After I explained it, he asked, “Can you sue your parents for malpractice?”

“What!” I exclaimed, offended. Sure, I’m not perfect, but have the last ten years been that bad? Anyone can clearly see he hasn’t a physical ailment to his name, so I suppose he wants restitution on the grounds of mental anguish and irreversible trauma. Would he let the potty training grudge go, already?

Seeing my look of concern and dread, he supplied, “I’m writing a report on it for school,” as if that made me feel any better.

“Well, you didn’t come with the best instructions,” I retorted.

If I were a member of a grand book club like READ, EAT, AND BE MERRY!, I would have known right off, probably, that my son was talking about the book, Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice?, by Paula Danziger. Lucky for me, the ladies didn’t hold it against me the way I held it against my son. They welcomed me right in last night for a fabulous evening of book talk, mostly about If Mama Don’t Laugh, It Ain’t Funny. I appreciate all of their wit, enthusiasm, humor, and questions. In fact, I picked up that “instructions” comment I directed at my child from one of the members. I hope she doesn’t mind that I found a use for it right away.

Thanks girls! It was a pleasure and a privilege.

(Lucy Adams is a syndicated columnist and the author of If Mama Don’t Laugh, It Ain’t Funny. She lives in Georgia with her husband and their four children.)

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