Sometimes, when I feel an excess of self-confidence coming on, I go stand in the self-help section of the local bookstore and read parenting books. Lately, one of the trends I’ve been noticing in a lot of the books is the suggestion that mothers run their families like businesses, with mothers in the position of CEO. The idea is that, if run properly, instead of producing widgets (or some other kind of manufactured good), your family will produce happy, well-adjusted children.

It is an interesting idea. Unfortunately, I know even less about widgets than I do about
happy families. In fact, the only business model I am even remotely familiar with is that of a restaurant—or maybe a bar.

So what would it look like if I ran my family like a bar? Well, obviously, the first thing I would need to do is hire a bouncer. That would be great: with a bouncer, not only could I stop unwelcome people from getting into my house (that would be pretty much everyone), but I would also finally have some control over what people carry in and out. You know how a bouncer will stop you from carrying your open beer outside by saying, “Hey pal—this ain’t Vegas”? That’s what I need at my house, only instead of Vegas, and beer, they would stop my daughter Clementine from leaving the house with a mug of tea in her hand by saying, “Hey kid, this ain’t”—hmm, come to think of it, where do people treat ceramic mugs as disposable? Oh yeah: nowhere. Except, of course, at my house.

Let me just put it this way: it’s a good thing there are a lot of evictions in my neighborhood,
because otherwise, I don’t know what we would do for dishes. For me, curbside pickup is better than Target. Okay, so some people (alright, most people) are appalled when they find out that I get the majority of my dishes this way. “You mean you got this plate out of the garbage?” they’ll say, looking up from their lasagna is horror. To which I’ll reply: “Don’t be ridiculous; the garbage
can was way full—I got this plate out of the gutter.”

What other choice do I have? As I mentioned before, my kids seem to think that any dish
small enough to be carried (which means every dish) qualifies as a “To Go” option. That’s why all of my silverware ends up in the garbage can in the school cafeteria, all of my bowls end up as “bug habitats” in the yard, and all of my mugs end up somewhere between my house and school. (Wherever
Clementine happens to be when she finishes her morning tea.)

Of course, keeping things in the house is not the only reason for having a bouncer—there’s
also the little matter of keeping things out. Things like fundraising flyers for school. A good bouncer
would go through my kids’ backpacks as soon as they walked in the house and not only pull out things
that I needed to see (and sign), but also get rid of the things I really don’t need to see. Things like the
biweekly fundraisers for cookie dough by the bucketful (“Is it good?” “I don’t know, but look
how much of it there is.”), and $13 tubes of wrapping paper that come with just enough paper to wrap a
deck of cards.

And then, finally, a bouncer would come in very handy for the usual reason—muscle. With a bouncer on hand, hopefully I will no longer have to deal with issues like one customer casually spitting on another on their way to the bathroom. In fact, with an bouncer around, I could probably even post (and enforce) my favorite sign from Joe’s Place (Flagstaff’s best bar ever—RIP): Be Good, or Be Gone.

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