Have you heard about “lifestyle clauses”? They’re the newest thing in pre-nups. From weight gain to who gets the dog, these agreements protect couples from the pitfalls of living together. Makes sense to me — in fact I think everyone should have one! Take Grandma and me. We’re not married, but we definitely live together, and there are several unsavory aspects of her lifestyle I would have nipped in the bud if only I’d known.
If I make it to old age, I’m crossing my fingers and toes that one of my three daughters will take me in when the time comes. Maybe they’ll be more likely to do that if I assure them living with me won’t be anything like living with Grandma … so here’s what I propose:
I will not leave the house with anything on my head that even vaguely resembles road kill.
I will never forward emails with all-cap subject lines such as CHECK YOUR HOUSE FOR LETHAL CHINESE LIGHTBULBS or READ THIS BEFORE SOMEONE STEALS YOUR IDENTITY.
I will not eat things that look or smell so gross you avoid the room when I eat them. Vegetable soup with hot tuna fish and ketchup comes to mind.
I will say excuse me when I burp. I will wait until you’re out of the room to expectorate, a.k.a. hock up loogies. And if my pucker string just plain wears out, I’ll politely suggest that you walk ahead of me so you’re not engulfed in my ever-present fart trail.
As long as I can get my own mail, take out my trash and reach the t.p. on the top shelf of the closet with my Grab-It, you’ll never have to wonder whether my butt and the couch are permanently fused.
Even if I have to get one of those little square scooters we used in grade school gym class and paddle myself up and down the hall, I’ll do my business in the bathroom.
I will sleep in a bed, not my recliner, so when I nod off my mouth doesn’t hang open so wide that you’re sure I’m dead and you have to poke me just to see if I still have a pulse.
VIII. common sense
I may not be as sharp as I once was, but I will not act like electricity is a new concept or be surprised when my prescriptions come from the pharmacy.
I will not automatically assume you stole everything I misplace. Or interrogate you about credit card charges I don’t remember making. Or demand my card back before you’ve even finished hauling my 30 bags of groceries in from the car and down the stairs.
X. bodily functions
I will not feel compelled to share intimate details of pooping or peeing; their frequency, shape, texture or lack of; or speculation about what might cause said frequency or lack of. Ever.
I haven’t covered violations or future amendments, but it’s a start. Think about it — we could be pioneers in the caregiver lifestyle clause movement! And long after Grandma is gone, we’d still thank her for helping us realize marriages aren’t the only living situations that require some mutually agreed-upon guidelines.
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