So here we are in the dead zone between the rampant materialism of Christmas and the ugly excesses of New Year's (oddly, you get excess in both directions around New Year's Eve-- there will be drunkenness and gluttony at year end celebrations, of course, but there also won't be a spot available in the 8 AM spinning class at your local gym . . . very weird). It's too late for actual gifts, and it's too soon for quixotic resolutions, and so I'll leave you with something you can use all year long . . . some logic. It's not the most logical logic, but it's free and it's easy to understand, so what's not to like?
I use this reasoning on my children, but I suppose you could try it on adults if you don't have kids.
1. Because I said so . . . the Ur reason, an impenetrable umbrella under which all other reasons fall.
2. Because kids are starving in China/India/Bangladesh/Cleveland . . . this reason probably contributes to the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States.
3. Because it's disgusting . . . I usually pull this reason out after I catch my son Alex picking his nose (and consuming what he has mined) or when when one of my children doesn't flush the toilet and/or wash their hands or . . . sorry to go here. . . when one of my children forgets to wipe his ass and then I usually append a short history of cholera and the miracle of modern plumbing to this reason, ostensibly to scare the shit out of my children (pun intended) but they have a remarkable ability to ignore my stories of death and disease and continue with their hideous hygienic habits.
4. Because mom will go nuts if you don't get it done . . . this is a good one to use when you don't want to be the bad guy-- it usually comes into play when the kids have to finish their homework and/or clean their rooms.
5. Because that's incredibly stupid and you need to wear a helmet . . . this reason was used for a very specific situation, but if you have male children, I'm sure you'll run into something similar.
6. Because we love you . . . this usually precedes a serious grounding.
7. Because you're spoiled and need to suffer . . . after I cited this bit of logic, I chucked a completed Lego set into the recycling bin.
8. Because our family is a team, and we need to cooperate . . . this one is usually necessary after Lord of the Flies/Shining type family event; it's aiming a bit high (perhaps it should be "because our family has to abide by the laws of the United States of America, and therefore it is not legal to strangle, murder, torture, and/or cannibalize family members and they must be treated just as any other human in our society deserves."
9. Because you never see your mother and I behave like that . . . this is as irrational as any reason ever presented to a child . . . why would a pair of pre-pubescent boys act like a couple of forty-year olds who have been married for fifteen years?
10. Because you're damaging our family's reputation . . . this one is patently absurd, but in order to be a parent, you've got to be a hypocrite-- and it's no more ridiculous than the rest of the reasons, so don't be afraid to throw it into the mix.
The important thing here is variety-- you can string these reasons together in an infinite matrix of never-ending lectures and diatribes. Usually after I've perorated for ten or fifteen minutes, I've lost the desire to physically beat my children for their offenses-- and DYFUS doesn't care how long your spiel is-- they can't jail you for a filibuster. So just keep talking. These kids need some suffering, right? They should endure some sort of punishment for their behavior, and a long-winded speech is torture enough . . . so have fun with these reasons, liberally sprinkle them throughout your sermons, and if anyone has any extras for me, so that I'll be a little less predictable in 2015, then I thank you in advance.