Step One: The father of the house issues an executive order
that all Saturday activities will be suspended until the
garage is cleaned up.
Step Two: The children form a committee and produce a report
finding the order totally unconstitutional because it
violates the "Cruel and Unusual" clause.
Step Three: The committee report is voided by paternal
Step Four: The ruling is appealed under the "This is stupid
nobody else has to do this kind of stuff" doctrine of the
"Equal Protection" clause. Specific examples are cited of
other children who are not cleaning their garages.
Step Five: The "nobody else has to" doctrine is rejected as
having no bearing on the case.
Step Six: Each child petitions separately for the relief
under the "why do I have to do it none of it is my junk"
Step Seven: The father rules that the individuals of the
household are a family, that the junk in the garage belongs
to the family, and that the family has the responsibility of
cleaning it up.
Step Eight: The children attempt to stay the executive order
by evading subpoena.
Step Nine: The father retrieves the children from their
bedrooms and declares notice properly served.
Step Ten: The children plead pre-existing obligations that
preempt the paternal proclamation. The oldest is due at the
mall, the middle child has to go to a soccer game, and the
youngest is yeah me too.
Step Eleven: Clarification is sought from the youngest on
which of the two lame excuses is yeah me too: soccer game or
Step Twelve: The youngest says the soccer game.
Step Thirteen: The father rules the soccer game cannot
preempt the garage cleanup.
Step Fourteen: The youngest says I meant the mall.
Step Fifteen: The father rules the mall cannot preempt the
Step Sixteen: The children pass a resolution that the father
is the meanest man in the world.
Step Seventeen: The father agrees to accept the "meanest
man" amendment and calls for an end to the debate.
Step Eighteen: The children submit an emergency appeal on
the grounds that there might be mice living in the garage.
Step Nineteen: The father issues an executive decree that he
has authority over all rodents and that there are no mice in
Step Twenty: The children move for dismissal, claiming they
are exempt because they have homework to do.
Step Twenty-One: The father consults the official Cameron
family calendar and determines there is another day left in
the weekend in which homework can be done.
Step Twenty-two: The children file a grievance with the
Supreme Court of the house: their mother. A restraining
order is sought prohibiting enforcement of the father's
executive order on the grounds that he never listens, he is
ruining our lives, he's mean, and if he really wants the
garage cleaned up why doesn't he do it himself.
Step Twenty-Three: A constitutional crisis is averted when
the wife hands down a decision supporting the father's right
to order the children to clean up the garage.
Step Twenty-four: The children declare themselves no longer
members of the family. As stateless persons, they are not
subject to parental authority.
Step Twenty-five: The father agrees to expedite the
emigration of each child on the date they achieve their
majorities. Until the parents are released by the laws of
the State of Colorado from their obligations, however, the
family members are stuck with each other. Meanwhile, the
father identifies further sanctions to be imposed upon delay
of compliance with his order, including suspension of
Step Twenty-six: The teenagers file a brief equating
telephone cut-off with capital punishment.
Step Twenty-seven: The father further suspends all use of
the family automobile until the garage is cleaned up enough
to park the car in it.
Step Twenty-eight: The children petition for relief from
further sanctions by agreeing to clean up the garage.
Thus, with these simple 28 steps, a bill moves through the
checks and balances and becomes law.
It may not be the best system, but it's the only one we've
(How a Bill Becomes Law
Copyright 2001 W. Bruce Cameron