The day after

June 12, 1996|By Art Buchwald

GRADUATION DAY is one of the happiest days in a family's life -- full of celebration. But once it's over, everything is downhill.

I discovered this when I visited the Cartrights to deliver a graduation present for their daughter Liza.

When I walked into the house I could feel the chill in the air. Mrs. Cartright said, ''She refuses to clean her room. Four years of college and nobody taught her how to make a bed.''

Liza said, ''I'll make up the room but only after I do what I have to. Where is it written that you have to make your bed in the morning?''

Mrs. Cartright told her, ''The same place where it says that you can't leave all your dirty dishes in the sink.''

''They aren't all mine. Some are yours and Dad's.''

Mr. Cartwright joined in. ''I only had a dish of cereal. After $150,000 worth of education, it's hard to believe that a topic for discussion would be how many dishes each family member used.''

Liza burst into tears. ''Why does everyone pick on me just because I have a better education than they do?''

Get a job

Mrs. Cartright said, ''Maybe if you tried to get a job we wouldn't pick on you so much.''

''What you're really trying to say is that if I got a job I wouldn't have to live at home,'' Liza said.

Mr. Cartright tried to calm the situation. ''We're not throwing you out, Liza. We only want you to respect our Judeo-Christian ethics. It's nice to learn about the causes of the French Revolution, but it's also nice to know when it's time to put gas in the car.''

''I'm only human,'' Liza said. ''I've been living my own life for the past four years, and now you both nag me when I do something you don't approve of.''

''That's not true,'' her mother protested. ''Washing your hair in the kitchen sink is something neither your father nor I object to. It's only that it makes the food taste funny.''

Liza cried, ''You don't love me any more.''

Mrs. Cartright said, ''Of course, we do, Liza. We don't love you any less -- it's just that ever since you came home from college, we love you differently.''

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

Pub Date: 6/12/96

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