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Jewish World Review April 22, 2003 / 20 Nissan, 5763

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

More time with the kids | Every time an executive gets fired for screwing up, the corporation puts out a press release that he is leaving because he "wants to spend more time with his family."

So the other day, whom should I run into waiting for his two kids to come out of the Washington International School but Edward Turner, who had just been fired from Boom Boom Communications for losing $23 million.

"Good seeing you, Ed. I see you're spending more time with your family."

He didn't know if I was being funny or not.

Finally he said, "Too much time, if you ask me. I didn't know that spending more time with my family meant having to drive the kids to school every morning and home every afternoon."

"It figures," I said. "That is how you get to know your family."

"When I first got home they didn't know who I was. My wife explained that I was not only the father of the family, but had once been the breadwinner - at least until recently. In the first days I kept getting the children mixed up at dinner. I called my son Sherry and my daughter Rick. They were as confused as I was."

"It takes a workaholic time get used to his family again," I said to cheer him up.

"They play those stupid video games all afternoon and evening. I was hoping we would gather around the piano and sing Stephen Foster songs."

I said, "Ed, you have been working too long."

"Sherry and Rick's friends say I bankrupted the company. I don't deserve that just because my picture keeps appearing in the papers and on TV."

"The kids should defend their father. After all, you managed to get a golden parachute."

"My wife says all of her friends' husbands have lost their pensions, but she says that everyone claims I came out smelling like a rose."

"You still did the right thing by having a golden parachute," I said. "There are a lot of fathers who say they want to spend more time with their kids, but most of them say it because they don't have a job."

"At least I'm now offering them quality time. But all they want is quantity time with their friends."

"That's today's culture," I said. "The kids prefer their pals to their parents and talks on the telephone with anyone except their mother or father."

"You got that one right. I think I was much more comfortable when I spent all my time buying businesses that went bust."

"You haven't said much about your wife. Where is she in all this?"

"As soon as she read I was quitting to spend more time with my kids, she went back to practicing law. She said I should try to see what it's like to stay home."

I said, "I see the kids are starting to come out."

"No big deal - mine are always the last ones to leave. They will get in the car, arrive home, then go to their rooms and call the people they just saw a few minutes ago."

"And what will you be doing?"

"I'm starting to build up a nifty stamp collection."

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Art Buchwald's latest book is "We'll Laugh again." To commnt on his column click here.

04/03/03: Rebuilding Baghdad
03/25/03: The Five Saddam Husseins
03/04/03: Tax free defense
02/27/03: Yelling at the TV
02/20/03: The fight for duct tape
02/14/03: Losing your identity
02/05/03: Whose reality is it?
01/17/03: Foreign Affairs for Dummies
01/15/03: No-news stories
01/13/03: The last pill
01/08/03: Come fly with me
12/20/02: Snooping for America
12/13/02: Give 'til it hurts
12/06/02: Pre-nursery is rough
11/20/02: The Princess and the butler
11/15/02: Preaching democracy
11/04/02: The blame game
10/30/02: The threat of golf
10/11/02: The wives of Hidden Valley
10/04/02: Will the real Saddam stand up?
10/01/02: To shred or not to shred
09/20/02: Plea-bargaining crime
09/17/02: Jack and Jane
09/12/02: Signing books is half the fun
09/10/02: To lose one's center
09/05/02: Moot court
08/29/02: I spy-you-spy
08/27/02: No smoking --- I love you
08/23/02: Ashes to ashes
08/14/02: Wall Street good news
08/09/02: Things in my attic
08/01/02: Damage control
08/01/02: Another icon
07/30/02: Draft all the lawyers
07/25/02: House for rent
07/23/02: Doin' time
07/19/02: The loophole game
07/16/02: Money as a game
07/11/02: Just desserts
07/02/02: So you want to win?
06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
06/04/02: RED ALERT
05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
05/21/02: Why Bermuda?
05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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