Jewish World Review May 8, 2002 / 26 Iyar, 5762

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports


Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | In yet another argument in favor of birth control, an Italian court has ruled that a father must continue to support his 29-year-old college-educated son until the son finds a job he likes.

Italy's top appeals court recently ruled in favor of Marco Andreoli, the son of a wealthy Naples doctor. The father, Giuseppe Andreoli, must continue to pay his son $658 a month, part of a divorce settlement.

Young (or make that not-so-young) Marco has a law degree, a $220,000 trust fund and lives in one of the swankier parts of town. He has turned down several job offers that presumably weren't to his liking.

In a ruling that suggests Italy's water supply has indeed been tampered with, the court said: "There is no blame for the conduct of a young man, if born to a wealthy family, who refuses a job that is inadequate to his aspirations. Parents have the obligation to maintain him."

This heart-warming story inspired me to look up my mother's phone number and give her a call.

"Hi, Mom!"

"I'm not interested." (Click.)

(Redial)

"Mom, don't hang up! I'm not selling anything! It's me, David."

"Who?"

"David. Your only son. Remember?"

"Oh, you. When are you going to pay me back that money I loaned you?"

"Funny you should mention money, Mom. Are you aware that an Italian court has ruled that parents must continue to support their grown children until they get a job that suits them?"

"That's terrible! Does Mussolini know about this?"

"Mom, Mussolini's been dead for 57 years. You really need to get out more."

"Well, if he were alive, this never would have happened."

"You're probably right, Mom, but this is 2002 and I think it's high time you started supporting me in the manner to which I wish I were accustomed."

"Why? Did you get fired?"

"Not yet. It's just that I've decided my job doesn't suit me."

"Twenty-six years at the same job and you're deciding now it doesn't suit you?"

"I don't feel appreciated."

"Why's that?"

"Well, I still don't have my own personal secretary and last week they moved my desk downwind from the newsroom refrigerator."

"Poor baby."

"Mom, I know your monthly Social Security check doesn't leave you a lot of leeway, so I'm going to take it easy on you and ask for a monthly allowance of only $600."

"Are you still taking your medication every day like the doctor told you?"

"I don't want you to think that this is a permanent thing, Mom. It's just until someone offers me a job that suits me."

"So you're looking for a job that requires you to lounge around the house all day in your underwear watching Martha Stewart reruns?"

"No, that's pretty much the job I've got now. I was thinking of something less stressful."

"You know I'd really appreciate it if you'd repay me that money you owe me. I'm getting awfully tired of ketchup and onion sandwiches."

"Whoops! I've got another call coming in! Gotta run! Love ya, Mom! Bye!"

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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