Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Thackerson Expedition Oath

As a participating adolescent member of the Thackerson Expedition, I solemnly swear that I will faithfully abide by the following rules:

I will respect the parent-ocracy. The Expedition is not a democracy, it is a PARENTocracy. This vacation was planned, funded, and flawlessly executed by one or more of your loving parents. Expedition members should consider themselves very, very lucky to be going anywhere at all. Any member of the Parentocracy is automatically granted special rights and responsibilities which will be outlined here, but new laws may be created should the need arise.

The Governing Board of the Parentocracy consists of any and all parents in the Expedition. This includes any person who is not YOUR mother or father, but are still indeed SOMEONE’S mother or father and therefore automatically a fully recognized member of the Parentocracy Governing Board. 

All members of the Parentocracy Governing Board have the power of the “final word” on any subject; this includes, but is not limited to: 
  • Bothering: The Parentocracy will be the final authority on what constitutes “bothering”. For example, poking someone would be considered bothering. Looking at someone, or the person across the way sitting with their legs crossed in a way you don’t like does NOT constitute bothering, no matter how much it might bother you, for whatever reason. 
  • Burping contests: Parentocracy members are the only Expedition members allowed to suggest and supervise burping contests. While non-Parentocracy members may vote for a winner of said contest, the ultimate decision of burp victory is left to the participating Parentocracy Governing Board members 
  • Fart-related disputes: The Parentocracy refuses to mediate fart-related disputes, nor do they subscribe to such faulty logic as “he who smelt it dealt it” or the like. 
  • Item-related disputes: If an item becomes the subject of dispute and the Parentocracy become aware of it, said item will be forfeited until such a time as the adults deign to return it. Keep asking to get it back and we'll sell whatever it is to Bigfoot and spend the money on vegetables. Especially the ones you don't like. 
Should you disagree with a decision made by a Parentocracy member please see the "Rule of One" and "Exclamations of Dismay" oath. Failure to recognize authority of the Parentocracy of the Expedition will result in punishment, up to and including being left on the side of the road in North Carolina, where you could possibly be adopted against your will by Bigfoot. Bigfoot will make you do chores and shampoo his butt hair.

I will be on my best behavior while in the car. I recognize the following:
  • Driving is a very stressful activity and therefore place the driver (also called “captain”) in charge of items and activities to include (but not limited to): vehicle air conditioning, radio stations, radio volume, iPod playlists, travel speed, and the time and location of bathroom breaks or meals. The driver deserves respect from all other passengers; potentially distracting behaviors (such as screeching, shouting, or screaming) should be avoided to ensure the safest ride possible. 
  • Riding shotgun is a privilege, not a right. The rider in shotgun position must be able to check the driver’s blind spot for cars, be able to reprogram the GPS, reach the cooler for beverages/snacks without removing his/her seatbelt, answer vague trivia questions as they occur to the driver, and be able to properly work the driver’s phone with little-to-no coaching. You can call shotgun all day long, but your chances are slim. Adults over 18 years old have veto privilege over the shotgun request of anyone under the age of 18. 
  • Every rider in every Expedition vehicle will wear his/her seatbelt at all times - no exceptions. Even if you can't get comfortable, even if you can't sleep, even if you feel as though it's choking you, there is no good reason to remove your seatbelt. This is not only the Parentocracy law, this is the law of every single state we will be driving through. This is for your safety and to avoid the costly ticket the driver would receive if you don't wear it. No arguments, no asking, no trying to be sneaky and take it off underneath your blanket. Removal of your seat belt while on the road will result in punishment of an unpleasant sort, to be determined. 
  • Seats are assigned by Momocracy members before departure. Your seat is your seat. If you can work out an arrangement to swap seats with another rider, those arrangements should take the duration of the swap into consideration so as to avoid arguments later. As soon as a seat-related argument breaks out, assigned seats will become permanent and swaps no longer an option. 
  • Do not ask "Are we there yet?" If we are still driving, we are obviously not there yet. Rest assured that you will be notified of our impending arrival, because the adults in the car will be just as excited as you. And you are not tricky and smart by asking "how close are we" or "how long until we get there". You will receive updates on our progress periodically. Allowed, within reason (as in, not every half hour): "Where are we". 
  • Any personal electronic device you plan to use for your own, personal entertainment (i.e., an iPod, DS, etc.) WILL be used with headphones. In addition, you may NOT unplug your headphones without permission. Please see the Rule of One. It applies here, both to asking and to being told no.
  • The Bubba Clause: Anything Bubba plays with/watches is potentially exempt from this rule, due to his sensitivity to sound and noise (unless he consents to wear headphones, the chances of which are slim). IF Bubba is playing with something that is making a noise/sound that irritates you, listen to/watch/play with something of your own (with headphones) to drown out the sound. Or just deal with it. 
  • I will respect bathroom breaks. When the expedition pauses for a bathroom break, everyone will make an effort to go to the bathroom. Do not let the words "but I don't HAVE to pee!" pass your lips. It doesn't matter - if you have a bladder, you will get out of the vehicle and make sure said bladder is empty before we leave. The first person to skip a bathroom break only to announce 15 minutes after we get back on the road that he/she needs to pee will be using the bathroom on the side of the interstate. 
    • Do not wait until it's an emergency to tell someone you need to use the bathroom. You should let someone know as soon as the urge strikes you that you will need to use a restroom, and when possible provide an approximate time frame ("I'm going to need to stop at the next rest stop, please!"). If you fail to do so or fail to respond to being notified that there are no more rest stops for 300 miles, you will use the bathroom on the side of the road. Where Bigfoot might be watching.
  • There will be no screeching, shouting, or screaming in the expedition vehicle. It is annoying and possibly dangerously distracting for the driver. Conversation should be maintained at a normal level. Laughing is permitted and encouraged. Singing will be considered on a case-by-base basis (however, songs about bottles of anything - milk, beer, etc, are not allowed, under any circumstances). Arguing is strictly forbidden - if you can't get along, leave each other alone. Pestering, bothering and goading will not be permitted. 
  • Everybody farts, sometimes: please use commonsense rules of polite society if you fart or burp in the vehicle. Burping is permitted, but one should not make themselves burp (see Carsickness rule). Should you burp, you are expected to 1) excuse yourself, and 2) keep it to yourself and not blow it In someone's face. Burp blowing is a violation of the Expeiditon Oath and can result in loss of beverage privileges. Farting is allowed, but arguing over farting is not. 
  • If you feel as though you might throw up (carsickness), let someone know as early as possible. If you do throw up, attempt to do so IN something: a bag or trash can, etc. If you are doing something that makes you feel like you might throw up (i.e, reading in the moving vehicle), stop. Close your eyes, lean back, take a small sip of your drink, and see if you feel better. If, while on the road, you discover that a certain activity makes you feel like you might throw up, don't do that anymore. Find another activity that does not make you want to puke. Puking in the vehicle is severely frowned upon for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which being that it could set off a chain reaction of sympathy puking amongst family members, all of whom have sensitive stomachs. Accidents happen, and will be understood as such, but keep in mind: puke in something, whenever possible. It will be better for all of us. 
I will mind my manners and myself everywhere we go, and adhere to the following rules everywhere the Expedition takes me:
  • THE RULE OF ONE: You may submit a request once; if your request is denied you may not ask again. Should your request is denied, you are allowed one (1) exclamation of dismay ("aww, maaaan!" or similar). You do not ask again. It really is that simple. Breaking the RULE OF ONE will result in a warning, and then punishment at the discretion of the Parentocracy. Continuous whining will result in revocation of fun outing privileges. Addendum: asking the same question but adding "please" still counts as asking the same question, but do keep in mind that using "please" the first time you request something might help your case. Still, no guarantees.
  • BICKERING: If you cannot play nicely with each other, do not play with each other. Everyone will have his/her own things to do. Remember the "Rule of One": if you want to play with something your cousin brought, you may ask him/her once if you may borrow it. If your cousin says no, that's it - don't ask again. Do not tattle that your cousin will not share. If your cousin says yes, discuss an appropriate time frame for usage of whatever it is you are borrowing/loaning. Letting someone borrow something for two minutes and then taking it back is not permitted. 

I will keep financial considerations in mind:
  • Should you have your own money, YOU may purchase something (see "your money" rule for more information on purchases). If you see something you want and cannot afford, or just don't want to break a $20, you may ASK your mom, once (see "rule of one"). You MAY NOT ask your Aunt, cousin or anyone else to purchase something for you. Punishment will be swift and severe for anyone caught begging from family members.
  • Be careful with your money. Yes, it is *your* money. However, the Parentocracy reserves right of review AND refusal on purchases. Every purchase must be approved by YOUR mother or father. Although it might seem like you will not survive without a $20, five-pound Slim Jim, rest assured the Parentocracy has the best interests in both your physical and financial health when they suggest you opt for something else on which to spend your money. And while you might be upset when your request to purchase 10 pounds of saltwater taffy is denied, you will ultimately be grateful that you will still have money to spend (and a digestive track clear of 10 pounds of saltwater taffy or five pounds of Slim Jim). Your cash should be counted and organized periodically, so that you have an idea of what you have to spend. You are responsible for your money, and if you lose your money, it is lost and will NOT be replaced. If you need help securing or counting, a Parentocracy member will gladly help you.
I will be a considerate of sharing base camp with others:

  • I WILL ALWAYS BE NEAT. Even though it goes against your nature. Be neater than you are at home, neater than you are anywhere else, ever. Straighten up your sleeping area when you awake. Your things (clothes, books, games) should be kept near your sleeping area to avoid losing or leaving items. Dirty clothes should be placed with dirty clothes, not spread around the house. Your fellow Expedition members do NOT want to see your camoflouge boxer briefs or your My Little Pony panties on the bathroom floor or anywhere else. Dirty clothes should not be jumbled up with clean clothes in your suitcase or anywhere else. Doing so will result in stinky clean clothes that you will be forced to wear anyway, to teach you a lesson. Don’t leave your crap laying around, lest it get lost, stolen, or eaten by a toddler. AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FLUSH.
  • I WILL ALWAYS BE POLITE AND CONSIDERATE. If you wake up early and everyone else in base camp is asleep, be quiet. If you are trying to sleep and the other people in the house wake you up, deal with it. Before asking for seconds at a meal, make sure everyone else has eaten. Take short showers, don't hog the bathroom, don't use someone else's personal things (i.e, toothbrushes), knock on doors and wait to be invited in before entering rooms, make polite conversation when engaged (no mumbling "whatever" as an answer to every question), and share and play nicely with other children. We are Southern ladies and gentlemen, and we will remember our manners and behave as such. "Please" and "Thank you" are required. AND REMEMBER: ALWAYS, ALWAYS FLUSH. ALWAYS.
  • I WILL BE HELPFUL AND OFFER TO HELP. To your mom, to your Aunt, to other kids, to any other expedition member. Offer to help CONSTANTLY. If someone is working in the kitchen, whether cooking or cleaning, offer to help. If someone is carrying something heavy, offer to help. Utter the question often, because it will never get old: "Is there any way I can help you?". It is the least we can do. IT IS EXPECTED that, after a meal thoughtfully prepared meal, our underage citizens will automatically get up and help with dishes and/or cleanup. 
  • I WILL LOOK OUT FOR THE LITTLE KIDS. Make sure there's no little pieces of stuff on the floor that Lulu will eat, make sure none of the toddlers are perched precariously atop a baby gate on the third floor, don't let anyone slide down a banister (nor should you try this yourself), just help out by making sure no one gets hurt or escapes or eats and/or drink something they should not. And you should point out potential trouble as soon as possible...for example, pointing out your brother went out the back door and slid down the mountain until he bounced off a tree and was taken away by a bear would be TOO late. If you see your brother trying to escape, let someone know ASAP or, should his escape look imminent, stop him yourself.  
  • I DO NOT EXPECT TO BE ENTERTAINED. While there are many fun things planned for this trip, not every moment of the day will be taken up by activity. Read a book, play a video game, complete a ThackHunt craft or photo item, go outside, take a nap, BE SELF-SUFFICIENT. If you approach an adult complaining of boredom or a lack of something to do, said adult will find you something to do and rest assured, it will not be fun. It might involve toilets or hair clogs or diaper changes.
  • I WILL NOT COMPLAIN. If you feel the need to complain, sit on it and wait until you can complain in private later to your Mother, but do not expect sympathy. If the bed you are sleeping in is uncomfortable, don't complain. If the dinner being offered it not to your liking, don't complain. If you hate what's on TV, don't complain (and for pete's sake, go find something better to do - we're on vacation!). Remember: we didn't have to bring you.
  • I WILL EAT WHAT IS OFFERED. In order to make this trip more affordable for everyone involved, most meals will be eaten at base camp. If that is boring, I'm sorry. Deal with it. If you think sandwiches for lunch every day is boring: deal with it. We are there to enjoy the scenery and history and fun things to do, not to experience culinary delicacies. If you don't like what is offered, spend your money to buy something you like. 
I understand that the Parentocracy members will all be on their best behavior as well, and would certainly not hold me to a standard to which they themselves would not adhere. A good rule of thumb is, if you think it might get you in trouble, it probably will, and most likely in TWICE as much trouble as normal. If you remember that (and to always flush!) everything will be ACES. 

1 comment:

Cas said...

I am entirely stealing this list of rules... we have a 26 hour drive to Colorado ahead of us in a month!