Jewish World Review Apr. 25, 2013/ 15 Iyar, 5773
Mandating visits to elderly parents probably not the best idea
By Celia Rivenbark
I hear you.
And so, it turns out, does China.
Yes, China. According to a recent article in Time magazine, China has decided to revisit its 1996 law protecting the rights and interests of the aged to allow elderly parents to sue their grown children for not visiting them frequently.
What’s that? Your daughter’s Science Olympiad competition is this weekend and you can’t come?
See you in court!
What’s this? You say your son’s baseball season begins next weekend but, “after that, definitely after that” you’ll visit? Probably in the fall? Unless it’s super inconvenient?
Better get a lawyer.
You have to hand it to the Chinese. I mean I’ve always been impressed with their ability to grow really tiny ears of corn but this, THIS is genius.
I have to say that I much prefer the legalized guilt of the Chinese take on treatment of elderly parents to that of Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso, who made headlines recently by saying the elderly’s drain on Japan’s resources make him realize “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.” Let’s just say MeeMaw better not hover at the top of the Aso family staircase in that wheelchair for an extra second.
Aso, a frisky, robust 72 himself, once famously complained that elderly people are useless, spending much of their time “doddering around and constantly going to the doctor.”
Why you little…
That’s exactly how I plan to spend my golden years, at the doctor’s office and, arthritic fingers crossed, suing my kid for not visiting enough. An aggravating factor would be if she not only didn’t visit on my birthday but also sent a fruit basket.
“Your honorship,” I would say, “Let the record show that I have frequently mentioned that the only way I like fruit is in a pie. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Why just the other day…”
Obviously, there is a huge flaw in what I like to call the “Would It Kill You to Visit The Woman Who Gave Up Soft Cheeses, Shellfish and Excellent Vodka for Nine Months Just Every So Often?” mandate but, then, it’s China. They’re not exactly known for celebrating free will and independent thought. Bottom line: Anybody who ever watched even a single episode of “Days of Our Lives” knows you can’t force someone to want to be with you.
Can you just imagine the sulky 50-something son sitting on the uncomfortable couch of his childhood during a court-ordered visit with the parents after a rousing game of “Guess What Food This Used to Be” in his parents’ refrigerator?
Mama: “It certainly is nice to have you home for a change, Tsing Tao.”
TT: “I hate you, you manipulative old crone.”
China may not have thought this one through.