LAMENTATIONS OF THE FATHER
BY IAN FRAZIER
Laws of Forbidden Places
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the
living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the
cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of quiescently frozen dessert and of all
frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room.
Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such
therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink. But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.
Laws When at Table
And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a Greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they
were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an
interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.
Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you
will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away.
When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, And do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in Order to make noises in it sounding like a duck: for you will be sent away.
When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what
is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is.
And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that,
that is why.
Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit
like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.
Laws Pertaining to Dessert
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert.
But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not
less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both
forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert.
But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave
the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof.
And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will
fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are Given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other
are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say
to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault.
Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is
loathsome to you and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint
unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even I have made
the fish as it should be; behold, I eat it myself, yet do not die.
Concerning Face and Hands
Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon
you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon.
And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to
Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how
iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.
Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of the bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, not against any building; nor
Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not the humming in your nose as I read,
nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.