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In Hannah Montana v. Mets, Dad rules

Exceptions erode order, and there's no room for that in our house.

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Even though Congress adopted new ethics rules that banned the acceptance of gifts, trips, and meals, among other freebees, Democrats and Republicans will still attend many lobbyist-sponsored events surrounding their conventions. Why? Exceptions, of course.

I've found that while discussion on a rule's merit can be productive, an exception is no child's play.

The other day my 5-year-old son, while sitting in the living room watching TV, was hit by a sudden urge to dash upstairs.

A few minutes later he returned to find his 7-year-old brother sitting in his spot.

"Hey, I was sitting there," he exclaimed, wherein his brother cited one of the house rules: Get on your feet, you lose your seat.

The 5-year-old shook his head vehemently. "It doesn't count. I had to go to the bathroom." The 7-year-old laughed and explained that rules were rules.

A great debate of Scopes proportion ensued. There were certain unavoidable reasons why one must at various times temporarily vacate a location while maintaining ownership of said spot, the 5-year-old insisted.

A society that does not abide by steadfast rules is liable to collapse in anarchy, the 7-year-old retorted.

Rules must be adaptable to changing conditions. This is why the United States Supreme Court must interpret laws in the context of its time, the 5-year-old surmised.

I stand by my contention that once you begin placing conditions upon rules, they cease to be effective, the 7-year-old concluded.

Well, I'm sure at least that's what they meant to say.

It sounded more like: "GET OUT OF MY SEAT!" "Get on your feet, you lose your seat." "I WAS SITTING THERE!" "Get on your feet, you lose your seat." "GET UP!" "Get on your feet, you lose your seat."

Aroused by the screaming, my 16-year-old son came into the room. He'll tell them both just to be quiet, I figured.

But somehow they sucked him right into the argument. It seems he sided with the 7-year-old, citing such precedents as Dad v. Zachary in the case of the last ice-cream sandwich, Dad v. Hannah in the case of Hannah Montana or the Mets game on the widescreen TV.

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