House Rules

Jay McAdams
3 min readDec 20, 2019

Because the House Rules seemed to work so swimmingly in the Impeachment hearings, I decided to try to institute them at my house. After all, these rules go back to the framers. They’re tried and true for centuries. Why wouldn’t we all be using them in our houses?

So when my wife called me to come in from my gardening because she just thought of something she wanted to tell me and it couldn’t wait, I replied “For what purpose does the gentlelady from California seek recognition?” Turns out, that didn’t go over very well. But because these rules worked so well during the hearings, I didn’t give up.

In fact, the next time I added props. I bought a gavel on amazon for less than $20 and brought it into the kitchen for when she criticizes me for not washing all of the silverware when I do the dishes. So when she began her attack, I turned and said “Point of order! Point of order!” as I brandished my gavel with my sudsy hands. She, in return, opened a drawer and without a single word pulled out a meat tenderizer and proceeded to gavel a chicken breast into a pancake with 4 loud whacks that made the dog hide under the table. I dried my hands on the dish towel and quietly retreated to the den.

I was pretty sure this one would work, because of the double entendre. When I’m driving and she always tells me to slow down or to watch out for that car over there, I would simply say “Will the gentlelady yield?”, a little driving joke. But when she did it and I used that line straight from the House of Representatives, it landed with such a loud thud that it nearly activated the air bags.

My favorite House Rule of the hearings was the oft used “Move to strike the last word.” Upon hearing this phrase, I immediately thought of a million uses for this rule at my house. Anytime my wife begins a sentence with, “Now, listen…” I will just “Move to strike the last word”. Whenever she tells me to throw away my treasured 1970’s Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band concert jersey that is so threadbare a sneeze would blow it apart, I’ll just tell her “I move to strike the last word.” When she tells me I have the diet of a ten-year-old, I will say “Move to strike the last word.” But in reality, when my wife actually told me to clean up the garage and I finally got up the nerve to try out this little chestnut, I said “I Move to strike…”

She cut me off with all the authority of the Speaker of the House, “Don’t you dare!” she says wagging her finger at me. And then her finger morphs into that meat tenderizer. And then she morphs into Nancy Pelosi holding that oversized Speaker gavel that looks more like Gallagher’s watermelon-obliterating Sledge-o-matic. I cower at the foot of the speaker of my house, acknowledging that I cannot institute house rules in my house, because I am married to the Speaker. Only she has the power to dictate the house rules.

Except for one, which she allows and even encourages me to repeat daily now. “I yield back.”

Originally published at http://theatreoftheabsurdblog.wordpress.com on December 20, 2019.

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Jay McAdams

Jay is an LA-based writer and theatre artist writing about the absurdity of everyday life in the 21st century.