Tracy K. Lorenz / The 'Doc'


Noblesse Oblige

In France there’s a phrase, Noblesse Oblige, which loosely translated means, “It is the obligation of the nobleman to show the commoners how to act.”  If you’re a Prince you shouldn’t be getting hammered in bars, if you’re a Princess you shouldn’t wear hot-pants and 6” heels even if you’re performing at halftime of the Super Bowl.

Well, I’m not a nobleman but I do know my way around table manners because I was raised by private-school nuns and parents who cared. There were no days off, your manners had to be impeccable every day, every meal, or you would immediately be reminded of proper etiquette with a phrase that ended with “barn.”

That being said, I find it almost impossible to go out to restaurants nowadays because my sensibilities get jabbed in the eye, looking around a restaurant is like watching one of those YouTube videos of cows being killed.

Let me give you some examples; we’ll start with the guys who put the fork in their mouth upside down.  They’ll cut a piece of meat, fork in their left hand, knife in the right, and then put the fork in their mouth not only upside down but they don’t switch the fork over to their right hand!  If you ever want to look low rent, do that. (BTW, if you’re left handed you don’t reverse the process, you follow it.  I learned to eat right handed you can too, heathen.)

But there’s another level. These are guys who not only put their fork in their mouth upside down, they wipe their knife on the fork prior to each bite. I may need to run a 5K to raise awareness of this disgusting practice. I had one woman tell me “It’s European,” yeah, if you’re a coal miner in Dublin.

Right next to these dream-dates are the bowl huggers. They hunch over their bowl and put their arm around it as if someone is going to seize their food and make them leave which, quite honestly, wouldn’t be a bad idea. Then, as sure as grandma’s got gout, that bowl hugger will have a piece of bread clutched in his mit and he’ll dunk it IN THE SOUP! 

And of course there’s the Lumbersexual/Vegan/Gluetenod who can’t take a breath without announcing their eating peculiarities. “I’m Vegan but I do eat fish but I can’t eat wheat; do you know if this lobster ever ate a sandwich? The risk of cross contamination is a big concern to me.” No, a big concern to you is that people respond to your pooppantsery. Being a vegetarian is like bungee jumping, I don’t think anyone would do it if they weren’t allowed to crowbar it into daily conversation. Besides, have you ever seen a group of people who look more unhealthy than vegans? Have you ever seen a group that smiles less?  Vegans make Greta Thumberg look like Richard Simmons.

And ladies, you don’t get a pass. Are there any commercials less realistic than yogurt commercials? There’s always some good-looking girl dreamily looking out her window as she puts a spoonful of yogurt in her mouth WITH THE SPOON UPSIDE DOWN and then slowly removes the spoon while savoring the wonder of no artificial ingredients. She's in a breakfast nook, barefoot, her knees pulled up near her chest.

At the rate she’s going it should take about a month to finish off that Yoplait.

In real life women are digging that yogurt out like there’s a ring at the bottom. It makes you wonder what’s in that stuff that is so good women will actually stick their finger in the cup to get the last remaining molecules, that cup is so completely empty that a bear couldn’t smell it but there’s Nancy diggin’ away like a crack monkey.  It also makes you wonder how much does this stuff cost? Why don’t they just eat two?

Or nine.

That’s not all but that’s a start. The key to good table manners is that no one notices them. If you want to impress the in-laws, don’t hold your fork like a prison shiv. If you want a second date don’t chew your food like Cookie Monster, if you want that job promotion leave a little something on your plate, and next time you have an urge to woof down Yogurt maybe consider switching to ... J-Lo.

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The Effects of Cohabitation on Children

Dear Reader,

Do you mind? Can we be real with each other for just a moment?  We often think that the health of our children begins with finding a good doctor.  I am going to share something with you that is going to be difficult to accept or hear. The health of your child is greatly influenced long before the doctor’s visit.

The health of your child is intricately impacted by your living choices.

What did you say? You do not believe me. Really?! I suggest you read this article for sure. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, children in cohabiting families are more likely to be without health insurance, in addition to suffering more frequently from emotional and social problems. This includes drug use, depression, and dropping out of high school, as compared to those in married homes.1

The reality is, couples rarely calculate the after-effects of their decisions to cohabitate and its impact on the health of their children. Yes, your decision to commit to temporary security, sexual intimacy, pseudo-love, and mystified financial stability, in the long term, proportionately impacts your child’s health. 

Couples seldom think about how the decisions they make today will impact their lives or health tomorrow. How many times have we been told to stop eating certain things because they are not good for us? Too often, when we do not listen, diabetes or other illnesses find us in nursing homes before our time. Many of the decisions we make now will tremendously impact us in the future. In a similar way, our decisions today about having friends with benefits or cohabitating will greatly impact the health of our children tomorrow.

When couples make decisions about moving in together, seldom, if ever, is consideration given to the health and welfare of the children. When the symptoms of depression, anger, poor education, or bad behavior are presented to the parents, a common response to the problem is to blame. Even though an institution or the child’s absent biological parent may be wrong, blame becomes the social anesthesia for most of our problems.  We must remember, anesthesia (blame) simply dulls the pain, it does not take it away.

Blame is like being on a trip after your car was in the shop last week and your car breaks down. The problem of the breakdown may be related to negligence on your mechanic’s part but blaming them is not going to get you were you need to go.

The biologically present parent can blame the absent parent, the schools, the police, the social workers, and all those who do not understand their malfunctioning child, but when we get through blaming, the problem is still ours.

So as to not sound insensitive, I am keenly aware of the hardships of broken relationships, being a single parent, and not wanting to go through life feeling you have never been loved.  Covering our pain by cohabitating offers temporary relief to a long-term issue.  It would make more sense to have your fifteen-year-old get a job to pay the bills than to expect long term solutions to an immediate problem. Even if the child can work, that is not a long-term solution.

You are invited to walk with us on this path of cohabitation as in the future articles we will address the impact of cohabitation on children’s education, child abuse, and poverty risk.  If you love your child, these articles are worth your child’s and your time.

2W. Bradford Wilcox, Why Marriage Matters, Third Edition: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, Institute for American Values (2011).


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