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One of the surprise hits of the 2002-03 American television season is ABC's new sitcom 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter, starring TV veteran John Ritter. 8 Simple Rules gets its premise from the essay (and later the book) of the same title, written by W. Bruce Cameron. In his works, Cameron details eight heavy-handed rules he formulated to protect the honor of his daughters against the raging hormones of teenaged boys. But I digress...

While I was meandering my way home through Ft. Worth's industrial districts, a few memes -- including my current diet, this week's episode of ER and the above-mentioned essay -- decided to cross-pollinate in my brain. I'm not sure if it was an effect of applying for a job at a run-down den of pornography, or just the images of poverty and urban decay that surrounded me, but my brain was fertile zoning-out ground. Thusly, I present...

8 Simple Rules For Dating My Octogenarian Grandfather

  1. If you remove his colostomy bag before...uh...making love, then it's your responsibility to put it back when you're finished. Also, any mess that you create is yours to clean. Not his, not mine.

  2. The following places are not appropriate for a date with my grampa: Places that remind him of World War II. Places lacking surgeons, paramedics or nurses. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my grandfather to fall asleep and soil himself. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; unless they star Ingrid Bergman. Hockey games are okay, the average player has as many of his original teeth as my grampa.

  3. You do not touch my grandfather in front of me. You may glance at him, so long as you do not peer at anything below his waist. Gaze at my father's father with the respect you would give to a saint. Or an apostle. Lord knows the man is old enough to have walked with Christ.

  4. Be aware that it is considered fashionable for men of his age to wear their trousers so high that they could be called nipple-huggers. Please do not try to change this, as we spent good money finding belts made to fit around the pectoral muscles.

  5. I'm sure you've been told that with today's seniors, sex without utilizing a "suspension method" of some kind can kill both of you. Let me elaborate: if you don't keep me in suspense about your sex life, I WILL kill the two of you.

  6. You may chew his food for him (he actually likes that), but please spit it back onto the fork before feeding it to him.

  7. As you stand in the front hallway of the care home, waiting for my grandfather to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating narcoleptic old men. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing his diaper?

  8. Put the goddamn drumstick down, Anna Nicole.

Borrowed liberally from W. Bruce Cameron's "8 Simple Rules" essay, found at http://www.wbrucecameron.com/pages/columns/8rules.htm

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