Tom Purcell, 5/19/2008 [Archive]

Grandpa Shacks Up

Grandpa Shacks Up

By Tom Purcell

"You're doing what, Grandpa?"

"I'm moving in with my better half, my hot mama, my main squeeze."

"You're shacking up with your girlfriend?"

"What's the big deal, Tommy? Nearly 10 million Americans cohabitate now. According to the 2000 Census, the number of older couples cohabitating is four times greater than it was in 1980! That number will surely soar in the 2010 Census now that Baby Boomers are getting on in years."

"But Grandpa, the social mores of the older generations were more clear and demanding. You had high ideals. You believed in marriage -- that a man and woman should commit to each other publicly and become one."

"Look, Tommy, I'm retired now. Your grandma is in Heaven. It's party time."

"Party time?"

"Tommy, most folks in my generation did what we had to do. We stayed married to one woman our whole lives. We sacrificed everything for our children and our communities. That was a lot of work. Who wants to go through that again?"

"But Grandpa, your social mores are what we need more of. Your hard work, sacrifice and sense of duty produced stable communities and well-adjusted children. The mores you embraced are being lost. Today more than a third of American children are born to unwed mothers."

"Look, Tommy, my baby doll is a younger woman who looks at marriage differently than my generation did. Even if she would marry me, who's to say she won't ditch me for somebody with a bigger Winnebago?"


"And if she does run off, I don't want her dipping into the nest egg it took your grandma and me a lifetime to build. By staying single, I keep things simple."

"But Grandpa, various studies show that cohabitation is more stressful than marriage. Couples who cohabitate and later marry are 50 percent more likely to divorce than couples who don't cohabitate before marriage."

"Whatever, Tommy."

"Grandpa, after 30 years of experimentation, the evidence keeps pointing back to a simple fact: Where men, women and family are concerned, the more rigid values of your generation ultimately work better than today's loosey-goosey values."

"If you say so."

"What's got into you, Grandpa? Your generation was always so hopeful. Your expectations were so high. Now you sound so cynical."

"Look, Tommy, I spent a lifetime worrying about other people's needs. I spent a lifetime giving. Now I'm finally free to live in the moment -- to do what makes Grandpa feel good. You dig?"

"Do I dig!"

"I got the hots for my baby -- had the hots from the moment I met her at the tattoo parlor. What are the odds that both of us would be getting an image of Bono seared onto our buttocks at the exact same moment?

"A tattoo on your what?"

"I dig her, Tommy. We have such fun. Just the other day we were at her pad consuming illegal narcotics when I said, 'Moon Unit, lets go for a roll in the hay under the stars.'"

"Narcotics! Moon Unit! Premarital relations!"

"And then I said, 'Moon Unit, why don't you and I jump in the Winnebago and head across the country. We can hang out in Berkeley. See if Timothy Leary really is dead.'"

"But I thought Timothy Leary IS dead."

"Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, you need to loosen up. The times, they are a-changing."

"You're quoting Bob Dylan now? You used to quote Dwight Eisenhower!"

"Tommy, why can't you just let my generation live and let live?"

"But Grandpa, older generations are supposed to attain wisdom and knowledge and share them with the generations that follow. We need to look up to you. We need you to help set us straight, not embrace the things we're doing wrong."

"Sorry, Tommy, but I have to run. Moon Unit and I are throwing a party and it's my turn to fire up the bong."

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info call Sales at (805) 969-2829. Visit Tom on the web at or e-mail him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications."

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