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Teen-Ready House Test

Teen-Ready House Test
Copyright 2004
W. Bruce Cameron

(From a pamphlet produced by our government for home buyers)
Dear Prospective Homeowner:
In the event you are considering purchase of a home that is new ("New") or existing ("Not New"), the following tests will help you determine whether the dwelling is structurally appropriate for teenagers.  Please note that these steps only simulate living with a teenager; nothing can actually duplicate the experience, though spending five years running with wild dogs might come close.
The "I'm Angry And So Is My Door" test:  To determine whether your interior doors can withstand the temper tantrums of teenagers, repeatedly slam a small bedroom door with a force somewhere between "Sledgehammer" and "Train Wreck."  If it helps you get in the mood, feel free to shout "I hate you!" while doing so.  After twenty-nine such slams (an average week's worth), check the foundation for cracks.  If no fissures are evident, you aren't slamming the door hard enough.
The "I DID Clean My Room" test:  Take two baskets of dirty clothes and two baskets of clean clothes and distribute them chaotically
throughout a bedroom.  Can you see carpet?  If you can see carpet, add more clothes.  When you cannot see any carpet, add more clothes.  Then stand in the middle of the room and shout "I can't find anything to wear!"
The "Why Does It Matter If I Can't Hear You I'm Not Going To Listen Anyway" test:  Place a CD in a stereo and turn up the volume as high as it will go.  Repeat this with more stereos in each bedroom of the house.  When the decibel level exceeds that of the launch of a space shuttle, open any unbroken windows and see whether your neighbors complain.  If they don't, you need either (a) more stereos or (b) different neighbors.  You simply cannot fully appreciate the Living-with-Teenagers Experience if your neighbors don't complain about your children.
The "But I Had To Rinse My Hair" test:  Fully drain your hot-water tank, then try to take a shower because you're late to a meeting.  Next, place a kitchen timer in the bathroom with a note saying "ABSOLUTELY NO SHOWERS LONGER THAN FIVE MINUTES," then ignore the note and drain the hot-water tank exactly as before and pretend you're late for another meeting.  Repeat this test until you become accustomed to cold showers in the morning.
The "Doesn't Anybody Check the Pockets in This Stupid Family?" test:  Place a lipstick in the pocket of a pair of pants and then do a load of laundry.  If all the clothing comes out stained, It Isn't Her Fault.  If the clothing does not come out stained, repeat the test until it does.  For the full Teenage Experience, repeat the test every three weeks or so for five years.
The "Why Can't We Just Order a Pizza?" test:  Fill the refrigerator with food, then stand in front of it with the door open and shriek
"There's nothing to eat in this house!"
The "Why Can't I Stay Out Later than Midnight No One Else Has Such a Stupid Curfew!" test:  This test has two stages.  In stage one, scream the title of the test loudly and stomp your foot as hard as you can.  If this hurts your foot, try simulating the impact by dropping a cement block from a helicopter.  In stage two, drive an automobile at high speed through the neighborhood, pulling into your driveway at fifty miles an hour at one minute before midnight.  Park the car with the interior dark for half an hour while the father of the house paces frantically in front of the window.  Flick lights on and off several times.  Repeat this process every weekend for as long as you live in the house.
The "I AM Doing My Homework" test:  Turn on the television, then lie on the floor in front of it, talking on the telephone.
The "It Wasn't a Party, I Just Had Some Friends Over!" test:  Leave town for a weekend.  When you come back, check to see if the house is still standing.
If the structure passes all of the tests, you can live in it with teenagers.  The question is, why would you want to?

For reprint permission, including web sites, please write to Bruce Cameron at
Bruce Cameron: "If you would like a personally signed copy of my new book, How to Remodel a Man, drop me an e-mail and let me know!  It's a great book for anyone who has ever had to deal with a man in any capacity.  Oprah (yes, that Oprah) calls it 'Hilarious ... dead-on!'"
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