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I'm With Stupid: Fetch Me My Dinner, Wench, I Mean Mom

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Hey, Mom and Dad, remember how I basically moved out of the house at the age of 22 and, with a handful of exceptions that lasted less than six months each, never really moved back in? Yeah, we need to talk about that. It seems I was more than a little premature and didn't really think things through at the time.

You see, I recently learned that in Europe, some children live in their parents' homes well into adulthood. And I don't mean young-adult adulthood, like my siblings who stuck around your house into their late 20s. I'm talking about full-on middle age. For example, just the other day I read a story about an Italian man who, at the age of 41, not only still lives with his parents but has forced them to seek legal help to try to get him out of the house.

Now, one might think a 41-year-old man who lives with his parents has a decent excuse for doing so. Certainly, I could understand it if the guy were unemployed in these tough economic times, or if he had a condition like epilepsy that made it difficult to live on his own, but this fellow suffers from neither of those problems. According to his father, he has a good job and could move out if he wanted to. Apparently, though, he's just a raging a-hole.

How can I make such a claim without having met the man? Well, for one, that's kind of what I do. Two, he's a 41-year-old man living in his parents' house despite them asking him to leave; and three, the facts in this case definitely paint the guy as a jerk.

I mean, I don't know about you, but if I were still under my parents' roof, I think I'd probably try to help out a little, maybe do my own laundry or cook some of the meals, you know? Not our man in Venice. This guy treats his folks like the hired help, demanding, according to his dad, "that his clothes be washed and ironed and his meals prepared." He's reportedly also become aggressive when the subject of moving out has been broached.

So demanding is the son, in fact, that his poor mother "is suffering from stress and had to be hospitalized," which finally prompted the man's parents to hire lawyers from a consumer association called Adico. The lawyers have sent a letter to the son, telling him he has to leave the house in six days or face legal action, which could include a court-issued protection order for the parents against their child.

Sure, this may seem like an isolated case, but according to Adico, there are hundreds of other Italian families that can't seem to get their adult kids out of the house. I've also heard that French and Spanish families have similar problems, which for some reason doesn't really surprise me.

Now, I'm not going to comment on how big of a loser a 41-year-old man who lives with his parents must be (a huge one) or what the chances are of said man ever finding a girlfriend (slim, fat and no), because I want to make this all about me.

Is there anything, Mom and Dad, about the Italian man's age that seems familiar? That's right. I'm 41 too, meaning I could have been living under your roof and sponging off you (more than I have been) for the last 19 years. Talk about stupid. What the hell was I thinking?

Here's the way I'm looking at it: Over the last 19 years, I've probably paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 in rent or mortgage payments and another $100,000 or so in food costs. That means I've saved you at least $300,000 over that span.

But wait, there's more. I also have not been directly responsible for sending you to the hospital with stress problems, Mom (at least I think I haven't), and I haven't forced you to hire a lawyer to evict me, Dad. I figure that probably saved you another $20,000 or so, not to mention all the emotional anguish you didn't have to suffer because of my demanding ways.

So am I saying that you owe me $320,000? Kind of, but being a good son, I would never dream of asking you for the money. Instead, I figure we can call it an early Christmas present. Just remember that the next time you're thinking of complaining that I never give you anything.

Todd Hartley may yet move back in with his parents if the economy doesn't improve. Consider yourselves warned, Mom and Dad. To read more or leave a comment, please visit zerobudget.net.