Every time I go to the movies, I hearken * back (* first time usage of hearken) to my youth, when I paid $2.50 for a matinee at the Fox or Bruin in Westwood. And that $2.50 wasn't just spare change, people. It wasn't part of my vast reserve of gelt. It was hard-earned cash, the accumulation of various ridiculous chores and my weekly allowance. My parents made me work for my keep. They had me emptying the dishwasher, which I hated then and still do. I thought after I'd broken a few of their expensive bar glasses -- intentionally? how dare you! -- that they'd get the message that this wasn't a good chore for the budding SJG. They could've fired me at any point. But noooo, they had me emptying the dishwasher till I moved out. The horror of it all. How I suffered! And that wasn't all they made me do. There was more. Much more. They had me folding laundry, which I hated then and still do. I was lousy at folding then. I'm lousy at folding now. I start off with the best intentions, and then I just say, "Oh eff it! I don't care." They could've fired me for insubordination and sub-par laundry service. But nooooo, they kept me on, indefinitely. And that wasn't all they made me do. They had me washing the patio furniture. You heard me. And I was the only girl. Couldn't they have passed this useless chore off to my brothers? The cushions were just going to get dirty again. I stunk at washing outdoor furniture then. I stink at it now. Scrubbing bird crap off cushions -- can you say undignified! Bird crap! Honestly. These people I lived with really put me to work. Set the table. Clear the dishes. Make the bed. "Why are you making me do this?" I'd whine on a weekly basis. "What have I done?" My dad would then deliver a lengthy lecture about surviving the Depression and walking three miles in the snow and how chores built character. "I don't need character!" I'd say, and storm out of the room, sobbing and slamming doors. Overdoing it just a tad. I always did have a flare for the dramatic. The benefactors of my traumatic chore-centric childhood: my sons, who never got paid a dime for helping around house. Which may explain why they never helped around the house. I didn't want to burden them with all that character building nonsense. Who needs character when you've got Play Station?