Monday, October 6, 2008

Escaping from the Amish

— Rules my parents made up —

Growing up Amish is hard enough all by itself. There are plenty of built-in rules when you are an Amish child. But my parents had many special rules for me in addition to the regular rules. Some of these rules were passed down through generations, and the reasons for many of the special rules were lost over the years. Still, we continued to uphold these special rules, and my parents enforced them religiously. Of course. Here are some of these special Amish children rules that I remember, before I escaped from the Amish. The rules are given in no particular order.

Build your own barn. Grow your own food. Sew your own clothes. I can't remember a time when these basic rules were not being drilled into me.

No brushing your teeth and no dentists allowed. It was perfectly ok to own a toothbrush, and it was perfectly okay to make dental appointments, but you were not allowed to keep them.

All good Amish keep receipts. In a restaurant or 7-11 store, you will never hear an Amish patron say, "I don't need the receipt." These are kept in old Danish Cookie tins and burned on New Year's Day.

Overdue library books. Actually this is such a complicated subject that it will require a separate post.

Huddling rules. These are extremely ritualistic and cannot be explained to you English.

Plastic statues of all kinds are prohibited.

Do Amish wear underwear? (Not premitted to tell outsiders.)

Violin-making. The making of violins in Amish households is certainly permitted. However the actual playing of violins is not allowed. I have often thought this fact might be part of the reason Amish violins are not in high demand, rather than simply a lack of effective advertising. It goes without saying that Banjo manufacturing is strictly prohibited, as it should be in the outside world as well.

Yard wrestling. I am often asked if the wrestling of heavy leather dummies is permitted at large Amish gatherings, such as barn raisings. The answer is no. This is very much a bootleg enterprise, much like cockfighting. I am not saying that the sight of a grown man rolling around on the grass with a heavy leather dummy is without a certain appeal, or that it doesn’t go on in certain circles, but it is officially banned.

Any travel, whether by horse, tricycle, or on foot, on streets named “Leonard” is strictly prohibited.

The drinking of water is, of course, permitted in any quantity and at any time. However, the cup should be held in the right hand (exception: those who have lost their right arms in threshing accidents are exempt) and water may not be consumed within 12 minutes of eating any quantity of pumpkin pie. The only exception to this rule is if your maternal grandmother was at one time a Methodist. (Must carry written proof of this on your person.)

The travel in any public conveyance (Trains, Planes, or Automobiles) is strictly prohibited. I hasten to add that it is not improper to buy a ticket for an airplane or train, but it is not allowed to actually use that ticket. This rule led to an unusual childhood incident that stayed in my mind for years. It is covered in a separate post entitled “The Great Ambulance Scuffle.”

I forgot to mention that it is ok to get into the back seat of a police car. (Amish have a general aversion to being tased, at least in public.)

Donkey Kong prohibited to me as a youth. But we had no TV or electricity anyway.

No more than 2 dogs allowed on the bed for warmth in the winter, unless it is cold enough to be an official Three Dog Night.

The viewing of Amish porn before marriage was not permitted in our family. If you are over 18 you may click on the link for an example of Amish porn.

My entry in Ettarose's Humor Carnival.


  1. I think you've lost it completely. Everyone knows that dogs don't matter when you ARE allowed seven cats. We, however, used to burn our receipts at for Guy Fawkes.

  2. The only thing I know of the Amish is the man isn't to cut his beard after marriage. Which doesn't make much sense to me really.. Oh and I highly doubt you'd ever seen Amish folk at 7-11... lol

  3. being as we had a farm near Lancaster I can relate to much of this.....

    and hey! Where did that sexy monkey on your entrecard come from???

  4. a. - "7 Cat Night" - yet another 60s rock group. Why is all my American humor lost on you? I try so hard. I do. Sigh. 3 Dog Night. Double sigh. Like you don't remember. :) :)

    But did you think it was funny? Will you vote for me? Huh? Huh? Huh? Will ya? :)

    Guy who?

  5. Chica - Are you sure? Maybe he isn't allowed to marry after he cuts his beard. Or after he goes to a 7-11. Hey? Hey? Just vote for me Chica. It was damn funny. Don't try to say it wasn't. :)

    Petra. Petra? Petra! Petra. It's all a big lie. Vote for me Petra. Vote for me Petra. Vote for me Petra.

    That's Floo Z. the Britshspeak mascot. Same one that's in the header graphic on Britishspeak. Except the ladies made me cover up her legs. It's a long story Petra. Vote for me anyway.

  6. @Petra - meet me Friday night at the pub.

  7. I live in an Amish community.. Read my blog. my daughter worked for a local dentest.. .it is sad when they don't take care of there kids teeth..

  8. The reason your American humour is lost on me is the same reason my British humour is lost on you. Never the twain shall meet. If you'd sorted the whole post at one time I might have worked some of it out.

  9. @Floo Z. - Stop putting the make on my friends. You would do Petra wouldn't you?

    @Debbies doodles - So true. ::cringe::

    The pictures on your blog are gorgeous. But, Debbie, you can't be Debbies Doodles if you are also DebbieDoHair. I will just call you Debbie Do. Or Do Debbie. No. DoDebbieDo. Hotcha. Thank you for stopping by. :)

    @a - I have told you this several times. Write it down this time. The British have no humor. Or humour for that matter. They have witticisms and extreme cleverness. They have Pantomime at Christmas. No humor K? I will quote my late idol Alan King one more time for you. Copy- paste this:

    “I love British "humor: It is very instructive. It makes you think. It is very, very witty. It is incredibly cerebral. It is ever so clever. It just isn’t fucking funny.”

  10. Max you dirty dog. Trying to hook up two chicks..... with a name like Floo Z tho she is probably hot... I like hot chicks. ;-)

  11. I still like my Amish blow up doll from the porn store. She doesn't have a face so there's no guilt! ha ha

  12. Are you allowed to shave your pubic hair if you are Amish? How can they tell you are an apostate if you do?


    I technorati'd. Would have stumbled but my browser doesn't have a button. Really good humor writing!


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