I have received from all corners of the earth the article in which an 81 yr. old Sicilian mamma threw her 61 yr. old son out of the house and took away his meager stipend because he stayed out too late and didn’t tell her where he was going. Now, I’ve lived with an 81 yr. old (although I wasn’t on a stipend), and I can tell you, it ain’t easy…let alone, doing so for 61 years. So, fundamentally, I’m on his side.
But, while even the Italians had a hearty laugh over this grandiose display of mammoneism (that’s mamma’s-boyism), there is little here to laugh about in this country of mammones galore.
I could write chapters upon chapters of the mammone syndrome, and lots of ink has already been spent in the Western and even the Italian press on this most charming of peccadilloes of the Mediterranean culture. But, what’s more disconcerting are the recent developments in the Italian legal system, which has offered unadulterated (and some would say reprehensible) defense of this preposterous situation; mentally, emotionally and let’s say even physically unhealthy by anyone’s standards.
If our 61 yr. old Giovanni had pressed his case, the law would have reinstated him in the household, stipend and all, and reprimanded the mamma for essentially wanting more respect.
The Appeals Court recently stated that a 27 yr. old living at home was entitled to stay there forever, with a raise in his – for lack of a better word – allowance; because of course, in Italy, there are few jobs and prospects for this fully mature ragazzo. In another case, a divorced dad was forced to also pay child support to his 21 yr. old, up until the ‘kid’ found his way in the world.
Now with your very own live-in slave, clothes shopper, gourmet chef, housekeeper, and personal bank account for vacationing in the Maldives when you want to, I, too, would be hard-pressed to find my way out of the house and into this world. Let’s face it: flipping burgers at McDonalds, or even a banker’s job would be infinitely more laborious. And you wouldn’t find your underwear pressed and your bed made at the end of each working day, either.
But, by enforcing this mamma-state (formerly known as the nanny one, but no one can afford those anymore), the Italian courts are not helping poor Giovanni & Co. They are, in short, throwing the book directly at Italy; further exacerbating the europessimism, especially among the young, that there is no hope nor any future, so you might as well not even try. In their judicial zealotry, instead of helping progress, they instead defend their own kind (mammonas each and every one of them, I'm sure); condemning these 'deadbeat dads' for the crime of having actually gone out and made a living. In short, they carve their enlightened sanctions in the legal stone, and tell families (to the great satisfaction of all those mammas out there) that their little bundles of joy can remain so forever. These stone commandments are actually funerary epithets -- ultimately dictating that the Italian economy, if not the entire society, stays in diapers and crawls; never having to grow up and face the dark, brutal world of work and responsibility.
As for me, I’m looking into adoption—into an Italian family -- I wonder what kind of an allowance I could draw?