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anne mikolay 2012 120When I was a little kid on a family vacation, my dad ordered me a “Misty,” a syrupy concoction with massive amounts of crushed ice. The drink was so cold that it gave me a stomach ache and ruined my day at the pool. While my family enjoyed a day in the sun, I was in bed in our hotel room, plotting a $5 million lawsuit against the ice cream man who sold us the “Misty” and destroyed my summer vacation.

True story? Um...yes...and no. I did suffer the consequences of gulping an ice-cold “Misty,” but suing for damages never occurred to my dad, who was, I'm sure, well aware that he had purchased 8 ounces of crushed ice and comparatively little soda. Back then, people were not as quick to sue as they are today. These days, people like Stacy Pincus of Chicago, order cold drinks from Starbucks and file a $5 million lawsuit after discovering an unequal ratio of ice to fluid in the drink. Apparently, Pincus was surprised that though Starbucks advertises its cold drinks by fluid ounce, the numbers are only accurate if ice is added. Well, as they say...DUH! Was this Pincus' first time in a restaurant? The ratio of ice to fluid in fountain drinks is always imbalanced!

Too crazy for words!

And so is granting a variation of maternity leave to women who are not mothers.

In her new novel Meternity (get it? Me-ternity...me...me...me!), New York Post writer, Meghann Foye, proposes that paid leave be granted to all women in the workplace to enable them to “shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn't revolve around their job.” Foye contends “me-ternity leave” will allow women to “dig into” their whole lives, as moms on maternity leave allegedly do, and emerge more confident. The ignorance in this concept is laughable!

On behalf of all the mothers out there, let me set the record straight. While maternity leave enables a woman to explore a different part of life, it is not a paid vacation. There is no downtime for self-exploration during maternity leave; those first few months with baby (and forever after) are all about the child. The idea of paid maternity leave as a time for self-indulgence is pure myth. Ms. Foye further reveals her ignorance by claiming parenthood is the only path that provides a “modicum of flexibility.” What? Is she kidding? While political correctness gives lip-service to “flexibility” in the workplace, reality is often a very different thing. Additionally, from a practical standpoint, “me-ternity leave” would trigger a domino effect. If employers grant non-mothers paid leave for self-exploration and renewal, fairness dictates non-fathers deserve the same, and the workplace would be drained as moms and dads take paid child leave and non-parents take “me” time. Sound ridiculous? Of course, it does! It's too crazy for words!

Or is it?

The controversy over author Meghann Foye's “me-time me-ternity leave” concept has granted Foye media coverage that will translate into book sales, and while Stacy Pincus' lawsuit against Starbucks initially sounds ridiculous, Pincus stands to win millions. If you think a lawsuit over ice will never make it to court, think again. Liebeck v. McDonald's, better known as the McDonald's coffee case of 1994, won plaintiff Stella Liebeck $2.86 million after she spilled hot coffee in her lap and was hospitalized for eight days. Foye and Pincus will likely become rich via their recent endeavors.

And that's too crazy for words! I think I'll buy another “Misty!”