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Image: Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Published July 07, 2011

Bellevue, WA


When Jeni Penbroke’s parents told her she couldn’t go to the MGMT concert with her friends, she was livid. Like most teenagers, she was hurt and told her parents that all of her friends were going and that she just wanted to be normal like them - they simply didn’t understand. In fact, her parents persisted and that’s when things got interesting.


Jeni Penbroke: I told them, “It’s not fair!”

Danny Mastrangelo: And what happened next?

JP: I said they were being ***holes.

             DM: I meant, how did they respond?

JP: They told me, “Life’s not fair.”

DM: That must have been hard for you to hear.

JP: Right? Totes hard.


But Jeni’s story doesn’t end there. While most teens would have simply accepted the firm resolve presented by their parents, Jeni refused to give up. She told me about how she leapt to her computer and began to sift through the lyrics of her favorite songs and scan through several articles on Wikipedia until she could find just the evidence she needed. After several long minutes of research and a lot of support from her friends on Facebook, Jeni had arrived: Life was fair.


            DM: How does it work?
            JP: So fairness in life is like balance, right? Like balancing the universe and junk. So there
            was this guy: Sir Isaac Newton.
            DM: Sure, famously laid the foundation for classical mechanics and described gravity.
            JP: Yeah, this guy.
            DM: Okay.
            JP: And he was like “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” You know?
            DM: Right. Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
            JP: Yeah, that one. And it’s like… Like when I totaled the Lexus and we got a bunch of
            money for a new one. It’s like that. Fair. Physics. Newtons. Science.
            DM: Fascinating.
            JP: Totally.
            DM: So what happened next?
            JP: Everything changed.
            DM: For instance?
            JP: I stay out late with friends, started smokin’, Kyle totally slept over, and now I listen to
            music way loud.
            DM: I see.
            JP: It’s like… This is our decision, you know? To live fast and die young. We’ve got the vision -
            now let’s have some fun.
            DM: Those are just MGMT lyrics, right?
            JP: It’s our decision.
            DM: And your parents? What do they have to say about all this?
            JP: They still don’t like it, but what can they do? Life’s fair. Science says.

            We spoke with Jeni’s parents, Bill and Mary Penbroke, later that day in their home. The photos which fill their once quiet two-story home contain images of happier times. In them, Bill and Mary have a warm and kind look to them that is now overshadowed by an ever-present sadness and fear.

            Bill Penbroke: There’s really nothing we can do.
            Mary Penbroke: Ever since that home schooled boy in North Dakota proved that “Because I
            said so” isn’t a real reason, this is all we’ve had!
            DM: If Jeni was here right now, what would you tell her?
            BP: Jeni’s not here?
            DM: Would you try to get through to her? What would you say?
            MP: Where’s Jeni? Where is our daughter?

            While things in Washington may be more or less a done deal, this news comes at a particularly interesting time for our nation’s capital and rumors have begun that this could be used in an attempt to tip the scales in the ongoing Supreme Court case of Becca Maloney vs. “My House My Rules.” As always, we promise to bring up-to-the-minute coverage as the situation develops.
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