Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Scribe Plays "The Happy Game"

    As we sat down and the Scribe told me her story, my face went from red to white.
    "They brought me into the principal's office," she said, "and told me I'd sent some very bad emails."
    At the beginning of the fourth grade, every child was sent home with a permission slip. If the parents signed it, then their fourth graders could have an email address. I was pretty iffy about the whole thing, after all the Scribe is only ten. She started crying after realizing I might not sign it. "Everyone else will have one though," she said. So, we read the rules together; how she couldn't send mean emails or ever give her password to anyone else. We signed the papers and apparently that was the beginning of the end.
    "What were the emails?" I asked her.
    "They were so bad, the principal talked about Social Services." She paused waiting to see what I'd say.
    I took a deep breath.  "Can you show them to me?"  What had she sent?  I know she's a prankster, but she's fun not mean.
    "I don't know, Mom. They were really bad . . . The office was supposed to change my password, but if we hurry, I can show you." She ran over to my iPad and started typing. When I read the emails, I knew at once that the Scribe hadn't written them. They were sexual and terrible. I was shocked and a bit sickened any fourth grader would know details about such things. Plus, the Scribe has been grounded from her little pre-paid phone and the computer, so I knew she didn't send those at the time it said.
    "You showed me this so I would know you didn't do it?"
    "Yeah," she said. "They figured that out in the office pretty fast. They made me take some tests. They had me spell different . . . words. Then they started asking me who I'd given my email password to."
    "Did you tell them?"
    "NO! I wouldn't rat out a friend."
    "But, Scribe. If this person sent out these terrible emails and signed them with your name, they aren't a friend."
    "I don't know." She got tears in her eyes. "Maybe my friend is sorting through stuff--terrible stuff you can't imagine. All she needs on top of everything is to get in trouble. But no matter how long I kept my mouth shut, the principal had different people ask me questions in different rooms for a long time. They called other kids into the other rooms and talked to them alone. The girl who did this finally confessed. Only after I heard her tell the truth, that's when I agreed."
    I sat stunned.
    "But why didn't the principal call me?"
    "Well, she said since I wasn't in real trouble . . . All I did was give my password out.  Maybe she figured you didn't need to know?"
    That made me tense.  I remained calm though, for my girl.  "Why did you give your password out, anyway?"
    "The girl said if we really were friends, then I would give her my password. That made me feel pretty bad, so I gave it to her."
    We drank some hot chocolate, which I was thankful for because even then (especially after selling cookies) I was still feeling a bit weak from being sick.
    "Mom, I'm scared to go to school. They said we can't talk about it anymore. But everyone was questioned and the whole class still thinks I did it. Kids were making fun of me."
    "Don't worry. I'll clear this up tomorrow."
    "You will?" she asked.
    "Oh, yeah. You're my baby. I'll sort this out even if it kills me."
    "Mom, I'm having a bad day. We gave Luna up. Now I had to tell you about my friend gone bad. Can we play the Happy Game?"
    "Sure."  I remembered a time long ago when I carried a baby who would probably die.  The only logical thing was to play the Happy Game then, too.
    "Well, today I can be happy because they usually make you wait in the office, but today I went right in. Plus, I've always wanted to see what the principal's office looked like and now I know!" the Scribe said.
    I laughed. "That's right, you do know."
   "And I got to . . . hang out . . . with the principal. She's a very busy woman; not every kid can say she has time for them!"
    "You're awesome," I said. "Just your attitude shows that you'll make it through this. Hang tight, it'll be okay."


    The next day I was pretty heated, though; I wasn't to the boiling point, not until I went to the office FOR THE SECOND TIME.     
    "Can I talk to the principal?" I asked.
    "Whose mother are you?" the woman asked.
    "My kid's the Scribe."
    "I'm sorry, but we can't take walk-ins. Can I get your number?"
    What was it, a hair salon?!  "Someone else took my number, but no one has called me and I keep getting transferred to voicemails."
    "I'm sorry, but we're doing our best."
    I looked at her patronizingly. Doing her best . . . seriously? Doing their best would be letting me talk to the principal about why she questioned my daughter forEVER and didn't call me.
    "Everyone wants their ducks in a row," the woman finished. "We have a lot of parents to deal with.
    Deal with . . . so now I was a walk-in burden!
    "That's fine, but I need to talk to someone soon. My daughter was terrified to go to class today. All of her peers still think she sent those yucky emails. This isn't right."
    So, I left and did what any good mother would do--I called Fishducky! 
    When you're getting ready for war, you need the good ones on your side. Sometimes you need to take off your thong, put on your big girl panties and get ready to bust some balls.
    The thing is, I'm one of the nicest people around. I'll do anything for anyone (except Miss Priss). I would have been like the Scribe, standing up for some bully when it would cost me everything--not because I was scared but because I felt bad. Even if I do sound like a pansy, I'm not. Maybe my friends will tell you I am, but they just haven't seen me make it to the boiling point--that isn't pretty. I dislocated a kid's jaw in junior high, just because he touched my leg. I even gave another guy a bloody nose in high school because he tried grabbing my boob. When enough has happened--that's it. I don't care how bad I feel for you--I won't be spineless and get walked on forever.
    I nodded as the famous Fishducky talked to me. "Okay," I said. "That's what I'll do. I sure appreciate your help."
    Her advice was pretty good. It didn't involve any balls, or me busting them, but it was a start. And deep down, I thought her idea just might work.

To be continued . . .