Books Read in 2007
NED'S LIFE OF CRIME
9 September 2007
There are perks of being a packrat. When you go looking for something, you just never know what you are going to uncover when you open an innocent envelope. I knew I just had to share this note that I found today.
Isn't that a great note? I think what this refers to (and even if it doesn't, it's too good a story not to share anyway), was when Ned was questioned about his attempted extortion.
I don't remember what grade he was in, but he was in middle school, probably the 5th or 6th grade. We got a call from the police, who wanted to come and question him about threats he'd made to another student. ("Mrs. Sykes? This is Officer Parker. I'd like to question your son about his extortion attempts.") Apparently the student had reported to his parents that he hadn't been able to buy lunch because Ned had threatened him with bodily harm if he didn't give him his lunch money.
This was so not Ned that I was completely flabbergasted, but Parker gave me the "stupid mother thinks her son is so innocent" attitude. The real story was that Ned and this fellow student had made a bet on the translation of a German word. They bet whatever was their lunch money. Ned won the bet and the kid had to turn over his lunch money. But there were no bodily threats. In fact, this was at a time when Ned was still a scrawny kid who was regularly threatened by bigger kids.
When Officer Parker finally came to question Ned, all he needed was to take one look at him to know that the charges were ridiculous. Parker, in fact, had to keep struggling to keep a stern face as Ned told his story and he suggested that Ned not bet with kids again and that was the end of it.
That night I received a call from the parents of the boy who had accused Ned and I never felt so sorry for a kid in my life. The parents put him on the phone and told him he had to apologize, and all the time he's trying to talk to me, his father is screaming at him in the background, calling him names and instructing him about what he's supposed to say to me. The kid had all the animation in his voice of a whipped puppy.
Then the mother got on the phone, crying, saying that this was such a difficult time for her boy. She seemed to be more concerned that they were going to be discussing sex in school than she was that he had made a false accusation against Ned. She told me repeatedly that her son was too young to know about sex and she didn't know what she was going to do because she didn't want her son even thinking about sex .
I went from mother-of-accused-but-innocent-kid to sympathetic ear, using all of my "active listening" skills to let this mother just talk and talk and talk about how she hated to think of her little darling learning about sex in school.
I never met the parents and nobody ever accused Ned of extortion again, but I did learn that the parents took their son out of the public school at the end of the year and enrolled him in a fundamentalist Christian school, where apparently they promised not to talk about sex at all.
That kid is 40 now. I wonder what
he's like as an adult (and if he ever learned about
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Ned, the Bully
This is entry #2721