My lovely daughter, Melissa, is a sweet girl. She is bright, funny, charming and very, very social. She rarely gives us much trouble – – but, she’s also 16. The age of 16 doesn’t come and go without a handful of little disruptions in life – – it’s like a turning point when, suddenly, the very sweet girl who used to want to spend all her time in her Mom’s lap all of a sudden doesn’t want to be SEEN with that same Mom in public. Oh the horror!
Actually, Melissa isn’t so much like that. While she doesn’t sit in my lap anymore these days, she does like to spend time with me and is quite comfortable ‘hanging’ out with her friends in our kitchen, where I get to listen to all sorts of juicy, meaningless teenaged girl gossip. She’s a good girl.
All of that being said, you’ll understand my surprise when I got a midnight phone call from our local police. Chris and I were in Connecticut, on our anniversary mini-vacation, and my cell phone rang at midnight. Of course, my initial reaction is one of pure dread – – in my mind, there’s only a few reasons why you would get a midnight phone call from the police – – and NONE of them are good ones. When I realized it was the police calling, I’m answering the phone – – but mentally, I’m packing our bags and trying to decide who to call first and how we’ll get an immediate flight away from the East Coast back home!
Hello – am I speaking with Melissa’s Mom?
*Gulp*…Yes, yes – I am her mother… what’s wrong? Is she OK???
As far as I know, Ma’am – but I need to speak with Melissa about an incident in which she was a part of earlier this evening. I have her cell number, but she’s not answering
But she’s ok, right? No one is hurt? What happened? What KIND of incident??
Well, I’m still investigating, which is why I need to speak with her. It involves a name-calling incident that occurred at the park this evening.
Umm, name calling? Really? Name calling? Was there a fight? Physical violence or something?
Well, were drugs and/or alcohol involved?
Gang violence? Mass murder? Acts of terrorism? Anything other than ‘name calling’ ?
No Ma’am. Apparently, your daughter called another girl a “Bitch” – and then that girl called her a “Bitch” back and there were a few other names tossed back and forth between them. I will need to talk to Melissa to finish my investigation.
……. . . . . .
So… it’s midnight on a Saturday and you are investigating something that amounts to school yard bickering between two teenaged girls in the park? No one hit anyone. Everyone was sober. There were no weapons. No one’s hair got pulled, or toe got stepped on — no one was threatened with their life. What we’re talking about here is an official police investigation over someone calling someone else a Bitch?
Ma’am – I’m not done with my investigation. If you would please tell me how I can get in touch with your daughter, I will have more answers for you.
Fast forward to 2am – the phone rings again. It’s the same policeman, who has now completed his investigation. We’re talking CSI: Wisconsin, here. Very, very official stuff.
I’ve completed my investigation and will be issuing your daughter a ticket for Disorderly Conduct. There is a court date in July, it is not mandatory, however. You can choose not to attend the scheduled court date and opt to pay the $85 fine, the choice is yours.
Oh.. I am positive we’ll be attending the scheduled court date. Will you be there? Because my husband and I will be very interested to sit and listen to you explain to the judge about how you spent 2-3 hours on a Saturday night investigating a ‘name calling incident’ between two teenaged girls.
We’ll be sitting in that court room waiting for the drug dealers, drunk drivers and wife beaters have their moment in front of the judge – – and when my daughter gets called to stand in front of the Honorable Him, or Her, I think I’ll have to video tape the ridiculousness of… “Melissa, you are here today, before the judge, charged with Disorderly Conduct for calling Alicia a bitch – – how do you plea?” THAT is YouTube-worthy.
I mean, what IF Alicia IS a bitch? I’ve raised my daughter to be honest. Can we get some character witnesses in to verify that Alicia is, indeed, a bitch. Perhaps if we brought in a Mental Health expert and had Alicia undergo psychiatric testing and if that expert witness confirms that she is a bitch – will Melissa be off the hook?
I can’t believe you spent 3 hours investigating name calling. This is embarrassing – – not for ME, but for YOU… big bad city cop spending his Saturday night conducting an official investigation for something that, had it happened in school, she probably would have gotten a slap on the wrist for – – at worst, after-school detention.
How about this? I have $100 in cash in my purse right now – – what if I called YOU an asshole.. how much would that cost me? I just want to ask, because I’m thinking that it might JUST be worth it!
Ok, so I didn’t really SAY that last part…I said it on the inside, though.
I suppose I could be more contrite. After all, I didn’t raise my daughter to have a potty mouth. But I did raise her to speak the truth and I know her well enough to know that she didn’t just randomly call the girl a bitch, just out of the blue. Something happened in that teenaged-drama-queen way that happens when you’re 16. Maybe I should be more serious about this? Maybe I’m not quite grasping the severity of the situation??
Todays name caller is tomorrows serial killer? Or something.
I’ll need to think on this some more and see if I can dig deep and find the outrage I should be feeling about my daughter calling another girl the dreaded *B* word.
All in all, maybe my daughter will think twice before she opens her mouth to curse at another human being ever again. I’m sure there is some larger lesson being doled out and learned within all of this – – and if I, as her mother, completely thumb my nose at the authority of justice in this town.. what kind of lesson am I passing on to her?
I’ll tell you what, though – – I go to sleep every single night with the comforting and reassuring thought that the fine men and women of the West Bend Police Department are keeping my streets safe from name callers. I cannot tell you how I used to sit up at night.. unable to sleep, for fear that someone… somewhere…is being called a name.