Sunday, September 17, 2006


This Is What Makes It All Worthwhile

Little Sally has a problem getting to class on time. Herr Professor has talked with Sally's mom a couple of times about this problem. Sally gets sent to her counselor. Counselor asks Sally for a number so her teacher can talk to her mom about Sally's tardiness. Sally gets sent back to class with a paper containing a phone number and a message to call Sally's mom. This is not the number that Herr Professor has used to call Sally's mom previously. Another number is a good thing, another path to try if the other number isn't answered.

Lady: Hello?
Herr Professor: Hello. This is Herr Professor, a
teacher at Inner City High
School, and I'm calling about Sally.
HP: Yes. Could I speak to her mom?
Lady: Oh, she's not here. This is
her aunt.
HP: Hi there. I'm calling about Sally's tardy problem. I talked
Sally's mom before about how Sally has been tardy, and how she had
and how Sally had not attended detention. Sally's mom had told me
she would
attend detention, but once again, Sally did not show
Sally's Aunt: Oh ok then. I will make sure her mom hears about
HP: Very good. Thank you for your time.

Herr Professor recalls that mom had called the day before, and he hadn't had time to get back to her. Herr Professor gives mom a call on the other number.

Sally's Mom: Hello?
Herr Professor: Hello. This is Herr Professor from Inner City High School.
We've spoken before about Sally's tardiness, and that she had detention. I had
understood that she would be serving detention on Thursday, and then she didn't
SM: Well she said she didn't think she had detention since you hadn't
reminded her of it.
HP: But her name was clearly listed on the detention list, clearly visible
from her desk, and she knew she was on it. I also wanted to call because I sent
Sally to her counselor to discuss this issue. I just talked to Sally's Aunt, but
I never had a chance to get back to you yesterday, so I went ahead and gave you
a call as well.
SM: You talked to who?
HP: Sally's Aunt. You see, when Sally went to her counselor, the counselor
had Sally give her a number where I could reach you. Then the counselor sent
this note back, with a message to please call mom. I called the number, but got
Sally's Aunt instead.
SM: Sally's Aunt is at work. What number did you call?
HP: Let me find the note here. Oh here it is. The number was 123-4567.
SM: That's Sally's cell phone number.
HP: It is? Well, Sally's Aunt did sound kind of young. I guess Sally
thought she could put one over on us. So can I expect to see her at
detention next Thursday?
SM: Yes she will definitely be there.

It's so easy on the bad days to be utterly insulted by something like this, and to hate the little punk who would try it. The message from the kid is that you are so stupid, even something as lame as this will completely fool you.

Fortunately, on the philosophical days, it's easier to let it go. Then you think of kids as criminals. It's their job to pull stunts like this. And you're the cop; it's your job to catch them at it. The child is not insulting you. The child thinks the plan is brilliant. The child is simply unable to conceive her own stupidity. She has no concept that her teacher, and adults in general, see right through her clever plan. I'm a Holmes, but, unfortunately for her, little Sally is no Moriarty. So why do I take such pleasure in catching her? This is a story I'll be telling for years.
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