The Middle School Snoop
Middle school has turned me into a snoop.
I’m not talking about my middle school, of course. First of all, I didn’t even have a middle school; I had a junior high. And second of all, I was far too busy making sure my Toni home perm was nice and fluffy to do any snooping way back then. No, I mean now that my oldest son Sam is in 7th grade, I have to use my investigative skills every time he wants to hang out with a friend I’ve never met. I’ve become Magnum PI in yoga pants. Instead of a Ferrari, I drive a Volvo.
I didn’t have to snoop when he was in grade school. All of his classmates lived in our neighborhood, so I already knew most of the parents. I also regularly volunteered in the classroom. But now he’s in a big school that combines three different neighborhoods, and I only volunteer when under court order. That means I don’t know anything about the kids he now wants to hang out with, and since he’s no help at all, I have to dig.
“Mom, can I sleep over at Miguel’s on Friday?”
“This kid in my Science class. His last name starts with a W or a P or something. Maybe G?”
I then have to tell him to text Miguel, ask for his mom’s number, then give me the number so I can text or call Miguel’s mom and casually let her know that I’m normal while casually finding out if she’s normal, too. And that’s way easier said than done. Nothing says, “I’m a weirdo!” more than texting the words, “I’m not a weirdo!” Trust me. I’m a weirdo. I know these things.
Of course, I could just let my investigation end with the texting and phone calls, but I’m far too resourceful to do that. And by “resourceful,” I mean “paranoid.” I just want to know more. I’m trusting my baby with these people, right? So obviously I need to gather info until I’m satisfied they’re not the type to sell him at a carnival. Therefore, once I find out which grade school the new friend attended, I immediately suss out the moms I know who had kids there, too, and pump them for info.
“Need some intel on a Miguel P. Or W or G,” I text.
“Nice kid. Parents nice, too. Own a lake house,” my friend texts back.
“Voting history, degrees earned, felony records?” I ask.
“Get a life,” my friend responds.
Then, if I’m really on fire, I take to Google and Facebook and search up the parents’ names. It’s a good plan. In theory, anyway. But then things happen, like the time a dad’s name popped up on Cheaterville.com. “I don’t think Sam should sleep over at Wyatt’s house tomorrow,” I whispered to my husband. “Look! His dad scored 4 out of 5 flames on the Cheater Meter!”
“Well, Sherlock, that Tom Johnson lives in Phoenix and he’s only 21-years-old,” my husband answered. “So I’m pretty sure he’s not the dad of a 13-year-old in Austin. Besides, what do you think these parents will find if they Google your name?”
Shit. He had a point. If that happens, my kiddo won’t have any friends.
You see, I’ve been writing humorous things on the internet for years now, and a lot of it is—how shall I put this?—rather odd, so if a mom searches up my name, her computer will probably turn into a giant, red flag. I mean, not everyone sees the humor in an angry letter to a maxi-pad company. I also have one or two readers who regularly make original artwork of me, so this is the type of thing that appears if you do an image search:
Yeah, don’t ask. But would you let your child stay at my house after seeing that? No, you’d call the authorities. And maybe a priest with exorcism experience. Which is a shame because I’m actually a very responsible, lovely parent who makes excellent pancakes in the morning whenever kids sleep over.
Just ask Miguel W or P. G?