A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 25, 2001 || 11:54 pm

Any of you watch the WB show ‘7th Heaven’? C’mon, it’s okay to admit it; you’re among friends here. We shan’t laugh and point, because we have closet fantasies about Barry Watson and/or Jessica Biel, too….

Anyway, Scout loves this show. We watch very little TV at our house and what does get watched we are very selective about. So ‘7th Heaven’ is on the approved list because it’s a pretty decent show from all angles: content, writing/storylines, acting, et al. One major device employed by the show is fairly cool. Each episode has a theme; each character within the show is challenged within that theme and the audience follows each of these individuals as they deal with whatever has been presented, the individual storylines weaving in and out of one another and intermingling to create the larger plot. It’s a pretty good idea that works fairly well.

I tell you all of this not to babble mindlessly, but to let you know that has been happening around here this week, primarily to me. ‘Dishonesty’ is our recurring theme here, fellas.

It started with last weekend. We were preparing to go out and the phone rang. Since in the last year Scout and Sam have reached the age where their phone manners are not despicable, they are allowed to answer the phones outside of my business hours (and hell, sometimes even within them). It was Saturday afternoon and I was wrestling Mathias onto the potty and into his sandals simultaneously, trying to get the heck outta the house. When the ring came, Sam called out, “I’ll get it”, with a little hint of a question on it, waiting for my okay to answer. “Okay!” I called back from the playroom where I had Mathias pinned and was readying him.

Sam called me to the phone and as I was busy, I asked him to take a message. Apparently the party on the other end was insistent, so I bid him to ask who it was.

“Who’s calling, please?” Apparently he couldn’t get a straight answer, because he asked at least three times.

“They want YOU to come to the phone, Mom!” Exasperated, I asked, “Is it a salesman, son, because we haven’t really got the time to waste…”

I heard him ask as plainly as day, point-blank in the style he gets from his mommy, “Is this a sales call, ’cause my mom is busy with Mathias.”

“MAAAAHM, he says it’s not a salesman!”, so I went to the phone.

“Hi,” the d00d perkily says, “this is Richard from the Birmingham News.” I cut him off.

“Why did you lie to my son??”

“Ma’am, I didn’t lie….I told him–” “Richard, I hate your fucking guts,” I thought. Aloud I cut to the chase: “Noooo, I heard my child ask you directly if you were a salesman. He immediately turned to me and told me that you SAID you weren’t.”

“Do you know that you have just set an example to a nine-year-old boy that it’s okay to foist off an untruth to someone to further your ends?? Why are you teaching my son to lie, sir? I am trying like hell to raise responsible, accountable people with morals and you are fucking up my day, Richard. Tell me something, does your supervisor tolerate you lying to children in order to make a quota, or are you just winging it? Tell me another thing, do you feel about two inches high, having lied to a little kid who’s waiting to be taken out for ice cream and new football cleats?” As you may well have guessed, Richard squawked and sputtered for a second before wishing me a nice day and hanging up. Fuck you AND your nice day, Richard.

Later in the evening, I booted up to check my email and it was overflowing. I began to read the messages: junk (delete!), junk (delete!), a message from someone I correspond with about what a horrible time he’s going through, watching a family member die. He prefaced it with, “Elizabeth,…Please keep this between US. I would NEVER send anything YOU wrote ME, to anyone (unless it WAS to be fwd’d “on purpose”?) & I just feel I NEED to share this with you? I dunno why-I just DO. I want you to know where I am. Someone needs to know where I am…” Really gripping. Its’ tone of despair and loneliness got my attention. I read through it and was planning to respond, to reach out to him when I got finished motoring through my mail and deleting. I was apparently the one person that he felt could offer some insight, some words of hope, some something that he needed.

Imagine my surprise when I open the next e-mail to find that it is also from him –the exact same message– but with the salutation bearing someone else’s name. It was verbatim save for the other name.

I sat here in front of my monitor shaking my head, feeling contempt and utter disgust. Sure, he may still have needed that something that I could offer, but what seemed to me to be an obvious trolling for pity (rather than support) sullied whatever sweetness I could have afforded this person.

On I clicked to find an apologetic message, saying that he had sent both messages to me accidentally, but YES, this other person and I were the only ones he trusted enough to send it to. Doesn’t matter, guy….you fucked up with your sneakiness and I can’t muster any feeling in the face of that. Wait…a feeling CAN be mustered, one of disgust and distrust at your play on emotions. Are you genuine, or is this another act in the show upon the world’s stage? Pfft. Dishonesty….

Later in the week, I was doing some clicking around on a website that someone approached me for help with. Now, we all know that I am by no fucking means a design guru, but this person set their cap for me and after sending them away to RTFM, I answered all the questions that I could (within my limited scope of knowledge in this arena). I was checking in and saw that there was some art on the main page that needed crediting. I mentioned that.

Went back there later and the image had been changed (still uncredited). I clicked through to the couple of pages that had been built and to my surprise, saw that this person had gone around the web ripping pictures of people, posting them to the page and touting all these people, these strangers from the internet, as friends and family. I followed links to an art page where credit was taken for sketches that did not belong to the author of the page; I know this because I had seen them elsewhere. Off I went to her weblog, where I found a couple of posts that were eerily/disconcertingly VERY MUCH like some things I had posted in the prior couple of weeks.

Seems I failed to mention that this girl was going around the internet pretending to be a lithe, beautiful bass player from an up-and-coming band on the east coast. That she was posting on various sites as Said Bass Player. Sending and receiving e-mail under guise of same, with the ridiculous admonition that “Just to let you people know, the e-mail addy above isn’t working so, yeah…. e-mail here: faker@lameass.net

Why isn’t it good enough to be an overweight teen from the midwest with pretty red hair and potential (with some practice and some life experiences of your own behind you) to be a good writer? Who has told or shown this girl that whoever and whatever she is isn’t enough for someone to love her for herself?? What pings around in that head, all jangly and loose, that justifies this sort of behavior and allows her to proceed with it? Ohhhh, dishonesty….

So toward the middle of the week, Maxim and I caught Sam in a lie. A stupid, piddly lie it was, as are all the ones a body gets caught on. We had a big struggle with Sam and lying last year, but were on a good honesty streak for a time. He was on the path of righteousness for righteousness’ sake and all was well in our world in that respect until Wednesday.

And rather than get angry and fuss and lecture and bemoan my parenting skills, we sat the boy down and had a long talk. I asked him what he would do were he in my position. He went through a litany of disciplines/punishments that we had tried before, like losing priveleges or favored toys and writing sentences. We discussed each option, weighing the pros and cons of it and recalling levels of effectiveness.

It was a calm, open discussion and it was very forthright. When all was said and done, it was decided that Sam would be grounded for a period of one week. This means no television or movies, no video games, no bicycle and no special outings. He was sent to bed with the admonition that there would be some writing to do the next day after school.

“Sentences?” he half moaned.

“No sentences,” I said, “we’re gonna do it a little different this time. You’ll see tomorrow.”

The next day when he got in, I sat him at the dining room table. Looking into his beautiful and earnest almond-brown eyes, I said “Here’s a piece of notebook paper. I want you to write ‘What It Means To Be A Good Person‘ at the top. Then I want you to fill the page, front and back, NEATLY, with what you think it means to be a good person. What does it take?” And I left him there to do it while I worked at framing some pictures.

After he completed his task and I read it, we discussed our thoughts on what the paper contained. I walked away feeling a sense of accomplishment, and I think that he did too.

Despite the lost priveleges, he seems to be the happiest he has been in weeks. I can’t exactly explain it, only that I think that this last lesson was more productive because he was an active participant in it, because he was given a forum to share of himself and expound upon his views. I also think that being asked to look at it from my point of view and weigh the options for punishment kinda enlightened him as to how difficult it is to deprive someone you love of things that they enjoy for a lesson’s sake. Dishonesty…

It’s for foolish, cowardly souls, but I am glad for Sam’s little brush with dishonesty on Wednesday, because I think that ultimately we gained some ground from it in the long run.

Nobody worked it out »

Don´t be shy. Lay it on me.

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