A few nights ago, late, we had a knock at the door. Shortly after, Ben had cause to tweet;
Now, let me back up a bit here... a few days before The Great Cop Off, 2015 - the 6yo had taken his camera to school. I know. I perhaps should have stopped him but I thought, if it gets taken away, he'll learn a lesson...
Oh someone learned a lesson, the answer may surprise you.
Now, I don't know if you're familiar with the work of 6 & 7 year old boys? You don't necessarily have to have your own to be even, vaguely clued in.
Bart Simpson and Co. roughly approximate the collective noun of little boys. Such a group is called a Fart or perhaps, a Snot. They're silly. Loud. Grubby. Adorable. The very height of hilarity centres around the aforementioned. Farts and bums and wees and snot. Hilare!
So - Mr 6 takes his camera to school. There's a couple of wild jerky video of little boys (primarily) hauling ass around the sandpit. Yelling out to each other. Throwing sand and sticks. Lot's of "look at me" and "watch this!" There's half a dozen photo-bombed selfies. Some taken by my Mr 6, some not. ALL photos and videos contain the gooning, mugging expressions of the utterly joyous and unrestrained. Then, there's the last shot. It's the one that prompted a bemused and amused Vice Principal to call.
"Hi Fahey, I have some news, I'm sure you're going to find a bit amusing but here's what I've done about it... " One of the kids had dropped trou and called out, "Take a photo of my butt!" You generally don't have to ask that question twice. It is a Kodak moment. Mo - ment. Geddit? Geddit?! "Show me!" "hahaha!" "Hey, come and look at Mr 7's butt!" "Hahaha." "Show me!" And so it went on. Then someone who had wanted to see it, told the teacher. Probably a sensible, mature little girl.
So, Mr Vice Principal, a delightful, fair and decent man who all the kids like had a chat to our boys. "... you can't go around taking photos of each others bottoms! That's inappropriate." Followed by the perennial, "Just because someone says, 'Hey do this' - doesn't mean you should." etc etc. Mr VP and I had a little chuckle and we ended the call and all got on with our lives. We spoke to Mr 6 about at the end of the day. He was embarrassed - to have been told off - and said the lesson he'd learned was, "Not to take my camera to school." And you know, he's SIX, so we're happy with that. We told him we weren't mad at him, or angry. He'd done something that at the time would have seemed irresistibly funny but sometimes, you have to pick your moments and be aware of your surroundings. And encouraging anyone to drop their pants at school, isn't a good idea. He was quick to quip, "I didnt encourage him! He said, take a picture of my butt, so I did." We confiscated the camera for a while, he agreed to be more thoughtful and we went to soccer.
You'd think so... let's get back to the knock at the door. Two of Melbourne's finest boys in blue - although they were plain clothed asked, "Is this the Scott residence? Can we come in for a while, we need to talk..."
They asked, if there'd been a incident at school? "Oh I'm sure there are many, on a daily basis. If you'd seen some of the knuckle dragging mouth breathers who drop their kids off in the morning, it's not a question you'd ask, lightly. Oh specifically? With our youngest??"
How old is your son, one asks. Mounting defensive anger makes me say, "Six!" The cop rolls his eyes, "Six?" He looks at his partner. "He's six." "Yes, SIX." says his mother swallowing the urge to say, "What the actual fuckity fuck is wrong with this entire picture?!"
The cops were wonderful. Embarrassed to be there, apologetic. One quickly says, "It was not the school, who called." "Who did?! Who in their right mind thought this was a police matter?" "It was the mother of the boy." To say, I'm staggered is an understatment. To say my jaw has carpet burn, would be accurate, if we had carpet.
"I'm sorry, the woman with the neck tattoo and the blue hair extensions called YOU, gave you MY number and the correct spelling of my name?" One checks his notebook. "Ah, yes." "She called you, but didn't call me. She had my number, cause that's how YOU got it." "Right," one cop shifted awkwardly from foot to foot. "She did. Do you still have the camera?"
I look at them both. "It's here somewhere, let me go wake young Master Mapplethorpe."
Of course, we can't find the camera then. So we're rummaging through the house. The cops are making small talk. "Thanks for being so understanding... but given the nature of the photo... you know... How do you find the school? My nephews go there..." We find the camera. They switch it on. It opens on the last photo taken, the offending blurry half a plumbers crack. Not even the full Bart Simpson, Eat My Shorts. One puts his notepad away and says, "Ok, we've seen all we need to see here. We'll just delete it." It took some help. "Do you know how to do it?" They then surf through the other half dozen or so photos of silly faces and blurry action. The unwatchable video footage of yelling, laughing boys. Then they hit the 180 photos his older brother had taken at Healsvillle Sanctuary. The only bare asses there, are on the wombats.
"Look thanks so much for your time. We're sorry about this. Thanks again and sorry it's so late."
So you know, if you HAVE to have the cops visit about your sons, it's about the best possible visit to have. Save for them arriving to pin a bravery award on his chest.
I'll just say, "What the fuck, Neck Tatt Mum? What the actual wet fuck?" They're six and seven years old. Your kid has been over to our house before. We've been to each other's kids parties. They were at school! It wasn't a porn shoot. You couldn't pick up the same phone you used to call the cops and perhaps give ME a two second call if you were so concerned? What are you over compensating for?!
I'm not insensitive to the treatment of kids. To the vast array of boogeymen out there, ready to pluck our precious off the street. I'm neither naive or deluded. But I am utterly disappointed. Oh and not above totally throwing this back in your face when our kids hit their teens and go off the rails. Talk to ya later! I'm sure. Oh I'll talk to you then. I'm positive.
PS yup, I'm pretty chuffed with the Robert Mapplethorpe joke I made. I'm gonna go have a rest now that one was so nice. ;-)