Thursday, August 27, 2009

Youthful Offender

I ratted out my 2 year old grandson to the fuzz.

Here is what happened:
Kathie and I, along with our son, Kris, his wife, Jen, and their son, Owen, were in Portsmouth, NH last weekend for a wedding. Kathie and I were assigned the task of babysitting Owen while his parents attended the rehearsal dinner.

Owen is a good natured, happy little guy who is also highly inquisitive. To describe him as “active” is like describing a tornado as a “bit of a blow.”

Gramsy and Pop were barely settled into the kids’ beautiful room at the Portsmouth Hilton and Owen had already turned the microwave oven on often enough to foul up TV reception in a 12 block area, turned the air conditioning off and the heat on, and placed a 911 call.

It was the last activity that caused the problem. I was letting him play with the phone because, worst case scenario, he would probably get someone at the front desk. “Maybe you shouldn’t let him do that,” Kathie said. This sentence, I should point out, was enough to exonerate her from all of the subsequent consequences, as in “I told your father not to let him do that.”

As soon as Owen put the phone down, it rang. It was the front desk asking if everything was okay, because someone had placed a call to 911. Without batting an eye, I sold the little guy down the river. It would have been easy enough for me to take the rap by saying I thought I was having a spell, but feel better now, thank you; or I was trying to order a pizza but misdialed because I am legally blind. But, nooooooo. “My two year old grandson did it”, I sniveled. “I was watching him like a hawk, but being old and infirm, could not wrestle the phone from his vice-like grip in time.”

I could hear the contempt in the clerk’s voice as he said: “I’m glad things are alright, but you will be getting a visit from the police as a matter of procedure.”

I started to hyperventilate. I am not one of those people who take comfort in the presence of police. Having grown up in the city, I regard an approaching officer as trouble on the way. Not that I am a career criminal, but most previous encounters have ended with a citation.

Sure enough, ten minutes later there was a knock at the door. It was the fuzz. A handsome young officer who’s stony expression could not hide his pissed-offedness at being sent up five stories to run down an errant 911 call.

I had made up my mind to be a man about it this time and do the right thing: blame my wife.

“Is everything okay here?” the officer inquired. Owen approached and was eyeing him as if trying to decide whether to make a grab for his gun or some other do-dad dangling from his belt.

“He did it, officer,” I said pointing at the pint-size perp.

“How old is he?,” the cop asked. Now, it had not occurred to me that he might actually bust Owen. Then I recalled that they haul away nursery school children for pointing at their classmates and making bang-bang sounds; and prosecute kindergarteners for kissing each other, so why not lock-up a two year old for making a bogus 911 call?

“He isn’t two yet, and he is not potty trained,” I replied. I pointed this out because I was sure this must be the base line for youthful incarceration, since the powers that be do not want to deal with the public outrage that running up huge diaper bills might entail. I could picture John McCain waving a Huggie from the floor of the Senate inveighing against government “waste.”

The officer looked disappointed, but tipped his hat, wished us a pleasant evening and left.

“We better not tell Kris and Jen about this,” Kathie said. I disagreed because I didn’t want them blind-sided when his nursery school application is rejected due to prior criminal activity.

They were actually amused. “He loves to play with the phone,” my daughter-in-law said. “We were afraid something like this would happen and glad it happened on your watch and not ours,” she continued. “ Here’s what we do to prevent this,” she said as she disconnected the phone.

Why didn’t I think of that?