I know this mom who’s a writer. A YA writer. And she has a teenager.
One morning, this mom had a son with a sore ass cheek and hip—the kid had wiped out on an icy ski hill. The bruise was big, under the cheek and on the right hip, and the kid’s complaints were mighty. There was much begging about staying home from school. There was much wailing about P.E. class. There was moping and foot-dragging. But she packed him off anyway.
Before he left, she told her son to just speak up if it hurt. The teachers would understand, wouldn’t they? He could ask to stand in the back of class, if it hurt to sit. Etc. Etc. The kid screeched like a pterodactyl. Pterodactyls don’t ask for help, nor do they like interfering mothers.
Image comes from here.
After the kid left, the mom had a bright idea. In the Internet age, teachers are only a click away, which is bad for teachers (which she knows, because she is also a teacher) but good for parents who are a little bit concerned. The mom composed a cheeky note (ha ha!) to explain to the PE teacher that the kid might be moving slow that day.
The kid’s PE teacher had previously been a nice lady who might be kind about a sore ass cheek, so the mom mistakenly addressed the e-mail to the nice lady. Then she realized the semester had changed, and so had the teacher. She re-addressed the e-mail and sent it off, wondering why she knew the name of her kid’s new PE teacher.
Approximately ten seconds after she’d sent the e-mail, the mom’s brain fed her the connection: her son’s P.E. teacher was the head football coach.
The mom fainted dead away.
This mom had violated about 10,000,000 teenage rules. First up was the Teenage Man Code (Sec 23: Do Not Admit Your Ass Is In Pain), and she had done so in front of the High Priest of the Man Code. And very soon, that High Priest would have her son in his clutches. Courtesy of her misguided solicitousness, her kid could be in for the P.E. class from hell. He could possibly die by the hand of her stupidity.
She had also just become a hilariously bad plot point in a YA novel.
So the mom tried to use her Jedi mind powers to blow up the coach’s e-mail account. Mind powers on vacation. She tried to zap her son with a magic lightning bolt and make him invisible. Magic lightning bolts on backorder.
So she prayed: Please, God, do not let Mr. X read his e-mail. If he does, please strike Mr. X down with a plague so they have to find a sub. Then please let the class play checkers. Thank you.
The kid suffered through P.E. with his busted ass, then came home sick after lunch (not because of the busted ass, but the sickness explained a lot about the intensity of the earlier protest). She assumed the coach must not have read the e-mail because the kid didn’t lose his shit at her about a murderous P.E. class.
She’d dodged a bullet. A bullet the size of Kentucky.
But no one knew about her mistake. She was safe.
Kirstin Cronn-Mills is the author of The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. The double awareness she has to hold while parenting a teenager and writing YA is beginning to make her head explode.