I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, particularly today — I’ll tell you why in a minute — my kid, the lovely Fangette, could work for the CIA. Yes. I know. Most adolescents are secretive, manipulative, and conniving, but mine takes these qualities, particularly the first one, to a whole new level. A whole new level of stupid, as it turns out.
My journey to this conclusion began with a text. A text in which she revealed, IN CAPS, that her field hockey coach’s BF (boyfriend for those of you not in the know) was arrested over the weekend and “THE WEDDING IS OFF!” (Actually she began with “THE WEDDING IS OFF!” and meandered down to the arrest — we will have a conversation when she gets home about burying the lead — among other things!) She tells me to “GOOGLE IT” if I want to know more. Well, of course, I want to know more. But, even I, the “Oh, so, technologically-savvy 21st Century Mom” that I am (NOT!), knows that putting “Joe” into a Google search will probably result in lots of links to coffee (like putting in “John” will yield more search results for toilets than, I would imagine, anyone has the time or the energy for). Hey, give me some credit, at least I know THAT much.
Following several follow-up texts in which I, ultimately, resorted to SHOUTING things like, “WHAT IS HIS LAST NAME?”, “WHAT WAS HE ARRESTED FOR?” “WAS SHE IN ON IT, TOO?”, Fangette finally coughed up the information I needed to get a Google search going that would not result in coffee-related links. Oy! Vey!
My Google search revealed that he was arrested for a sex offense. I felt terrible for the field hockey coach because, well, that’s just awful, isn’t it? The article that I brought up did not give much in the way of detailed information — only what he is accused of doing and where the arrest occurred. So, I text my daughter back, saying “OMG! I feel so bad for [insert field hockey coach’s name HERE]. What a terrible thing for her to have to go through!”
The lovely Fangette texts me back with “WHY? WHY WOULD YOU FEEL BAD FOR HER?” I assume that this is just typical teenager judgemental bullshit. So, I reiterate by saying, “Because that’s a horrible thing to find out about your boyfriend.” Now, here’s where the whole thing takes a turn to the astounding — Fangette texts me back and says, “SHE DIDN’T JUST FIND OUT. SHE KNEW. HE’S A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER!”
This, of course, implies more than just the coach having intimate knowledge of her boyfriend’s sexual and, as it turns out, criminal history. It implies that Fangette KNEW that he was a registered sex offender. At this point I told myself that teenagers are often in possession of the wrong information. So, I did what any normal person in this situation would do. I re-Googled his last name and brought up the rest of the links that the Google search returned.
Oh. My. God. I was astounded. Not only was this guy arrested this weekend for masquerading as a police officer and forcing a 25-year-old girl to have sex with him (he’s 40, by the way), but he spent two years in jail on a similar charge. TWO YEARS IN JAIL.
Once I had both composed myself and found a Klonopin, I texted Fangette back. “OMG. I just read that he served a two-year sentence in PRISON for doing something of a similar nature. Did you know this? Or did you just know that he was a sex offender? Also, how did you know whatever it is you know and when did you know this?”
Her response? “IDK when I found out exactly, sometimes this past season, I guess. [Friend’s name]’s cousin is friends with [coach’s name] and [friend’s name] told me. Please don’t make a big thing out of this, Mom. I’ll feel terrible if [coach’s name] finds out that I knew.”
“Really? Why do you feel bad? Because you told people? I hope you told everyone on the team! Though I suspect your reasons for ‘sharing’ the information were less altruistic than I would hope, but still, sharing it was a good thing. We’ll talk about it later. ”
Which, we will. And at length. At greater length than I suspect she will want to, but discuss it with me she will.
I have been, for the last hour, or so, rehearsing how to frame this conversation. Specifically, I have been trying to figure out a way to keep the word “stupid” out of the conversation altogether. Because she’s not stupid. She really isn’t. She was, after all, smart enough to hide this information from me for quite a long time. She may, in fact, never have revealed anything to me about this guy had his arrest over the weekend not been gossip-worthy.
In the midst of writing this post, I discovered that I was operating under a mistaken assumption. It turns out that Fangette did NOT choose to share the fact that this guy is a registered sex offender with her teammates. Whether or not she knew he had done time, I do not know.
I’m going to try very, very hard to have compassion and to employ tact and grace when I am able to sit down with Fangette this afternoon. My fear is that the word “stupid” may find it’s way into the conversation. I hope not, but I fear that it will. If you have a moment, say a little prayer for me, would you? A prayer that asks whomever it is you believe in to keep me from saying anything stupid. Thanks.