16 September 2019

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: Never Say Never

Raising children is always an adventure, but today I’m offering some cautionary advice.  NEVER say never.  “My child will -never-…”  “My child would -never-…”  “My child will -never- say/do/have…”  Please!  I promise, it will bite you in the arse.

None of my boys were bad.  None of them were Angels, either.  They were just active, rambunctious, imaginative “boys” in every sense of the word.

I made the mistake of saying, repeatedly as they were growing up, that I would never bail any of them out of jail.  That’s a “never” I held my guns to, and a “never” I lived to regret.

Thing 1 decided to go out with some of his friends and party, as kids are wont to do.  He was right around twenty at the time.  There was some drinking involved (not including the driver, at least they got that part right), and they stopped at a Dollar Store to get some snacks.  

They were all laughing it up, joshing around in the store, purchased their snacks and walked out to the car.  Small problem, Thing 1 was joking around so much that he forgot to pay – for a small bag of Funyuns.  

The manager followed them out, approached the car and asked about the Funyuns.  Thing 1, also known as dumb a%* on occasion, looked down, saw the Funyuns bag in his hand, and handed them to the manager.  All’s good that ends well.  At least one would think so.

The manager also got the tag number of the car and called it in.  The driver was sober for a reason – he was on probation.  

I really am trying to make a long story short here.

Manager calls the Sherriff department, an investigator calls the driver (aka owner of the car) and pressures the driver to give the names and numbers of his passengers that evening, under threat of having his probation revoked if he didn’t.  Investigator, with passenger information in hand, calls each of the passengers to inform them that if they didn’t come in and talk to him that the driver’s probation would be revoked.  Of course, being good friends, each and every one of them went in, and each and every one of them told the truth.

Houston, we had a problem!  All the stories matched.  Thing 1 did not pass go, did not collect $200, and went directly to jail.  Bless his heart, he admitted to walking out of the Dollar Store with a bag of Funyuns – it didn’t even matter that he surrendered them to the manager.
That’s when I started getting the calls.  “Mama, come get me.”  “Mama, PLEASE get me out of here!”  The bail was set at $800 (over $1.28 bag of Funyuns), $80 bond, and I stuck to my guns.  I swore I’d NEVER bail one of my children out of jail, and I didn’t.

After about 2 ½ weeks, his buddies scrounged up enough money to bail him out and I went to pick him up from the jail.  He ended up with community service and probation (which is a money-grubbing joke in its own right).  I really can’t remember how long his sentence was.

I just remember his $80 bond would have been MUCH cheaper than my $230 (collect calls) phone bill.  And he didn’t even get to eat the Funyuns.

- Bess Tuggle 

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