Sunday, January 27, 2013

How not to deal with 911

My son and his friend learned a valuable less in how the emergency phone system works.
It was not really a planned lesson, but one borne of youth and the inability to think before acting.
As is a daily ritual, Junior and his friend came to my house during their school lunch break to feast on the bounty that is my fridge. I know his friend has a home full of food, I have seen it, but he still eats at my house almost as much as I do.
I always know when Junior and his friend, who I have come to call 'The Stomach,' have been home because there is nary a scrap of food left and the dog is sitting in front of my home with a sign that says ‘Will bark for food.’
There are also dirty dishes scattered throughout the kitchen, indicating either an isolated typhoon hit my home, or Junior and The Stomach came home for lunch.
But this is not about teens eating more food than a swarm of stoned locusts; this is about how three numbers can change your entire day.
After Junior and The Stomach had consumed enough food to feed the Norwegian army, they were bored, and when teens are bored something dumb will happen.
In this case there was a Strawberry Shortcake phone sitting by the computer. It was an active Strawberry Shortcake phone, but The Stomach did not know this before he picked up the receiver and dialed 9-1-1 for no particular reason.
It was immediately answered by the 9-1-1 dispatch, and when The Stomach learned the phone was live he panicked and slammed the receiver down.
This is where the lesson in how the emergency system works was learned. Whenever there is a 9-1-1 hang up, the operator calls back to ensure the caller is not in danger.
Junior picked up the phone and stammered that his five-year-old brother (which he does not have) had accidentally dialed the number. He then provided his name to the dispatcher before he hung up and they both bolted for school.
Meanwhile the dispatcher decided to send a patrol car to my house just to make sure everything was above board.
The officer knocked on the front door, and when no one answered he decided to check the backdoor where he found a house key still in the lock.
Thinking something might be amiss; the officer used the key to open the door, which set off the alarm prompting the alarm company to phone me at work to tell me my alarm just went off.
Hearing the alarm beep, the constable proceeded to close the door, lock it and hide the key in a nearby planter. He then decided to visit Junior at school to find out exactly what is going on.
You can imagine the look on Junior's face when he was called to the office and arrived to see a cop standing there talking to the principal.
He explained the incident to the officer while his classmates were heading to class and he became the buzz of the school for his interaction with the fuzz at the school.
Meanwhile, I am dealing with the alarm company that, as far as we all knew, had been alerted to a burglar in my castle.
So I talked to my very understanding boss and I took off from work to head home and survey the damage. While I was driving home and imagining every worst-case scenario possible, the constable had contacted the alarm company and told them he accidentally set off the alarm.
The alarm company tried to get in touch with me, but I was blasting down the highway with visions of a hoard of post-Apocalyptic mutant psychopaths rummaging through my belongings.
I pulled up the house and see Junior and The Stomach sitting on the front step, looking rather sheepish. They explained what happened, thus ending another day in the ongoing adventures of parenthood.

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