Today my kids asked if they could go to jail. Just like that. Nothing else added, no clarification, just “Can we go to jail?”
My first reaction was, sure, we can go to jail. Followed by a quick look around to see who may have overheard this very strange request by a 6 year old.
I must have been in Jr High School when I noticed that being a child of Law Enforcement officer made you different from other children. My dad got a job working as a corrections officer for the small town jail when I was in 6th grade. I was still new to the town, so I didn’t know my way around very well. I asked the teacher to give me directions to where my dad worked after the science fair that year. It went something like this:
Me: “Mrs. Teach where is the jail? I am supposed to meet my dad there”
(Now keep in mind we are new to this town, no one really knows much about us yet)
Mrs. Teach: horrified, shocked, and stunned “Why do you need to go the jail? Does your mom know? Oh I am so sorry! I had no idea!”
Me: very confused “Um I told him I would walk there after the science fair because my mom couldn’t pick me up.”
Mrs. Teach: “Oh you poor dear, I can take you home if you need me too”
Me: “No my dad said he can take me home.”
A few moments of silence, it took me a moment to get that she thought my dad was IN jail!
Me: “He’s a jailer there; he gets off work in 30 minutes”
Mrs. Teach: red faced “Ohh! I thought. . . .I’m sorry . . . Its three blocks that way then turn on 12th”
I got a kick out of it in 6th grade! My dad told me I needed to start with him being a corrections officer, and then ask where the jail was. I guess on some level it embarrassed him. He didn’t want people to think he was a criminal in jail. I never did understand that until my own children talked about going to jail like it was no big deal. We do it all the time. The truth is we are there a lot to see T-Rex and it has become a second home in some ways.
So it’s off to jail we go. The bystanders with their looks of shame, shock, and disgust can just go about thinking what they want. Chances are they will see T-Rex in his professional role soon enough.