13 August 2007


You 've heard the stories. A toddler who can barely walk, talk or identify an apple -- seized by an innate instinct -- dials 911 and saves his/her mother's life when she suddenly collapses.

This is not one of those stories.

Perhaps it's the story a young female police officer in Scituate expected to uncover when she appeared in the doorway of the beachhouse on Sunday, for she appeared disappointed when she found the mama (me) completely upright, waltzing around in a beach towel with a bag of Stacy’s Pita Chips.

I was startled by the doorbell but even more so by the sight of the police woman in the doorframe.

Oh, crap. Did someone leave a beer can on the seawall?

"Can I help you?" I asked.

"Someone called 911? "

"Uh, no."

"Uh. Yes. Yes. someone did," she said, annoyed but pleasant.

*Flash of Paulie playing with old rotary phone upstairs that I thought was out of use.*

"Oh...wait a minute," I said, backing up. "My son was playing with an old phone upstairs, I thought it was unplugged."

"Well it wasn't. The dispatcher said she heard a little kid on the end, but we still have to come, you know, in case," she said.

Yes -- in case the mother was unconscious and unable to save herself and her child had the werewithal to dial 911 and in turn saved her life, thus making the national news...

"Right," I said.


" 37."

"No, your son's age," she said (the "you dumb blonde" in silent direct address at the end of the sentence.)

"He's 3."

"I’m supposed to give the lecture about dialing 911. Do you think he’ll understand," she asked.

"You can try. At the very least, he’ll be excited to see a police officer."

“Ok then,” she said, barely tolerating me.

In the living room, a more innocuous scene could not have been staged. Baby Jack was rolling his roly poly self back and forth on the carpet. Paulie was right next to him, on his belly, playing with his trains. A pregnant Auntie, a VitaminWater resting upon her belly, watched the Sox game on the couch next to proud papa Bags.

“Woah,” Paulie said, sitting up as the officer walked into the room.

“Paul, 9-1-1 is only for emergencies, OK? Only dial those numbers if there is an emergency," she said.

*Awestruck* Staring.*

"My Spiderman ice cream fell on the ground today," he said.

Once we established that that was no reason to dial 911, everything returned to normal.

Now we have our "my kid dialed 911" story. Hopefully it is the last, though one day, I'll probably be choking on an Oreo, Paulie will hear the officer's words in his head and decide it would be less troublesome to just let me die.


BAGS said...

Not sure if you caught Auntie punching me in the arm when I had started giggling (inappropriately) because an officer was standing in the living room lecturing Paulie on the appropriate use of emergency phone services.

MLXC said...

I don't know. The Spiderman ice cream falling on the ground seems like an emergency to me, even if Paulie had somewhat of a delayed reaction.

Ernie said...

Almost did the same my first day in Brisbane trying to call the US. Instead of dialing 00 11 I dialed 000 which is the AU version of the US 999 emergency system!

Anonymous said...

KJ, Where was Vito through this whole incident? Doesn't he mess with the phone sometimes

sb said...

Great story, KJ. How could that officer be mad at Paulie after hearing the Spidey ice cream tragedy?

One time G.O.G. dialed 911 in Wootown b/c he thought his car was stolen from the front of our house. But we actually just hid it on him down the street, and came clean when he dialed 911. When the dispatcher called us back we played dumb and said we meant to dial 411.

jal said...

Great story KJ - it'll be interesting to see if he remembers it years from now. Reminds me of the time that our North End Apt. was robbed. It was a duplex and I had been home for sometime and was upstairs chatting on the phone with that weeks fling when my roommate came home, went downstairs to her bedroom and found everything in her room gone, i.e. jewelery, walkman, stereo, camera, and footprints on her bed. She ran upstairs, forced me off the phone, dialed and then I heard her say "What city!!?!!?! I've been robbed!!!" It was a very John Waters moment. Then she called her mother who upon being informed that her daughter had been robbed said "Is that it?"

Anonymous said...

"My spiderman ice cream fell on the ground today," is the finest non sequitur that's ever been spoken or written...
Perhaps, only to be rivaled by a drunken friend back at the hotel after a wedding, on being asked to calm down by security: "Yeah know, I won that limbo contest!"