September 16, 2020

re-defining zoom bombs, and threatening the friendly version

After the first full day of e-learning (when Ed had not snuck off to college and left everyone wondering about his whereabouts), I told the three high school kids that I felt there should be a competition to, you know, keep things interesting during this dang e-learning time.  

Me:  Why not have a contest to see whose parents can come up with the funniest Zoom bomb during their kid's class?  

I even demonstrated me walking up behind a kid with a computer and hollering out to the teacher 'Oh, hey - just have to go downstairs to get something' - followed by the fake-descending-stair-mime thing with no actual stairs.

Various responses from my offspring who apparently don't love me anymore included:  You're dumb.  What?  Stop talking.  Did you mean to say that out-loud?  Why do you think you're funny?

Why are dad jokes funny, but moms have to shoulder the burden of sucking?  And, just so we're clear:  "Not sure what goes on over there, but my kids' friends think I'm hilarious" is not an acceptable comment.

Side note aka selfless plug so you know I do have a sense of humor that my children used to enjoy:  I once went outside a restaurant pretending I was just going to the ladies' room.  I left the four youngest sitting in a booth at the window having milkshakes after a particularly grueling Irish dancing class.  They were surprised when I appeared outside the window and then waved to them and proceeded to do the going downstairs mime.  They died laughing.  

Timeless?  Apparently not.  

A moment later, Ed mentioned that he saw Tank's 'thing' on Zoom.  "Classic.  That was so funny.  Well done."

Mimi:  (chuckling)  

Me:  (Glancing back and forth bewildered)  Wait, what did you do Tank?  Someone show me, or tell me.

They refused.  Awckk!  They were purposely leaving me out of the loop.  They swore up and down it was nothing bad, just funny.  

I do not have photos of my kids e learning, but this is typical Tank while we were in MI.  Ed is in the far left corner near our beach blankets.  Coach and 3 youngest playing Slammo in the background.  We did NOT pack an umbrella.  Some beach goer put this umbrella up and then maybe went for a swim.  Tank pulled one of our chairs under it and continued to alert us of how comfortable he was.  The real umbrella person NEVER returned, and I half wondered if the person couldn't find his/her umbrella because he/she was looking for one WITHOUT anyone sitting under it and Tank's presence was throwing him/her off. 

Anyway, Tank had a small group of his closest buddies come and hang out in the basement a bit after my zoom contest suggestion fail.  He rarely has friends over, claims there are too many people in the house.  Fears I might greet them, or God forbid engage them in conversation.  

He insists his friends think I'm weird, etc.  Moi?

His buddies were milling around on the driveway.  I could see them from the snack-bar/mini island in the kitchen where I was set up with my laptop.  Ed was still home, and he was like "Tank, why are your friends outside and you are just laying on the couch in the living room on your phone?"  Before Ed started scolding Tank, I was on my feet.  I threw open the garage door and invited them in.

His friend:  Oh, we texted him.  We were just waiting.

Me:  I know texting is the new doorbell, but you can just come in.  Tank is apparently laying around -too lazy to get up and open the door.

A few minutes later I got an email from the high school principal, Ms. Lypp.  This woman is the best principal.  She was alerting parents of an incident at the school.  An 8th grader from a feeder school Zoom bombed a class that day.  He shouted racial slurs and then mooned a Zoom class.  Police were involved and they were able to identify the kid (birthmark on his butt? I shouldn't joke because the verbal assault was horrible, but the butt part, couldn't resist).  His parents were contacted.  

Well, that was AWFUL.  I was glad to know that they nabbed the kid.

But I was taken aback - I wanted to make sure my kids knew I was NOT suggesting that parents ACTUALLY Zoom bomb classes.  It hadn't occurred to me that it could take the form of a frowned upon, delinquent kind of behavior. 

I thought I created it, for God's sake - well not really, because who hasn't seen the funny clips of people in serious Zoom meetings when a family member does something dorky in the background?  I didn't know kids were getting a code and then showing up on the internet in a Zoom class that they weren't supposed to be in.  I had only suggested that parents sneak up behind their student while wearing an Elmo mask or doing the stairs mime or demonstrate severe bed-head or something silly, not MEAN or HORRIBLE.

I tip-toed down into the basement with my laptop in hand.  Tank and his buddies were sprawled on the sectional, the beanbag chair, and the floor.  From my vantage point on the stairs, I could look down at all of them.

Tank:  (eye-rolling because I was in his friend zone.)

Me:  Tank, I just got an email from Ms. Lypp.  She wanted to let me know that there was an issue with Zoom bombing today.  Your name was mentioned.  (dramatic pause while Tank shot up from his reclined position and jerked his head in the direction of each friend).

Now who was bewildered?

Me:  So, do you have something to tell me?

Tank:  WHAT?  Are you being serious right now?  I didn't do anything bad!

Me:  (waited for him to look back at all of his friends again, and then I switched from my stern-mom-face to a huge smile that only his friends could see, followed by bicep flexing)

Tank's followers:  (rolling around on the floor laughing)

Tank:  Whatever.  Shut-up.  I knew I couldn't get in trouble for what I did.  Duh.  

This is the kid who refused to take improv classes last summer.  I believe he will be the next Chris Farley.  

They still haven't shown me video clips of Tank entertaining his classes, but this is NOT over.  I have other sources.  I will report back.  


Anonymous said...

For what it’s worth, there are a whole group of us out here on the internet that think you’re hilarious. And, entertaining enough to come visit a few times a week. Your kids are outvoted 😁
If you get ahold of the video of Tank cutting up in class, I hope we get to see too! The suspense!!!

Kari said...

Wait, so the person sitting under the umbrella is your son? And that isn't your umbrella?

I was a hoot to my kids at certain ages. I think it was when Anna turned 13 that I became mortifying and Ella is turning that corner right about now.

I did a stage show when Anna was 13 called Listen to Your Mother and she was in the audience and I thought the whole time she would be mortified. I wasn't as worried about the 500 people in the audience as I was about HER. :)

Teenagers are the worst critics.

I got a kick out of your walking down the stairs outside of the restaurant. :)

Ernie said...

anonymous - Ha, thanks! My kids are a tough crowd. For sure. It is hard to be considered funny when you live with Tank, the humor king. I will keep working on the Tank video. I can usually get Mini on my side. Plus I make a video for the kids when they graduate and I think I can convince her to share it so that I can include it in the video. I just don't get all the 'stuff' these days - so was it on snapchat and it has already disappeared? I've got my work cut out for me. Stay tuned.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Your kids don't know good humor right now...they will come back around to loving the Ernie Show. WE think you're hilarious, so there. I wish I could do the walking down the stairs move, but I'm already near the bottom of the stairs. LOL
We really need to see what Tank did on the zoom call.
I'm laughing at him stealing/Borrowing the umbrella spot. Surely the person lost their way seeing somone under it. I've come out of the water in a different spot and lost all perspective as to where I was sitting moments before.

Beth Cotell said...

My kids dont get my sense of humor either. Oh well, their loss because I'm HILARIOUS! You need to tell your kids that the first one who shows you video proof or tells you what Tank did gets $10! Bribery works wonders!

Gigi said...

I agree with Beth - bribery (either cash or baked goods) usually works.

Ernie said...

Kari - Exactly - that guy under the umbrella is Tank. Not our umbrella. He pulled our chair under there and the owner of the umbrella never came back. Like for 5 hours! I think a guy sitting under his umbrella made it no longer look like his umbrella since he was most likely alone. Agreed, teenagers are the worst . . . critics, right - is that what we were talking about? I got sidetracked. ;) My outside the restaurant walk was kind of hilarious. I have my moments, damn it.

Suz - at the bottom of the stairs made me chuckle aloud and my e-learners were like 'What?' I assume they would not appreciate the humor in what I was reading, so there - no sharing. I had kind of forgotten about the Tank antics that I want a copy of. Mini was mad at me for a week, so I might be able to get her to send me a copy now that she is speaking to me again. That will be in a forthcoming post. Everything here is on a delay, in case you haven't noticed. I could write something EVERY day if I had time and my readers had the interest. There is always something - so this zoom thing happened at least 2 weeks ago. I am back on the case my friend. Tank and his comfort under someone else's umbrella for like half of a day killed me. Poor umbrella owner was most likely confused, "Wait did I leave the umbrella in the car?"

Beth - I am not above paying for Tank footage. I sit for a teacher at the school currently (baby twins' mom). She has never had Tank in a class but she said she so wishes she did. All the teachers talk about him. Um, not in the 'star student' way. She was cry-laughing at pickup yesterday describing the time a few days ago when she helped out in a class that he was in and how everyone was just sitting there like lumps and Tank entered the zoom and was all 'Hey all, so how's everyone?' full of pizzazz and goofiness, fake let's-do-this-math-thing energy.

Gigi- Dang, I made them pancakes this morning because I wasn't babysitting today and I should have used that in my 'give-me-the-footage' plight. The quest continues.

Pat said...

I agree! There are a bunch of us out here that 5ink you are hilarious. I enjoy your blog so much - I (only) had 4 kids but I can truly identify with so many of your stories. Although I think I should get extra points for having 3 boys in 3 years and being on my own with them on for 7 years. I believe I heard ‘stop talking mom’ many times. It’s only funny now! Believe it or not someday you’ll miss all this craziness. Two of mine live across the country and the other two a couple of hours away. Things are quiet here now- until the grandchildren come to visit!

Ernie said...

Pat - I so appreciate your generous compliment. Really, that makes my day. I grew up in a family that competed for laughter and since my sisters were humorless/quiet - that left my brothers and I. Guess who always came up with the most laughs? In my Irish Catholic family? Not the girl. It has been quiet recently with only 4 home most of the time - well, the days are oddly loud with my babysitting and virtual learning. I do expect I will miss it one day - but I have a million hours of videos and stacks of pictures so I can relive it. Or I will come here and re-read our adventures. 3 boys in 3 years does deserve some kind of award - special seating in a restaurant, a medal of honor, dessert of the month club for life, reserved parking wherever you go. Hmm, this should be a thing - and to do it solo. Hats off, Pat!

Bibliomama said...

That umbrella thing is HILARIOUS. And I think it's mainly kids' job to pretend their parents aren't funny even though we clearly are. Although there was an enjoyable moment when I drove Eve and some of her friends around on a field trip with her music teacher a couple of years ago, and after the teacher said to Eve "I really like your Mom, she's funny - oh sorry, that's probably really embarrassing to you" and Eve said "uh, no, I think she's really funny too". Take THAT, teacher with outdated mother/daughter stereotypes.

Ernie said...

Ali - the umbrella thing, as with many of Tank's doings, was so funny. I love that Eve told her teacher that she finds you funny. Mini will defend me to her brothers: "Guys, Mommy is really funny." They boo and hiss at her, but I know when they spend time with my sisters that they recognize how lucky they are to have the funny sister as a mom.