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."
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.
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.