Come on...admit it. Some of you parents of teens are thinking to yourselves, Hmm, sometimes putting my kid in jail doesn't sound like such a bad idea.
Before you get carried away with fantasies of how to teach your teenager a lesson, you should know that this "jail" I'm referring to was a fundraising ploy, part of the Cancer Relay for Life in which I just participated.
I'd never witnessed this event before, and it was phenomenal. I don't know how many different booths I saw at this 24-hour walking event (because cancer never rests, so why should we?), but each booth represented a different type of cancer and included a variety of clever ways to raise money (apart from the pre-walk pledges and the abundance of baked goods for sale).
One such trick was a cardboard prison, fashioned by a group of teenagers, with bars and all. For a minimum fee of one dollar, you could have anyone you wanted arrested and put in jail. Bail was posted at twice the jailing rate. My friend, Jennifer, liked this idea very much, especially since she had spent the morning locking horns with her 16-year-old daughter over what Jen perceived as adolescent nonsense.
My friend turned her focus across the park to her daughter's team booth. She then turned to the young man/jailer, who knew her daughter, and firmly stated, "Go arrest Britt." Jen placed one dollar on the table and the jailer obeyed.
But Britt would not cooperate. We watched from across the field as the jailer seemed to be explaining what was happening. Britt appeared to be compliant, but when she turned on her heel halfway to the prison booth, the jailer (a strapping, high-school lad) swiftly scooped Britt up and threw her over his shoulder in a fire-rescue stance. Resigned to her punishment, Britt stopped fighting and accepted her fate.
As Jen took a picture of her daughter behind bars and muttered, "Sweet justice," Britt pouted playfully. But when Jen and I proceeded to wave good-bye and tell Britt we had to continue our walking rounds (it was our shift of the 24-hour relay), Britt tried to escape, and the jailer had to block her with his hulking frame.
"She's not really upset, is she?" I asked Jen, a bit worried for the punishment she would have to tolerate when the relay was over.
Jen raised her eyebrows at me. "She'll get over it."
The good news for Britt was that her incarceration lasted no more than ten minutes. The good news for Jen was that she got the cathartic opportunity to put her daughter in jail for the crime of emotional distress. And there really wasn't any bad news since the cause earned a whopping $3.00 for the whole ordeal.
What catharsis have you experienced lately?