Do you know what the most vicious creature on earth is? The black mamba? The salt-water crocodile? No, people, I mean, nasty. Dig deeper.
It’s the teenaged girl! I shudder as I type this.
Seventh Grade: My daughter Jillian goes into the school’s bathroom. As soon as she’s in the stall, three girls come in, presumably to pee or perhaps preen at their reflections in the mirror…You know what they say about assuming…
One girl says, “You know that girl, Jillian? Well, Brian told me that her breath is bad because she licks her dog’s butt every night.” Shrill laughter.
Another girl says something even more obscene.
It goes on like this. And they don’t leave. They want to see my daughter’s face when she opens the door.
It’s all perfectly premeditated and wickedly orchestrated.
Later in the week, Jillian and her friend are walking home from school. They slip their backpacks off for a moment and sit on the sidewalk to finish their just-purchased ice creams. The bathroom girls grab Jillian’s backpack and throw it into oncoming traffic where a SUV flattens it.
And yes, I call the school principal. The girls’ parents have to pay for the backpack and all its contents, and each girl is required to write an apology note.
When I pick up the checks, I notice they are made out for more than the value discussed. When I mention it to the principal, she says I should consider the overage punitive damages.
What has my daughter done to deserve this treatment? Apparently, one of the girls likes a boy, and this boy has a crush on Jillian. That’s all it took. Luckily a hit to the parents’ wallets seemed to do the trick in ending their daughters’ reign of torture.
But the club of mean girls is always recruiting and expanding. The Proud Boys could learn a thing or two from these girls.
Mean Girl Behavior from Middle to High School
Twelfth Grade: I’m in a hotel two hours away from home. It’s the morning after my friend’s wake when my panic-stricken daughter calls me. “There’s a whole bunch of stuff in our yard! And there are people everywhere! And they’re knocking on our door!”
“Whoa, slow down. What or who is in our front yard?”
“There’s a garage sale happening in our front yard. Our front lawn is covered with old blankets. There’s broken toys and CD cases with no CDs! There’s old clothes and a rusty lawnmower!” she says. “And everyone thinks I speak Spanish.”
“Jillian, I need you to calm down,” I tell her. “I can’t understand what’s going on.”
“I told you. There’s a garage sale in our front yard. There’s a huge sign that says, “Nosotros hablamos español. It means, ‘We Speak Spanish.’”
“Evvy and Dina…”
I hear nothing after those two names, my daughter’s new tormentors. With those two names, I have a crystal-clear picture of what is happening.
“Mom, they must have done all this in the middle of the night. I don’t know what to do.”
“Call the police! And take pictures!”
She calls the police and then calls me back. “They say there is nothing they can do because I don’t have any evidence that it was them.”
I drive home as quickly as I can. As I pull into our neighborhood, I pass signs on every corner announcing the garage sale with our address on them. In large letters, it also says that we speak Spanish! I have to give their devious plan a 10 for creativity. When I pull into our driveway, I am shocked to see that our entire lawn is littered with garbage—pieces of a computer monitor, headless dolls, dirty sheets, threadbare clothes, empty boxes.
The weekend before, these same girls had toilet-papered our next-door neighbor’s house, thinking it was ours. I guess they figured out their mistake.
Jillian flies into my arms when I open my car door. I hug her. I hold her hand and we walk through the mess. I take pictures of everything. I pick up box after box and then start laughing.
“It’s not funny!” Jillian yelled.
“Look at their stupidity. Look at the boxes’ address labels.” Every single one has Evvy’s father’s name. “We got ‘em!”
We painstakingly pick up every piece of garbage and load it into the back of my truck, including the lawnmower, which is really heavy.
Sorry Isn’t Enough
I drive to Evvy’s house and unload everything on her front yard. I then pound on her door. Her father answers. His eyes take in the irate mother on his porch and his own lawn full of familiar items meant for the dump. I can read confusion on his face.
I tear into him, “Your daughter and her friend have gone too far this time. Their torturing of my daughter stops now. They created a yard sale for us, with all of your garbage.” I shove a box at him. “She left your name and address all over her crime scene.”
“I don’t know what to say. Why would she do this?” I didn’t know if he was talking to me or himself. “I am so sorry.”
“Sorry isn’t enough. My husband died of cancer a year ago. It’s just the two of us and we’re barely hanging on. I have filed a report with the police.” I actually hadn’t, but he didn’t need to know that.
“Please, please. I promise you that I will handle it. I am so sorry.” Unsure of what to do next, he asked, “Can I write you a check for, I don’t know, like pain and suffering?”
“Yes, you can make it out to my daughter. Do you need a pen? And you also need to remove your lawnmower from the back of my truck. I nearly threw my back out lifting it up there.”
He looks at my truck bed, “Actually, that’s not mine. It’s probably…” One look at me, and he quickly says, “Sure, no problem.”
At home, I hand Jillian the check for $200.00. On the memo, it says, “I’m really sorry.”
The money didn’t alleviate the unnecessary pain or embarrassment Jillian endured, but it did make us feel good to donate it to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We were able to turn something hurtful into something helpful.
When Jillian, Evvy, and Dina graduate and go off to their separate colleges, all the mean girl stuff comes to an end.
Five years later, Jillian is a successful writer and editor for a prominent digital media company when she receives a correspondence from Dina. Dina is hoping Jillian will publish a story she has written. There is no apology or acknowledgement of past wrongdoing, just an email asking for a favor, “since they used to know each other.”
Jillian sends her back a form letter that reads: “Dear Writer: Your work is not right for us. We wish you luck in placing it elsewhere.”