I was at the pool with the kids when the phone rang. It was a man’s voice. An older man. He asked to speak with “Efram Geller,” mispronouncing Efram with a long e, like “Ethan.”
“Um,” I say. “Efram is eight years old and doesn’t usually get calls on my cell phone.”
“Oh,” says the man. “Well he signed up for information about the Grand Canyon University, and I was calling to talk more about it.”
I asked Efram if he had anything to do with this and his face lit up. “Yes! I was on the computer (which already has parental controls and a time’s-up function, which limits him to 30 minutes) and something popped up! It said: ARE YOU SMART FOR YOUR AGE?” He looked at me and shrugged and then said, “I kind of am, so I clicked on it and gave them your phone number.”
I quietly asked him never to do this again… hoping to keep the whole incident under wraps, out of earshot of a certain agent provocateur, but Bennett overheard and was both thrilled and immeasurably proud. You see, he’s usually the pioneer of pranks, and now his greatest pupil had successfully struck out on his own.
(Success, by the way, is pitifully easy to attain, because success = bugging/annoying/inconvenience me. Yup, that’s the whole magic formula.)
The next day the phone rings again. Another male voice.
“Hello! I’d like to speak to Benoit Geller, please.” Benoit is one of Bennett’s favorite aliases.  (You might also want to watch out for Benito and Benjiro…)
Turns out Bennett signed up for information from a Devry University. I promptly told the man that not only was he eight years too early, but that I was pretty certain he didn’t want this kid wandering his university’s hallowed halls. “Trust me,” I said. “This kid is trouble.”
“Listen kids,” I told the boys. “This has to stop. And even if you were planning on continuing this little prank, could you at least pick schools I’ve heard of?”
We’re taking this circus side-show family of ours on the road shortly. Or as I’m currently thinking of it: We are taking our summer-home-school-experiment on a colossal field trip. Because I haven’t suffered enough local embarrassment, or because I truly have it in for myself, I’m off to see what the French think of my children. (Bennett’s brilliant suggestion as we are packing to go — “Let’s leave all the toilets un-flushed so it smells really bad when we get back.”)
Stay tuned for more adventures… perhaps I’ll retitle this: c’est le coin, nous faire pipi dans…

Posted in children, Summer on Jul 29, 2012