Parents concerned about silly little ninja 1

Another essay from the old S.C.A.B. days. I’m surprised to find I swore more back then, but was funnier without it, and in either case, was funnier than I am now. Okay, that last bit’s not surprising.


7th Grader Totally a Ninja Now
Could Kill you with These Two Fingers.

by Brendan and Thirty-Thirty.

Boy Faces Juvenile Hall for Spitball
.c The Associated Press
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (AP) – A 13-year-old boy faces as much as eight years in juvenile hall for hitting another boy with a spitball.

Jeffrey Figueroa was waiting in line for a gym locker on his first day at Walnut Creek Intermediate School in September when he rolled a gum wrapper around his finger, put it in his mouth and spit it out. The wrapper hit a fellow seventh grader in the eye, and the boy had to have surgery.

Jeffrey said he apologized to the boy. But he was charged with felony counts of battery and mayhem, and last week he was convicted, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office said.

The convictions carry up to eight years in a California Youth Authority facility.

World stupidity took another step forward this week, when a boy was incarcerated for throwing a spitball. That’s right. A spitball. And while it landed in his classmate’s eye and necessitated surgery, that’s still way more punishment than any kid deserves for using a weapon made of paper and water.

Now that he’s been convicted of battery and mayhem, he can go to prison for up to eight years. Or to put it another way, the guy who shot the Pope has been in prison for two decades. Which means if the state of California gives him the full sentence, it’s saying that his vicious assault with a spitball is about half as bad as shooting down the Pope. The other kid isn’t named, but since it’s a safe bet he’s not A) an old man, B) the religious leader of millions, or C) spreading a message of love, his parents are either named Bush or just over-reacting. Because even if he was permanently blinded, and Jeffrey Figueroa was his daily tormentor, you’d still have a hard time figuring out how that should send Jeff to prison for 8 years.

I know tensions are high, and when your child needs emergency eye surgery, you want some payback. But that’s why America is full of trigger-happy lawyers. Don’t send the poor kid to jail for a decade; just take away his college fund. You and your one-eyed kid deserve some money. But all you’re going to do by pressing charges is look like a jerk. I’m pretty sure a few thousand dollars plus a couple of good punches to the stomach are all that’s needed to square things away. Why does everyone always have to up the ante in this country?

You said it, hoss.

BRRRR!! If 13 year-olds are expected to know that a spitball might send someone to the hospital, then why isn’t everyone who’s ever been in a car accident in the pokey right now? Cars are bigger’n faster’n any spitball, and unless Jeffrey Figueroa was a total jerk, they contain an infinite amount more steel.

I’m not saying he might not be a little creep, but come on, who has the ability get a spitball under someone’s eye? You can’t plan for that. That just assumes way too much ability for truly malicious intent. Eight years? They only gave Bob Wood three, and he murdered a woman with a flat iron.

A few hundred spitballs have flown by me in my 17 years of education, and only one of them was shot with the intention of getting it stuck under my eyelid. But I stabbed that kid in the throat and we called it fair. What does Jeffrey Figueroa have to do before these people are happy? He said he was sorry before he even got in trouble for it, and he couldn’t possibly have meant to do anything worse than tick off the other kid.

I mean holy cow, with all of the stupid lawsuits in this country, you’re going to tell me some kid’s goofing around, and you decide you’re just going to send him to prison? That’s like tearing up a winning lottery ticket. What’s wrong with you people that the one lawsuit anyone would approve of, you ignore and send the kid to jail, instead? That’s not just economically imprudent; it’s fucking mean.

You think prison’s going to make him pay for ruining your child’s vision? Because I’ll tell you something; all jail’s going to do is hone his skills. He’ll become a hardened warrior, and probably build a Howitzer out of mashed potatoes and shoe polish. Do they still polish shoes in prison? If not, he’ll make shoe polish out of water and pure malicious intent. And when he gets out, he’ll have a job working for someone so high up in the CIA God has to crane his neck to ask them for change. You think they’ll show the same kind of support for your 20-0 vision cyclopean child?

No, he’ll be working some desk job, collating files. Meanwhile, Jeff Figueroa is on the street with a vengeance and the training to back it up. We’ve already seen what he’s capable of in 7th grade, using paper as a weapon; you might want to think twice before you embitter him against your child for life.

Above: Jeffrey Figueroa prepares to tear out his enemy’s voicebox if his demands for milk money are not met.

All I’m saying is, let’s not be too hasty here. Axel Foley disabled a security system with a gum wrapper in Beverly Hills Cop, and MacGyver turned one into the contact for a bomb, but only Jeffrey Figueroa managed to make it into the kind of weapon that can maim you for life (bombs can’t maim anyone if they’re made by MacGyver. It’s been tested). Are we sure we want to piss him off? He’ll probably gnaw the bars off his cell window and come back to get us.

And even if he doesn’t, jail’s probably not going to teach him anything he doesn’t know already. He put a guy’s eye out with a wet piece of paper; what’s he going to do while all the real JDs are learning how to put ground glass in somebody’s food?

Be reasonable, California. I’m pretty sure that to convict someone of Battery & Mayhem, you have to show something like intent, and while you might nail the defendant on mayhem, how in the world did you prove he wanted to kill somebody? Only high schoolers do that.

What would they have done if he’d gotten into a fistfight, put him in solitary? When I was in seventh grade, we did things that were more hardcore than this in pre-algebra. Chris Bernardo and I had an ongoing battle where we’d scratch pens on the metal table so fast they superheated, then jab them into each other’s necks.

But the worst trouble I ever got into wasn’t for that; it was when I kidded Angela Simos about kissing a boy she didn’t like. Two days later, the whole class has to endure a guest speaker talking about sexual harassment. So I’ve been in Jeffrey’s shoes, at least right up to the point where he had to take them off to be checked for weapons. And I can tell you that he’s probably locked in juvie right now still trying to figure out why he was raised to believe Battery & Mayhem actually included battering someone or causing mayhem.

Holy cow, can you imagine how awkward that arrest must have been?

Doorbell ringing

Mr. Figueroa:

Mr. Figueroa?

Mr. Figueroa:
Yes? May I help you?

It’s about your son.

Mr. Figueroa:
Jeffrey? (pause) Did he mutilate anyone again?

No. He hasn’t hurt anyone else.

Mr. Figueroa:
Oh. But he could, you know. Did you see what he did with the spitball?

Yeah, it was fucking hardcore! I got there, and I was like, “Oh, man…”

Mr. Figueroa:
I know, I totally couldn’t believe it! They called me at work and I was like “No way!” I was almost afraid to punish him when he got home!

Right, cause what if he like, glared at you and you burst into flame or your soul ran screaming from your body or something?

Mr. Figueroa:
Or what if it was like in Temple of Doom where he just recites some voodoo stuff and like, plunges his fist into my chest? I’d be looking at my own heart!

Even if he put it back, he’d totally show you couldn’t do anything to him.

Mr. Figueroa:
Right! But he apologized and felt awful. He was just playing.

Yeah, I know. That’s why I don’t want to have to do this.

Mr. Figueroa:
Do what?

Arrest him.

Mr. Figueroa:
What? Are you kidding?

I wish, but sorry — the kid whose eye he took out’s parents are pissed.

Mr. Figueroa:
I don’t believe this crap!

Me neither. There’s a dead hooker sitting out in the woods, and I get called back from that to run your kid in. It’s like, what do I tell the dead hooker’s baby? Sorry you’re a starving, 5 year-old, crackbaby orphan, but I have to go ruin some 7th grader’s future? It’s like what is your son going to do for a living now that he only had one day of junior high? He’s going to be fucking hanging out with the kids who torture squirrels and touch pre-schoolers. And I’ve still got this starving hooker baby!

Mr. Figueroa:
Maybe my son killed her.

Holy crap, do you think? He could have done it from his room, just by thinking about it!

Mr. Figueroa:
And you could never catch him!

That’s too crazy. What if he kills me for arresting him?

Mr. Figueroa:
I guess you just have to take that risk. I can’t believe you’re arresting my son for throwing a spitball! This is so fucked.

Jeez, do you think I want to? I’m taking my life into my hands because some people can’t see fucking reason and just sue your ass.

Mr. Figueroa:
They’re gonna be lucky if he doesn’t reach out with his like, dragon-spirit or turn into a tiger or some shit. You’ll get called to their house and find them exploded all over the walls or something

Holy shit, I do not want to see that.

Mr. Figueroa
(calling): JEFF! Come down here!

What, Dad?

Mr. Figueroa:
Grab a change of underwear; you’re going to prison.


Mr. Figueroa:
I know, isn’t it totally fucked?

Shrouded in mystery, cloaked in darkness, who is the man who has captured the fears and hearts of America? Police struggle to assemble an understanding of the wrapper-spitting fiend.

Jeffrey Figueroa: student, ninja, card cheat, threat and hero to us all.
Above: The administration became suspicious when new student “Jeffrey Figueroa” arrived for his first day of school and proved to be a grown man dressed like a ninja. He is seen here dealing cards in what associates say was his typically dramatic style. Authorities suspect the incident may have been Yakuza-related.
(file photo)

Below: The deadly spitballing. (Walnut Creek Intermediary School security camera)
Hey, THOSE aren't spitba--HURGK!

Die, die, everybody die.

BRRRR!! Here’s a hint: if he had really wanted to batter someone, he wouldn’t have used a spitball, or even a dodgeball. He’d have taken one of the aluminum bats out of the nearby gym closet, and whacked the other kid till his eyes popped out. And the last time a spitball caused any “mayhem” was 20 years ago, in a bad John Hughes movie.

A few years ago, three Norwegian boys accidentally killed a girl while playing Power Rangers. And you know what? It was an awful tragedy, but nobody thought of sending a bunch of a six year-olds to prison for murder. And while this kid is twice their age (no matter how immature he was acting), he probably assumed the same you, I and anyone else who’s ever seen a spitball would: that the thing would splat into someone and then he’d go get his locker assignment.

So right now, Norway is laughing at us. And that’s just what we want. Thank you so much, California, you hackey-sack playing dipsticks. You just sent a kid to prison from his first day of junior high because he threw a spitball. That’s kind of hypocritical coming from the state where the L.A. residents trash their own city every 5 years and nobody gets arrested after that.

I could see maybe Utah or Ohio pulling this kind of garbage. But California makes all the movies by which the rest of the world comes to hate us. So even if they don’t hear about this, they’re going to see Sylvester Stallone blow away China, the Middle East, or half of Eastern Europe.

Remember the one kid in school who might have been an okay guy, except he was convinced he was cooler than everyone else when he was actually slightly less cool? Well that’s what we’re turning into. Because we don’t just send the world movies of us killing them; we act like the total opposite. In Jeffrey Figueroa we have clearly bred the ultimate killing machine. And what do we do with him? We lock him up when he didn’t even try to do anything. No wonder France hates us.

I don’t understand how stupidity converges like this; parents + lawyer + jury = conviction, and suddenly the only 15 people on earth who would declare this kid guilty are standing in the exact position to do so.

Why can’t that happen with good things? Why can’t Albert Einstein build a time machine that sends him back to Abraham Lincoln’s era, and together they invent a rock band with magical, living guitars that bleed when you play them, only the blood tastes like barbecue sauce, and when it spills on you, you turn into a chesty Baywatch lifeguard? How many stupid things do we have to go through before that kind of coolness intersects?

There’s no denying it was stupid and it shouldn’t have happened to a kid minding his own business, but jeez…I don’t know what blend of dumb and vindictive you need to send a 13 year-old to prison over an accident, but I know if I ever find out, I’m going to slip you a rufie and tattoo “Scumbag” on your forehead. And then I’ll offer my condolences for what happened to your son, both to his eye and to his life.

These people do realize that their son’s eye may or may not heal, but for the rest of his life, he’s going to have to deal with being the kid who sent Jeff to prison for years, right? It doesn’t matter if he begged them to do it or to just drop the matter, in four years when he’s still eating alone at high school and nobody trusts him, he’s going to wish his parents hadn’t made him look like the most vengeful kid on the planet.

I could go on, but it’d just be six more pages of “Holy crap, he’s going to prison for a spitball,” so I’ll let Thirty-Thirty have his say.


BRRRR! I know drunk drivers who don’t get in that much trouble! How much of an unfore-fucking-seeable accident does it have to be before you fucking loonies find him innocent? Who’s responsible for this? The school? The parents? The city? Beelzebub? WHAT IS GOING ON?!?

Psst! Thirty-Thirty! You’re supposed to teach us today’s lesson!

BRRR! HRRMPH! Today we learned that fun and games have their place. But if we’re not careful, someone could wind up losing an eye.

Good job, dude.

–We also learned if somebody does, then get the hell outta Dodge! ‘Cause their parents or the cops will come back at you and put you in the jailhouse for the rest of your childhood. Holy shit, that is so fucked up.