Sexting has been in the news a lot the last few years. And now it’s hit far too close to home. I was at work earlier this week when I received a disturbing phone call from MJ. Here’s the transcription:
MJ: “So we’re gonna have to have a talk with your son.”
(I knew Will was in trouble because every time he does something wrong he’s my son)
ME: “Uh oh, what’d he do now?”
MJ: “Well, apparently he was using the digital camera and one of his pictures was…inappropriate.”
ME: “Of what? Did he sneak up on you while you were sleeping, or get a close up of the dog’s butthole or something?”
MJ: “No. He, ummm. He took a picture of his, uhhhh…”
ME: “Spit it out babe, I’m at work. What was the picture of? I’m sure it’s nothing.”
MJ: “His penis.”
Now I admit, I’m seldom left speechless. But I had nothing at that moment. Apparently Will was walking around in the buff and decided to take pictures of a bunch of different things. The TV, the wall, the coffee table, the dog — and his junk.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise since he’s been more than a little preoccupied with his package lately. He pulls on it like taffy and he’s been creatively aiming it when he pees in the toilet. Most recently he asked me in a very annoyed tone why, every time he poops, his penis gets really big. He told me in no uncertain terms he does not like this and wishes for it to stop.
But being a good parent, I decided to turn the whole thing into a teaching moment when I got home from work.
ME: “Will, tell me why you took a picture of your penis.”
WILL: “I don’t know Dada. Is that bad?”
ME: “Look buddy, your body is nothing to be ashamed of but you’re too young to use the camera to take a picture of your penis. If you’re going to do that, you have to wait until you’re older — at least 12. And don’t use a camera, use a cell phone. Otherwise you’ll have no way to send it to that older girl you’re crushing on. Try to use an untraceable burner phone and don’t have anything in the background that can incriminate you. We don’t need another Brett Favre situation on our hands and we don’t want her identifying you like Tiger Woods. After all, this is what sports stars exist for — to teach us valuable life lessons. Got me bud?”
WILL: “Got it Dad.”
OK, so that last part was made up. In reality we told him our private parts are just that — private. And that neither he nor anyone else except for a doctor should be taking pictures, looking at, or otherwise touching his private parts. We explained how someone could steal the camera or look at the picture accidentally and see his private parts, which is not something that should happen. He seemed to understand.
Yet little did I know, the most humiliating part was yet to come.
After Will went to bed, MJ and I were up talking about the whole ordeal. We laughed, shook our heads in disbelief, and generally marveled at what a bizarre, roller-coaster ride parenting is at times. And then this conversation happened:
MJ: “You know, when I first saw the picture I was REALLY mad at you.”
ME: “Me?!? Why the hell would you possibly be mad at me for our son taking a picture of his dick??”
MJ: “Because when I first saw the picture, I thought it was you.”
Boom. Game, set, match to MJ.