Tuesday, April 29, 2008

At Least It Quieted the Kid Down

Today's Story O' the Day is either an example of extreme cultural stupidity, or really bad parenting. Either way it still rocks. It all happened when a man tried to buy a leomonade for his son at a ballgame. Oh, and for those of you gasping at how outlandish this story is -- it really isn't. I had a friend who was a fourth grade teacher who on several occasions had to take wine coolers away from kids who had packed their own lunches and grabbed what they thought was "punch." Those were very happy days in the teacher's lounge.


Hard lemonade, hard price

If you watch much television, you've probably heard of a product called Mike's Hard Lemonade.
And if you ask Christopher Ratte and his wife how they lost custody of their 7-year-old son, the short version is that nobody in the Ratte family watches much television.

The way police and child protection workers figure it, Ratte should have known that what a Comerica Park vendor handed over when Ratte ordered a lemonade for his boy three Saturdays ago contained alcohol, and Ratte's ignorance justified placing young Leo in foster care until his dad got up to speed on the commercial beverage industry.
Even if, in hindsight, that decision seems a bit, um, idiotic.
Ratte is a tenured professor of classical archaeology at the University of Michigan, which means that, on a given day, he's more likely to be excavating ancient burial sites in Turkey than watching "Dancing with the Stars" -- or even the History Channel, for that matter.
The 47-year-old academic says he wasn't even aware alcoholic lemonade existed when he and Leo stopped at a concession stand on the way to their seats in Section 114.
"I'd never drunk it, never purchased it, never heard of it," Ratte of Ann Arbor told me sheepishly last week.

"And it's certainly not what I expected when I ordered a lemonade for my 7-year-old."
But it wasn't until the top of the ninth inning that a Comerica Park security guard noticed the bottle in young Leo's hand.
"You know this is an alcoholic beverage?" the guard asked the professor.
"You've got to be kidding," Ratte replied. He asked for the bottle, but the security guard snatched it before
Ratte could examine the label.
Mistake or child neglect?