Peter Chianca: The road to Montana is paved with good intentions
As you’ve probably heard by now, a Texas woman is under fire after faking a tear-jerking essay for her 6-year-old daughter so the girl could win Hannah Montana tickets. This mother did something no self-respecting parent ever should, namely, get caught. (I suspect she probably wasn’t familiar with the way the youngsters write these days — she probably should have used more emoticons. :-D)
Still, the people upset about this probably don’t realize just how precious a commodity Hannah Montana tickets really are. It’s not unlike back in the ’80s, when it was considered perfectly acceptable for a mother trying to get the last Cabbage Patch Doll to shout, “Look! Over there!” and then, when the other mother turned around, to knock her unconscious with a Teddy Ruxpin.
But at least when a girl didn’t get a Cabbage Patch Doll, usually the worst that happened was that she cried herself to sleep for a few nights before resigning herself to a life of crushing disappointments. Far worse is not getting your children Hannah Montana tickets, which I believe is now officially considered a form of child abuse, sort of like denying them food and clothing, or a Wii.
So the Texas mother did what any mother would do (except apparently for the mothers of every other girl in this contest): help fake an essay about the girl’s father dying in Iraq. And it worked — the only thing that would have made this fake essay more effective is if she had pinched the girl until she cried actual tears onto the entry form, which we’re assuming she didn’t do, at least until the DNA tests come back.
Why didn’t I think of this? To get my daughter Hannah Montana tickets, I went through the trouble of joining the fan club, memorizing the special presale code and feverishly hitting the “refresh” button at Ticketmaster.com with a desperation typically reserved for online gambling (at least by me). But I could have avoided all that trouble by just writing an essay about how I’d died serving our country, or from some horrible disease, or by being eaten by weevils. I would have even been willing to hide in the basement for a few months, in case any of the judges came around.
At least I’ve learned my lesson and can employ this strategy in the future; in fact, I’ve just started composing my daughter’s application essay for Harvard’s class of 2021: “Dear Harvard: My acceptance into your university would have meant so much to my late father, who died last year saving a family of polar bears from drowning after their icecap melted.” (Everybody knows Harvard types are suckers for drowning polar bears.)
I hope it works — I figure my daughter will need all the help she can get after another 11 years of me doing all her homework. But don’t think I’m leaving my son out: He’s only in kindergarten, but I’ve already begun drawing up schematics for his Cub Scout Pinewood Derby racecar and his sixth-grade science project. I’m also working on a plan to disguise myself as him to take his driver’s test.
Yes, I understand there are people out there who disagree with such actions — after all, they argue, all this teaches children is that it’s OK to get what you want at any cost, whether you have to lie, cheat, steal or stomp on the little guy. And what will that prepare a child for in the real world? Well, yes, politics, finance, professional athletics and TV reality shows, but besides that?
But this latest situation is about so much more than just a mother wanting to get her daughter Hannah Montana tickets — it’s about a mother wanting all the other mothers’ daughters not to get them. That’s a powerful motivator for a mother, as evidenced by, say, cougars who will kill prey and then hide the carcasses for their cubs. Although it’s worth noting that, unlike a cougar, this mother did not leap onto anyone’s back and administer a suffocating neck bite.