Embezzle My Shezzle
Somebody forgot to tell Anna's school that PTA meetings are, by definition, dull.
Not that most of it wasn't. In a brilliant marketing ploy, the school enforces parental participation by staging recitals in which your own adorable child (along with the adorable children of about seventy-five other eligible parents) stands up and sings five or six songs about arithmetic, reading, running and jumping, tunes and rhythm - you know, all the things your kid is doing all day while you're at work wondering what will really happen if you flush the hand towels down the commode.
The children must be dropped off early to warm up. They're terribly excited and you'd be the world's worst parent not to go see them. And while they're warming up, you're in the cafeteria, sitting at a table proportioned for an eight-year-old, participating, by God! in a PTA meeting. "Hey! Great turnout tonight!" enthuses the PTA president in her opening remarks.
The howls of pre-school-aged children echo through the room. The speaker's microphone cuts in and out. There's always a faint, omnipresent odor of burnt cheese. Raising our hands as directed, we elect a new PTA board consisting of parents and staff sitting in the room; there is one candidate for each position. And, incidentally, the PTA has just completed an audit and discovered they've lost over $3,000.
The PTA president introduces the treasurer, a really nice and relaxed guy I've sometimes seen wearing a kilt. "We completed our audit of the books for the fiscal year and there's a discrepancy of $3,000, and some change," he says somewhat diffidently.
The president takes the mic back and starts talking about what they're going to do, her voice becoming increasingly strident as she goes on. "From now on," she says, "we're going to start keeping an eye on the books and reconciling the bank statements! This is not going to happen again! Because this is your money! My money! The PTA's money!" she says, "and we're going to get that money back! We're going to do whatever it takes!"
She calls for a show of hands to support engaging an attorney and taking the matter to court, so we all raise our hands, though we're a bit confused as to what, exactly, has gone down. The PTA president mentions that a woman standing near me is with the state chapter and has come to witness the school's support for this action.
Another woman near me raises her hand tentatively. "We missed some of the beginning part, I think," she says. "What exactly happened?"
The president hands the mic back to the treasurer. "Well, basically, we're missing $3,000," he says. "But there's pending legal action, so I can't tell you any specifics."
This pretty much had to be a matter of embezzlement by a (hopefully) former board member, then, didn't it? Considering the anger in the president's voice, we figured they had to have a solid idea who the culprit was; and that, indeed, he or she was very likely sitting in the front row, grinning smugly and sporting a brand-new three-thousand-dollar tiara.
It was exciting, but not enough to take my mind off my small, adorable daughter's performance. Just like the ants, life goes marching on... and on...