Monday, April 17, 2006

A Cautionary Tale

I am now a criminal. One who has broken the law. One who has flouted societal conventions and proprieties to blaze my own, illegal trail. Oh sure, it was completely unintentional, but I believe lack of intent will not win me any favor from the jury.

This from me, a woman who has typically abided by the law. Undoubtedly, I did a little underage drinking in college, and I have occasionally gone over the speed limit, but I have typically stayed within the confines of the law. However, with my family history of criminal activity, it’s really no surprise that I’m in the position I’m in.

Let me explain.

As I tell my tale, I believe that you will understand how two innocuous – nay positive – actions on my part could lead me to the point of being on the wrong side of the law.

Action 1: Cleaning My house has seen cleaner days. Hence, I spent a lot of yesterday - Easter Sunday- getting ready for company by cleaning up. As we have hardwood floors in our downstairs (which is actually a delightful side effect of having a severely asthmatic kid – we’re not allowed to have any carpet in our house), part of the cleaning involved sweeping and mopping the floors downstairs.

Action 2: Jumping Zane has a heartfelt devotion to jumping right now. He jumps across the room and back again. He jumps with two feet, and he jumps with one – which is probably more hopping, but whatever. He jumps like a frog. He jumps like a kangaroo. He jumps in the morning, in the afternoon, and the evening. He probably even jumps in his dreams. Sometimes, however, Zane would like some company while he jumps. After all, having jumped on his own for many hours of the day, a little boy could use a little attention and affection from – and communal jumping with – his loved ones. So Zane asked, and I jumped with him for a while.

So there we were jumping. Giggling our fool heads off and being bunnies, frogs, and whatever other hopping animals Zane came up with – when a broom that I happened to be cleaning with earlier falls into our path.

So Zane and I take turns jumping over the broom. Tons of fun there, and Zane decides to up the ante. We need to jump together, so he takes my hand, and 1-2-3 JUMP!

Some of you may see where I’m going here, but it took me a good 6-7 times of jumping over the broom with Zane to realize that we were actually engaging in a tradition from our African ancestors. We were now husband and wife!

Depending on what source you believe (i.e. this one or this one), “jumping the broom” is a tradition that either originated during slavery or even earlier from Africa itself, which involves a man and a woman jumping over a broom to seal their marriage vows. It is akin to “tying the knot” so to speak.

So Zane and I jumped the broom, and I became an “offender”.

That’s it - the whole sordid tale of my downfall and turning to a life of crime. I am now entered into an unlawful union AND a bigamist.

To be sure, Ohio has some prohibitions against who can enter into marital relationships which are bigoted, shortsighted, and mean spirited. (See Issue One) The prohibition against marrying one’s own son, however, seems pretty legitimate to me.

My action plan is to pretend this never happened. I figure Zane and I are the only witnesses, and he probably won’t be able to give an accurate report to the authorities should they come to visit. I think I’m in the clear, but if I stop blogging in the near future, you’ll know that I had to go on the lam.


Anonymous said...

Take heart! You are probably in good company. Imagine all the other Mothers (and Fathers!) of African heritage who have jumped over brooms with their little ones.

Zany Mama said...

anon -

I must go there: are you saying that many mothers and fathers of African descent are engaged in criminal activity, because if you are... :)

actually, thanks for the support. If you were not anonymous, I'd send you postcards of indeterminate orgins should I have to leave the country quickly.

Anonymous said...

i am a mandated reporter so i am totally reporting you...
sorry for the anonymous comment but i didn't want to register on this site. i love your blog, alas, mine is still lacking. come play soon, m, r, a, f, and e

Zany Mama said...


I, too, struggle with the whole I'm-a-mandated-reporter-should-I-turn-myself-in for the wholly illegal and immoral act of jumping the broom with my child. I have decided not to turn myself in - completely for my own self-protection - but I'd totally respect you for turning me in. On the other hand, that would make it harder for us to come over and play.

P.S. I can't wait to see your blog - please send me the address!

zingerzapper said...

Okay, now that is it. First you temporarily retire from VAWA work (and rightly so) and now you are one of the perps(yeah, I used it and the law is on my side)I have to worry about. What has become of you? Does this mean you will now have to form some type of cult for mothers who jump over the broom with sons? Do we need to create a national website? Does your hunky spouse know? Oh my, has HE jumped over the broom too? Okay, now I'm just overwhelmed. I'll have to think about this.

Zany Mama said...


I think my work in VAW (violence against women) was simply preparation for my role as a perp. After all, now I know how to evade a conviction. I'm sure the following sentences will soon be coming out of my mouth. Your Honor, Zane asked for it. He's only a child, and we all know kids lie. I can't spend any time in jail because my family needs the income.

Should these lame excuses fail to work, I will be contacting you for names of defense attorneys.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work
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