This is a story about one of the oddest events in my life. Everything I’m about to tell you is 100% true and can be verified by several people. Unfortunately this peculiar experience took place in 2004 so I don’t have the court papers (a little teaser to wet your appetite 🙂 anymore. Now, in the interest of fairness and privacy, all names in this drama have been changed to protect their privacy…except for me; I’m still me in this saga. You ready for a wild ride, I sure hope so!!!
3 days before Christmas in 2004, my mom got a letter (sent by messenger) from the Fort Lauderdale Florida Police Department. For reasons that I can’t explain, she lists my brother and me as living with her even though neither one of us do nor have for a long time now. Since it was such a shock to her, mom decided to have the messenger open the letter and read it to her (again, I can’t explain the why). I wasn’t there, but from what I understand her jaw about hit the ground. Turns out a Detective Dumbo wanted to talk to me about a kid they had in their system.
At the time, I was doing deliveries for a local greenhouse. Christmas was by far the busiest time of year for us; just to give you some idea we were doing about 200 stops a day which was about 4 times more than an “average” day. To put it another way, I barely had time to shove food in my mouth let alone deal with Detective Dumbo from the Fort Lauderdale Florida Police Department. Luckily, the route I was on when I got the call from mom about the letter was near her house and when I explained the situation to my boss he was cool with me stopping for a little bit to see what the HE*& was going on!
Detective Dumbo’s letter said they had a child in custody whose mom was claiming that I was the father. I call the detective Dumbo for a reason. There were a handful of misspelled words, grammatical errors, and the cop had the penmanship of a crack addict. This cop was either not very bright or the letter was the last thing he did before going on Christmas break.
The letter requested I call the department for questioning. Detective Dumbo was not there when I called but his boss seemed to know what was going on so he questioned me. From what I remember, the kid was a 14 year old male (this is important to remember for later). Mom and child were from Florida so the boss wanted to know if I’d ever been down there, to this day I’ve never set foot in Florida (scouts honor!). Since I had never been, the boss wouldn’t tell me the name of the kid or mom, which I was all right with. Considering the content, it was a pretty simple and quick phone call that I thought had cleared up the matter. I was SO wrong!
Late that January mom got another knock at the door, this time the messenger had papers from Florida’s Attorney General listing me as the father, YES I WAS NOW A FATHER IN THE EYES OF FLORIDA! This lead to a whole new level of angry and confusion through out my family as you can imagine. It didn’t help that I was about ready to go in for my 6-month check up for the plate in my neck either.
Having been involved in local politics for a while, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several local attorneys one of which was once the Attorney General for Idaho under President Carter. Since I knew Mr. Attorney General and had a lot of respect for him I set up an appointment to discuss my fatherhood case. (For all of my arthritic and concerned friends, my 6-month check up went great and I was even cleared to start skiing as long as I promised to stay on the ground and off moguls J)
Immediately upon looking at the papers, my attorney found multiple lawyer type errors. To put it another way, the paperwork was very sloppily done according to him. After explaining my Christmas phone call with Det. Dumbo’s boss, my attorney decided that it was time to call Florida to see what he could uncover. This is where the story gets crazy!!!
According to Florida, I knocked up the mom while being a carnival worker in California. YUP, ACCORDING TO FLORIDA I WAS A HORNY CARNI FROM CALIFORNIA! I will pause for a second to let that set in… Just to be CRYSTAL CLEAR, I have never been a carnival worker, worked in California, or have had sex with any carnival worker that has ever worked in California. Also, that 14-year-old kid that I was questioned about was now a little girl about 7 years old. I’m not sure weird even begins to describe what was happening at this point! Guess what, there is still more to this story/saga that is just unbelievable.
The reason the little girl was in Florida’s system was because mom was now in jail for a probation violation on a Federal forgery conviction. My “new daughter” tried living with grandpa (on mom’s side of the family) but he was now in rehab for a drug problem. To this day I have no idea how mom came up with my name but according to her I was the father and Florida believed her.
We also found out that Florida had scheduled the 1st hearing for this case in front of a judge, not really sure if they were planning on telling me this or not though. Since I didn’t want to take time off from work, I took part in a conference call with the judge and prosecuting attorney. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m I pretty laid back and easy going person, but I was SO ANGRY while on the phone! (Luckily the judge understood because I was interrupting the other attorney and never once said Your Honor). At this time the judge requested that I send a picture to Florida since I was so adamant that I was not the father or even knew this lady. The judge also sent me paperwork requesting financial assistance since I couldn’t afford to hire an attorney in Ft. Lauderdale. Another hearing was scheduled for something like 6 weeks away.
At the next hearing, I learned that the mom could not pick me out of a line up but Florida was sure I was the father because according to them, I was the only Alan Brewington in the United States. Apparently Google doesn’t work in Florida, but that is a battle I wasn’t going to win. The judge did say that I made too much money for financial assistance but since I lived so far away he would appoint someone to be my attorney in Florida. According to my attorney here, this guy was considered to be one of the best at these types of cases so he said I was in good hands.
Since Florida still considered me the father, the next step in the process was me having to sit through a call with dept. of welfare people, Ft. Lauderdale police, counselors, and some charity group that was participating in the case. The purpose was to come up with a plan of attack for how to introduce the little girl to me. This call was scheduled to last for an hour. My attorney, in Florida, advised me to answer their questions in order to get the call over with (he would not be there). No record or transcript would be kept; this meeting was how the process in Florida worked.
I did take the afternoon off from work for this call. From what I remember, the conference call started about 1.5 hours later than scheduled, which didn’t do wonders for my temper. The questions consisted off things like how did I want my first contact with my “daughter” to take place. There was lot of speeches from the counselors about the possible physiological effects of all this on the little girl too. I’m pretty sure, if I remember right, that if I was unable to prove that I wasn’t the father that the first contact would take place by a letter.
I don’t know if anyone noticed this, but I used the term “speeches” for a reason. At the end of the call, all of them started to congratulate themselves on such a productive meeting. There was a lot of patting themselves on the back. This is when I lost control of my temper! I loudly pointed out that I had never meet the mother, never been asked to prove by Florida that I had ever worked at a carnival in California, or that the mom and I had ever been in the same state at the same time. I told them flat out that they didn’t give a “flying sh*&” about the little girl and this call was nothing more than a way for them to feel good about themselves. Ideally, someone in that group took what I said seriously and started to care more about the little girl than their own ego, but I doubt it!
My understanding of the next step was the judge would get a summary of the call and would then figure out how to proceed from there. I was under the impression that my attorney would be there so I didn’t need to participate. Turns out that my attorney had quit but didn’t tell me. I learned about this several days later and many frantic phone calls.
Since my attorney quit and I was till adamant that I was not the father, the judge decided to order a DNA test (I have NO idea why this wasn’t done first, your guess is as good as mine). The test could not be done for about a month though because Florida had to certify some lab in Boise before they would accept the results. A lab eventually got certified so I went in to get my mouth swabbed in order to prove once and for all that I wasn’t the father.
Sure enough, the results came back and I wasn’t the father. For some reason, it was that charity during the “how to introduce me to the little girl” meeting that called and told me. They said I would have one more conference call with the judge and this would be all over with (as far as I know, no meeting ever took place with the judging clearing me of being the father). I mentioned to the lady that I would be cheering for the next hurricane that hit Florida because their incompetence was so unbelievable! Not very cool I know but it was now May and my anger was beyond my control at that point.
So that’s the story of how I became a father for about 6 months once. I don’t think I would believe a tv show or movie with a plot line like this, but everything I said is 100% true. Since I wasn’t the father, I have no idea what happened to that little girl. Hopefully she ended up with loving and caring foster care parents and millions of dollars!!! Some how I doubt it though.
A few years ago I was at a basketball game where there was an Alan Brewington on the opposing team who was from California. I tried to find out if this player had ever worked as a carnie, but couldn’t. There was no reason to believe this individual could be involved, it would have made a weird story weirder if I had found the father by attending a random basketball though.
Now, some of you might be asking why write about this since it has nothing to do with arthritis. First, it’s an entertaining story that needs to be shared since it involves so much incompetence on Florida’s part. Now that it’s over with I can laugh at everything but at the time it caused a lot of stress. Actually, some of my jerk friends will send me texts every so often saying that they were contacted by Florida wanting information about me so they can collect child support. More often than that I fall for it, damn friends! J
The second reason I wrote about this experience is because it is so funny that hopefully it might provide someone with a distraction from his or her pain! It is too easy to get wrapped up in chronic pain or illness that we forget to look for funny or exciting events in our own lives. Chances are that in everyone’s life, regardless of pain, there are little experiences or stories that can bring a smile to our faces now. Not all of them are going to involve becoming a father for 6 months, but if they bring a smile to you or someone else that is what matters most. Please share them, will all need a distraction every now and then!