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(http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/educating-the-mob/grendel-2/)If I had published this story on this same day last year, I would have been burned in effigy by the Mob that ruled my son’s former private elementary school.

They had a special way of governing. It was best described as an iron fist in a velvet wimple—one that lashed out with merciless retaliation for the slightest perceived infraction of the tenets of a sacred rule book, hidden in the chambers of a silent cabal into which I had neither been initiated nor anointed.

They were sheltered beneath an umbrella organization euphemistically named The Mother’s League (at least, that’s what we’ll call it for now), which ostensibly raised money for underprivileged women and children in third world countries.

But unless you were a “made” mom, you were refused entry to the reverend inner sanctum where members were tightly controlled by their clandestine mistresses with the same brutal efficiency as Hoffa’s Teamsters (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Jimmy_Hoffa).

Failing to toe the line and work your way through the ranks meant risking being Outcast. (A lay-mother’s form of excommunication.)

Newcomers weren’t welcome, especially by those matronly capos who were spawned from generations of the “old families” (or had married into one of them) and jealously guarded their posts with all of the ferocity of a homicidal Chihuahua.

After all, these were pedigreed moms. And The Mother’s League prided itself on being a family-run business.

The controlling families had lived in the town and the surrounding agricultural area for generations, with a sense of entitlement aggressive enough to make Dynasty look like the Ken and Barbie Show.

As I walked hand-in-hand with Alex (with his glowing apple-flushed cheeks scrubbed to a shine as he sported his brand-spanking-new school uniform) on the first day of school, I was unwittingly sauntering into a life-altering maelstrom.

In its heart, I was about to experience suffering that could only be surpassed by hand-to-hand combat with the mother of Grendel (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Grendel%27s_mother).

There they were, congregated around the picnic table outside the classroom, like the mercilessly gossiping gulls of The Flock in Jonathan Livingston Seagull (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Jonathan-Livingston-Seagull-Richard-Bach/dp/0743278909/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244140277&sr=8-1).

Upon my arrival, there was a subtle and simultaneous shift of posture—like an audience “wave” at a ball game—as it appeared they all slightly turned their backs to me.

Was it real or imagined? Suddenly, I felt a pang of doubt.

“I’m too old for this shit”, I muttered to myself. The year had begun. Its contents are the stuff of other chapters in this ongoing story. I have to gird myself up to tell them. It’s like popping one kernel of corn at time. And it’s all I can take.

Suffice to say that, in the end, they would have made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

My gastroenterologist told me I was on a one-way ticket to a bleeding ulcer. But that’s not what did it. One of the Hit Moms decided to try to take out my child with public flogging by humiliation on a set of trumped up charges—a lesson in Christian values, certainly.

It seems that Alex was overtaking her daughter academically, and she had her eye on the 8th grade Valedictorian prize. It reminded me of the Wanda Holloway case (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Wanda_Holloway)—a mafia mom tendency I once thought was an aberration.

This year, we have moved to a public Charter school in the same town. It’s known for keeping company with so-called Granola Moms who are alleged to have extreme dedication to educating the “whole child”.

But we don’t mind. I can walk on campus without paying for the pleasure of looking over my shoulder.

I had my affirmation in a recent episode of Boston Legal (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Boston_Legal), in which the Alan Shore (James Spader (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/James_Spader)) character comes up against a similar, capricious form of private school prejudice that he could not fight in a court of law because the deck was stacked in their favor.

It was the character Denny Crane (William Shatner (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/William_Shatner)) who said, in a nutshell, such institutions do not respect the law as much as they do power. So Shore brought in the national media to lift up the proverbial rock and expose them.

And the deck of cards folded. Mission accomplished. Bravo, boys! (I love them Boston Legal writers!)

Sadly, there is no Witness Protection Program for insurgents against the private school Moms’ Mafia and the Catholic school system. This is a small town, perhaps not big enough for the both of us.

I suspect that, one day soon, one of them will hear about this blog and they will find me.

Watch this space.

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