Scared Straight Over a Sandwich Downtown

This may sound like a Dr. Phil tactic, but I have already made plans for the day one of my kids tries to be a punk, like trying to skip school, or sneak out of the house, or run with scissors.

It’ Sophia’s Sandwich Shop, right across from the county jail on 5th Avenue North (kitty-corner from the Birmingham Museum of Art). From the lunch counter you can gaze upon the front door of the Mel Bailey Criminal Justice Center, the backdrop for media coverage of big local trials and other spectacles.

Lunch counter view of the Justice Center

This front-row seat to the theater of justice seems perfect for a lasting impression. I  envision going there for a burger with a heapin’ helpin’ of scare on the side. A bad guy would do a perp walk while his sorrowful mother wails aloud and asks what went wrong.

I could turn to my big-eyed kid and say, “See what happens? I bet that guy in the orange jumpsuit started out sassing his mama, too. Now finish those fries and think about what you’ve done.”

The courthouse has quote from Cicero carved over the entrance: “We are in bondage to the law in order that we may be free.” My translation will be, follow my rules if you want to be taken off restriction.

Not that my kids have shown any hint of requiring a visit to Sophia’s . I just like having schemes like this so I can feel prepared in case I ever need to nip a little truancy in the bud or convince the guidance counselor to let me try my remediation plan first.

When I went to Sophia’s, there was no trace of drama and I dined pleasantly among courthouse employees and downtown workers. The burger helped make up for the lack of entertainment otherwise.