By now much of America is familiar with Caren Turner, the New Jersey politician who would have no problem winning Unhinged Mother of the Year if such an award existed.
Turner, a Democratic lobbyist and, until recently, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board member, became an unwitting YouTube star when, on March 31, she rolled up on a nearly-completed traffic stop featuring two Tenafly, N.J., police officers. The pair had stopped, and ultimately impounded, a vehicle with an expired registration tag. Four teens in the vehicle, including Turner’s daughter, could be seen standing idly by as the police cruiser’s dash cam recorded a nearly 15-minute exchange between the officers and a ranting Turner.
The video showed Turner repeatedly flaunting her political position, demanding the officers address her as “Commissioner,” and ending the encounter by telling the cops they may “shut the (expletive) up and not tell me when I can take my kid.” Once the video hit social media, the officers were praised for their restraint while Turner abruptly resigned her Port Authority position. End of story? Maybe for Turner. For her daughter, not so fast.
I truly do feel for the girl who watched her mom exhibit all the tact and manners of a zoo animal at feeding time. Perhaps she thought her mother really could bully her way out of the incident. However, had she known the encounter was being filmed and would eventually sweep through cyberspace, she may have had the good sense to say, “Mom, I mean Commissioner, I mean Commissioner Mom, please shut up.”
We repeatedly warn our children, “Once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever.” Turner and her offspring will now be reminded of that every time a Google search contains the word “Turner.” Thankfully, it’s a common last name; although Caren Turner’s loony diatribe may soon trend above any videos from Kathleen, Ike, Tina or even Lana Turner.
I could journey to the East Coast, attempt to locate the daughter and give her some advice on how to deal with the video and its aftermath. Why there? Because the girl may be a Ph.D. student at either Yale or MIT, a nugget of information Turner revealed in her tirade.
Nice job, Mom. Now everybody knows where I live!
But Turner isn’t the first mom to be caught going completely nutso online, nor will she be the last. So, kids, here are a few steps you can take if you ever find yourself in, say, a job interview, and your prospective employer suddenly spins his or her laptop around and asks, “Is that your mom in this video?”
1. Claim you were adopted just days before the video was recorded. Insist that you would have preferred to stay in a government run home had you known your new mother was capable of such behavior.
2. Reveal that your mother is a trained method actress and, on that particular day, was preparing to audition for the mom role in, I, Tonya. Mention that she was devastated when the part went to Allison Janney.
3. Say that your mom is hopelessly attracted to police officers and is convinced they go for the “rebellious type.”
4. Laugh, roll your eyes and say, “See what can happen when you have an identical twin sister?”
5. Insist that it isn’t your mother, and launch into a discussion on the perils of the Artificial Intelligence face-swapping tool FakeApp.
One of these suggestions should do the trick. But be aware that none will apply to dads. Why? Because dads are, by definition, crazy, ranting lunatics 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will embarrass their children whenever possible.
Just ask my daughters.