“Daddy makes mistakes. We tried our best. I made a mistake by not knowing enough.”
TAL Commentary: Mark Grapin did something every dad should admire — he built a treehouse for his two growing boys. But his dealings with the government turned into an Alice in Wonderland (or Calvin and Hobbes) sort of experience.
He did call the permits office before building the treehouse, and the guy on the phone laughed and told him no permit was necessary. So Grapin bought the materials and built the treehouse.
After it was built, the Fairfax County government changed its mind and decided that he needs a permit after all, so he offered to pay for it. That’s when they told him he’s not eligible for a permit, so he can’t get one. I’m sure he was confused. I can imagine a blank look for a moment (while the county officials snickered amongst themselves) before asking “so… do I need one or not?”
They said he needs one, but he can’t get one, so he’ll have to tear the treehouse down. Even though he bought the materials and built the thing on their own assertion that he didn’t need a permit.
Now it gets good. Grapin has been so well trained as a good citizen that he considers this all his own mistake for “not knowing enough.”
I guess he should have known it was Opposite Day in Fairfax County.