When I was studying for the bar exam last year, one of my favorite topics (setting aside the absurdity of calling any part of the process a good time) was the concept of “frolic & detour.”
The idea, in a nutshell, is that if an employee or agent engages in a “detour” during his or her assigned duties and subsequently harms himself or someone else, the employer is liable – but if the deviation rises to the level of a “frolic,” the employer is off the hook.
A truck driver who goes half a mile out of his way to get a cup of coffee, for example, would likely be considered to be engaged in a detour. If that same truck driver, however, drives 500 miles out of his way and loses 3 days and $40,000 in Vegas – during which he turns a stranger into a bride at the Elvis Wedding Chapel – that would most likely be considered a “frolic.”
I was reminded of the frolic & detour concept recently when Lorelei explained the nuances of the daycare potty privilege system to me.
The 4-year-olds in her class – the BMOCs of the Early Preschool room, in other words – are granted the incomparable freedom of venturing out to the bathroom on their own. This requires a trip through a few other classrooms, up a set of steps, and around a corner down a short hallway. I imagine this journey makes a 4-year-old feel like Lucky Lindy crossing the Atlantic.
Potty privileges come with a short leash, however, and can be revoked at any time. Lorelei has told me, in hushed tones, of several friends who have Lost Their Privileges (all names changed to protect the frolicking):
“Madison lost her privileges because she took too long in the potty.”
“James had the privilege but then lost it because he didn’t come right back.”
“Allison lost her privileges and then got them back again, but then lost them again because she went to another classroom and visited friends.”
Lorelei, who turns 4 in June, is eagerly awaiting her chance for potty privileges. She has assured me that she will be very careful not to lose them, having personally witnessed the crushing misfortunes that have befallen various friends.
We’ll see how it goes. With great power comes great responsibility. Even when it comes to potty privileges.