Being 13 is tough. Let’s face it, middle school is one of the worst traumas of everyday American life. You may think it’s all giggles and M.A.S.H. at the time, but when you look back, it doesn’t take long to realize that the kind of subtle emotional abuse you suffered at the hands of both classmates and puberty was life-changing. On the one hand, it prepared you for every passive-aggressive office drama you would have for the rest of your life. On the other hand, why didn’t anyone say anything about your hair choices?
We imagine that being 13 for Caleigh Perelman, daughter of divorced Revlon chairman Ron Perelman and political activist Patricia Duff, is a nightmare in the way it was for everyone. Except Caleigh has her parents to deal with, a pair of people who legendarily behave as though they are in middle school, even though they are full-grown adults with millions of dollars at their disposal. Caleigh, in an attempt to quietly calm the madness around her, had her court-appointed lawyer (yep, the state gave her a lawyer because of the insane divorce proceedings between her parents in the late nineties) file an order of protection against Duff. The request cites “emotional abuse” and “great stress.”
Of course, Perelman’s lawyer has jumped on this and taken Caleigh’s side. Duff’s lawyer claims that the mother “has not done anything different than any other parent for a 13-year-old might,” and that disputes have centered only on bedtimes and Internet uses. The judge overseeing the case has urged both parents against blowing this up into “another round of public humiliation” for Caleigh. Of course, banner headlines in both the News and the Post already signal that’s a lost cause. We recall the words of the last judge who had to deal with the pair, during their divorce proceedings: Instead of having Caleigh’s best interest in mind, the judge wrote, they “have made this a take-no-prisoners, scorched-earth battle to the death.” Oh, Caleigh. By the time you get to high school, you’re going to make Blair Waldorf look like a pussycat.