Lawlor / A false pajama warning

In less than a month, the residents of Hawaii got a false missile scare warning, residents of New York and other states got a false warning about a tsunami on their cellphones, and the residents of Fairfield got a false warning that residents could wear pajamas the next day.

On Jan. 13, Hawaiian residents received a warning on their cellphones that an incoming missile strike was directed at them. Thirty-eight minutes of sheer panic were followed by an admission that it was a mistake. Something less harrowing, but similar, happened this week, when residents of New York and other states were told to be on the lookout for a tsunami on the East Coast. Authorities later admitted it was a mistake.

On Super Bowl Sunday, right in the middle of the game, we got a text message at 7:32 pm that said in honor of the Super Bowl apparently all students at Fairfield schools could wear pajamas the next day. This was before we knew who would win. This was not issued by happy Eagles fans, or a rogue disgruntled Patriots fan. We were very excited until we remembered that our kids no longer attend Fairfield schools. They are both in college. Why are we still on this list? Do you have to die to get off the list? Another friend watching the game with us got the same text. But at least her son was still in the public schools, albeit a senior about four months short of graduation.

An excruciating hour and two minutes later, we got the follow-up message, saying the message was a mistake: It was just supposed to be sent to students of Dwight Elementary School. The students at the other Fairfield schools had to wear regular pants, or whatever they were planning to wear before the message. The kids at Dwight seem to have all the fun. The follow-up message did tell us to enjoy the game. Fat chance, with half of us Patriots fans and the other half wondering what we were going to wear tomorrow.

The next day, I was talking to my daughter (who never attended Dwight) about it and she said at her college many of her fellow students must get that text every night at 7:32 p.m., as many of the students seem to be wearing pajamas the next day. When quizzed, she admitted that maybe once or twice she had worn pajama pants to class. She pointed out she was better than most of the students. One of her friends even has a problem finding and wearing shoes to class. Thank God my daughter grew up in Fairfield, where we have a strict (with the possible exception of Dwight School) dress code.

Later that day, I was talking to another dad when I remembered his son went to Dwight Elementary. I wonder if his son dressed up. This dad had, like most of us, received both messages.

“So did your son dress up in pajamas?” I asked.

“He would have, if he was still in elementary school. He’ll be in high school next year.”

“Wow, really? How did I not know this? You’re a good friend of mine. I should really listen when you talk.”

“The kids are growing up. One of my daughters is graduating from college. We’re getting old.”

“I’m sorry, what did you say? I wasn’t listening.”

All and all, Fairfield’s miscommunication was a lot less heart-stopping than the residents of Hawaii received or even New York. I, however, had some decisions to make, like what my boss would say if I showed up in pajamas Monday morning.

Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunica