Friday, November 12, 2010

The Madwoman Of Leaside

Deb: A few weeks ago I witnessed something so shocking that I didn’t even know if I could blog about it.

I was driving my car very slowly on a residential street, slowly because there were three boys on bikes just ahead of me. They were around ten years old, I would say. I noticed a dead squirrel up ahead, and in the next second saw one of the young boys ride up beside the dead squirrel––and spit on it. Spit right on the body of this dead little creature.

Well, I don’t mind telling you, I snapped. It was so shocking to me, this ugly act, that my head was spinning.  When I see a dead animal I always give a nod and a “God bless you”, so you can im-frikkin’-agine how I was desperately searching for reasons that this young boy might commit such an ugly soulless act. Not that it would have made it less ugly, but at least I could see a reason from his age and viewpoint if he had spit in clear view of his buddies. This at least would have made some kind of sense in the show-off-appear-tough kid world.

But this was a solitary act. No one saw him. He was not doing it to impress. But he did it. And my blood ran cold.

I watched the other boys pull up on their bikes one by one to chat. I didn’t notice any of them looking back at the squirrel, so I knew he wasn’t even talking about what he had done. He was just laughing. Suddenly, I was running full speed up to him, the red flash of my parking lights setting the mood for the scene that was about to unfold. I am not proud of what happened next, but I just snapped. Went squirrelly!!!

I said to him, “What the hell” ... wait, I should be more specific ... I SCREAMED at him, “What the hell did you just spit on that dead squirrel for you, little monster?”. 

His friends stared at him. “Fuck off, lady,” said evil boy. I could have laid odds on that answer.

“Listen, you evil little bastard, that squirrel is one of GOD’S CREATURES, you soulless little tool!” 

The boys all stared at the crazy lady. Evil boy stuck out his chin in defiance. The other two boys were scared shitless however and were waiting in hope for men in white coats to emerge from the ATM vestibule and carry me away.

“Mind your own business, lady!” said Evil.

I swear to God I was two seconds away from quoting Jacob Marley in Scrooge: ”MANKIND IS MY BUS-I-NESS!” But instead, just to solidify my newfound status as the Madwoman of Leaside, I screeched, “Laugh it up now, kid, because, you see, I know where you are going to end up. Oh yes! You, kid, are going to end up in jail because you are an evil little bastard.” 
381374 01: Katharine Hepburn Appears On The Set Of The Film 'The Madwoman Of Chaillot' In 1969 In USA. Actress Hepburn Won Four Of Twelve Oscar Nominations For Best Actress And Starred In Such Classic Films As 'The African Queen' And 'On Golden Pond.'  (Photo By Getty Images)

And as they hopped on their bikes and peddled away like competitors in the Tour De France, all you could hear aside from the gentle falling of leaves, was the screech of, “Oh yes, don’t think I don’t know!!! You mark my words, you giant knob, you shell of a human being, that’s where you’ll end up if you don’t do some soul-searching! Jail, do you hear meeeeeeeeeeeeeee? JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I stood there, my sweaty body reflected in the shadow of his raised middle finger, and let my heart-rate come down. Then I walked back to my car, passing my tiny stiff little friend. You have been avenged, I thought.

Then, I felt insane.

Good insane. 

I keep checking the mail for a lawsuit. Nope. Just Christmas catalogues.

Barbara: Deb, I’m here to confirm­­––between horrified outrage (at boy) and weak laughter (at you)––that this whole thing was indeed kind of insane. Idiot-child’s senseless action and screaming mama slash Dirty Harry slash morally decent protestor’s response. I feel I can say this to you only because a) you know how much I love and respect you, and (most importantly) b) I have experienced this kind of insensible insanity myself. It is a delirious, almost sexy kind of rage. Because it’s so friggin’ righteous.

Of course there’s the car-jacking incident, but, oh, there are sooooo many other times I can hear the echo of my own maniacal, hoarse, outraged voice screaming at some (very deserving) hooligan or other. I can feel the unfamiliar hot blood coursing through my usually calm warm veins.

I wonder if your outburst ever visits evil boy in his nightmares. I wonder if you’ve changed his unfeeling ways. I wonder if this would be called “fool for thought”.

I also wonder if there isn’t some little squirrel angel looking down upon you now as you pass through his old ‘hood, giving you a little furry nod and bow of acknowledgement and squeaky gratitude for defending his honour. 


  1. Jail or dead young. That's what it's like here.

    Also, remember what studies say about children who are cruel to animals. *shiver*

    Deb, you intervened. Good for you.

    Lately, I have dealt with:
    1. The bratmonster who assaulted the librarian.
    2. A bully in my son's class STABBING HIM IN THE ARM.
    3. A girl in my son's class attempted suicide because of bullying.

    This summer at the pool, my boss chased a pack of boys (10-14yo). They dropped a backpack while fleeing. It was full of cell phones and a pistol.

    Where is the parenting? Who raises these little lost causes? How do you have an 11yo who can stab someone? How do you have preteens carrying a gun? How do you have a preteen who will beat an old woman?

    In 2004, my Grandmama died. She had been care giver for my cousin because my uncle is a drunken cokehead. Her house was across the pasture from his, and my little cousin went back and forth as need be. Two months after her death, on a Tues. night, Mama called. My aunt had called her. My uncle had gone off the deep end and was going to jail. My cousin (age 10) would be put into foster care on Mon. I dropped everything, called a lawyer friend, and then tore across the state to get my cousin. On Fri., we were in court, and my then-husband and I became my cousin's temporary legal guardians.

    Growing up with my uncle as his father, I'll leave it to y'all's imaginations how screwed up my cousin was. OK, whatever you imagined, it was 100 times worse. He menaced our son to the point that kiddo's pediatrician was worried about his stress weakened immune system. He tore up our house. He had temper rages. The pervasive thing was the lying. Every breath that child took was to tell a lie.
    One time, a neighbor and his teenage son had to chase my cousin down the street and catch him and bring him home for me in a thunderstorm.
    We tried to build a new life for my cousin. He had everything he could physically need. We took him for counselling. We took him to the doctor. We spent HOURS of each day helping him function through the basics of life. We strove to instill morals. We nurtured, struggled, and loved. Above all, we loved.
    Well, I say "we." After a while, it was "I." Then-husband pretty much checked out. The time my cousin was with us ended up being the beginning of the end of our marriage.
    Most of our friends withdrew. We weren't welcome in their homes because of my cousin's behavior (esp. the friends with daughters). We became socially isolated.
    The final straw was when we ended up in the middle of a police investigation because, while at a babysitter's, cousin ripped my son's clothes off. Then the babysitter made some huge mistakes in how he handled it. (Long story.)
    When my uncle got out of jail, he reclaimed his son. It was a relief. But, the guilt and regret still hurt. I couldn't save my cousin from himself.
    The reunion lasted a few weeks before an uncle called DHS to go out to the farm and check. The social worker seized my cousin. He went into an orphanage. The children's home lasted less than a year. When he knifed a kid, he got sent to the juvenile lockdown.

    We offered him a brand new life, and he rejected it. Lost at 10 years old and unable to grab the lifeline that was tossed to him.

    Deb, you may not have made an impression on the squirrel spitter. But, you certainly did on the other two boys. We have to keep fighting for our children. Both the victims of bullies and the bullies themselves, for the little beasts whose parents let them live like Lord of the Flies, for the starved, scared, and neglected. There is no room for bystander apathy.

    So, you shrieked like a banshee in the street. YOU CARED.

  2. Too funny on so many levels. But didn't it feel good to explode? Loved this rant.

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  4. @Rigel, I'm so sorry for young cousin and for you...That's a bitter, dark road to have walked and while you've probably made peace with it intellectually, I'm sure its an ongoing struggle to absorb the reality of a future stolen from a child.

    Deb, now you know that its not really like its depicted on Six Feet Under where the corpses stand around imparting life lessons to the undertaker right? You're probably aware that its even less likely that the little deceased furry guy, however much a child of the universe and equally valued as the trees and the stars, would have been able share much in the way of wisdom with the humans. Ergo...some bastard kid horking on a dead small size rodent was not worth a/ you clogging your arteries b/ you wading out into a fracas with an unknown force.
    Personally, and I take on most comers, I'll say gone are the days when you can approach a kid with a rant, deserving or not, as you are certain to get a "Fuck You!' but also playing the odds as to if you get a knife between the ribs....Leaside or nay! The kid was a time-waster...Save your ire for when it can effect change you lovely you! i.e. The woman who was extremely insensitive about your beloved dog's passing...Now she could have done with some of this.

  5. It's bad enough that beautiful is dead but then why did they have to spit on it? Evil people. Bravo deb,they deserve everything you told them plus a whole lot more. They are headed down the wrong path. Someone really needs to tell them that,that sort of stuff will not go when your an adult. if you ask me that's children that was not told right from wrong. Bravo Deb,really.

  6. Wow! Deb that was so funny. I'm speaking strictly to the raging on the rotten little squirrel "spitter". Sounds just like something I would be inclined to do. Good for you for having the courage to say something to the little evil doer.

  7. Deb, even though you might have looked slightly crazy, I think you did absolutely the right thing. I would do the exact same, except I'd probably be less articulate due to angry sobbing. But seriously, that kid is evil and I'm glad you showed him that people DO notice when he acts that disrespectful and cruel. Even if you didn't manage to affect him, it sounds like his friends won't be forgetting that for a while. Seriously, you're fantastic, and I don't think you wasted your time a bit; standing up for a life, no matter how tiny and cute and squirelly, is always worthwhile.

    Also, just so you know, this is Megan (Luke's Megan) here! Like I told you, I read every blog you post, but I'm not usually the commenting type... I felt like I needed to voice my support today, though. Anyway, hope you're doing well, and lots of love!

  8. Good for you for speaking up. Too many of us see upsetting things and say nothing.

  9. I thought about Deb's evil squirrel spitter as I was driving home a little while ago.

    In addition to the whole saliva on a rodent corspe thing, look at how he interacted with Deb.

    Now, unless someone or something intervenes to steer this child onto a better path, imagine how he is going to interact with his future wife (or, more likely, babymama) and kids as an adult. It's too sad to contemplate.

    Also, who wants to place their bets that he's going to be one of those teenagers who gets busted for drinking and vandalism in a cemetery within the next 5 or 6 years? *sigh*

  10. I'm still in shock at what the kid said back to you. Not only did he feel the need to desecrate the body of one of God's creatures, but then he was so incredibly disrespectful to you. Sounds like someone needs to be taken out behind the woodshed...

  11. First of all Rigel that is such a sad story and I know that the jails are full of lost causes. I don't know what causes someone to be without hope but you tried your level best and I hope that you feel no guilt at all. You did more than most people would do and at great cost to you. Yes Ruth if only a woodshed were handy or maybe I should have made him rake my leaves!Katie May or may not, thanks and love the new name.Thanks for the support Mellisa, I would do it again. But in a different way I think. Lyndsie you're right, wrong path. I wish I could have spoken to his parents. I hope for his sake it was isolated but...Annette, true words and if I could do it over again, I would have remained calm and still spoken to him. But I swear to you, the sight of it just sent a shock of pain right through me. And Megan, God bless you the gentlest creature I know. I know how you love animals and I appreciate that you broke your rule and spoke up on this one! xo

  12. That child's total lack of respect for you tells a story, doesn't it?

    I've been in that spot where you just lose it and try your best to set an unrelated child straight. That sick feeling after and the replaying of the event in your head.

    You did the right thing. (and you made me laugh)


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