Girls…There Are Bad People Out there

assaultA friend of mine is in her 20s, lovely and fun. Recently Jessica helped a man, a great big man, with some grant writing at his apartment.  They were friends.

The next day he texted her, saying she’d left her glasses at his place. She told him she would swing by in an hour or so.

When she got to his apartment she heard him yell, “They are back here in the bedroom. I’m working on that paperwork from last night.”

She walked into the bedroom and there he was, still in bed.  Her glasses were on the bedside table, not in the living room where she’d left them. Embarrassed, she reached for the glasses, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her down, on top of him. Jessica  hit him in the face with an elbow then threw up on his bed, scrambled free and ran out of the apartment.

She was assaulted by a “friend” and thankfully got away.

I don’t know but I suspect this happens all the time. Most smart young women are far more naïve than they realize. They are also kind and trusting, they are good people who really  want to help. And they assume everyone is just like they are. But there are rat bastards in the world and they are the ones who recognize this naivety and take advantage of it.

When I was in my twenties I had a very similar experience.  I was working on a newspaper story about long distance truckers.  On evening I spent a couple of hours in a big truck stop with my 35mm camera and  little tape recorder listening to their stories and asking endless questions.  We were talking about the sleeping conditions in the back of the trucks and this super charming trucker asked if I’d like to look at his truck and take some pictures. He seemed so nice and really wanted to help me. But something rattled around in my naïve head and I said “no thank you”.  He got so angry then and I’m absolutely sure he would have tried to rape me had I crawled up in that cab. He know I was smart but innocent,  foolish and naïve.

As women we want to help people, we want to reach out and be kind. And sometimes people take advantage of that desire to do good.

A year ago my daughter Mary and I  were waiting for a Mega bus in downtown Little Rock. Mary is very tall and shiny and beautiful. It’s impossible for people not to look at her. So, we were standing in a parking lot with ten or 15 other folks when an energetic guy approached  us.  He was chatting it up with everybody, kind of dancing around and making jokes. He was funny but it was obvious by his actions and the crowds re-action we should keep an eye on him. But Mary and I were too friendly, too trusting, we didn’t want to seem rude or snobby, so we  smiled at him, nodded at his comments and that’s all he needed. He took our friendliness to be weakness I guess. He wanted a ride, he wanted money, he wanted to talk some more. When he wasn’t looking we started trotting toward our car, managed to get in and lock the doors before he started chasing after us, making crazy loud bird noises and trying to open the back door. I had to do a donut and jump a curb to get away from him.

I don’t want all the girls to become hardened bitches. But it is our job, as adults, friends and parents to make sure they understand their are crazy people out there and there are bad people too.


The Power of A Crazy Mom

A cool crazy mom can be a beautiful and terrifying woman. An inspired moment of insanity can remind your children who’s really in charge and that’s a lovely thing. As parents, sometimes we work so hard at remaining sane we forget the importance and power of crazy. As a result four and five year old kids push us around like grocery carts.

We want our children to be happy and healthy and normal and we don’t want them to be spoiled or mean. So we try to be civil and kind and patient…all the time. Maybe that’s not a good thing.  Becaue we don’t want our kids to be nuts so we avoid doing anything that suggests crazy behaviour is ok.

My ex-husband used to call it “the rich glint of lunacy.” I still love that line.

Remember some of the most inspired and brilliant men and women of science, art and literature were toe sucking crazies. So, maybe we shouldn’t down play it’s importance too quickly. But before you start throwing crazy behaviour around like bird seed, remember a little bit goes a long way.  If you’re crazy all the time everyone, including your children, will just shrug, dismiss and avoid you.  They will be unfazed and unimpressed, no matter how off the wall your actions are.  A person who is constantly crazy becomes  boring and bothersome.  (Trust me I know this from first hand experience).

One day I took my children, Jack and Mary, to Burger King. I think Jack was five and Mary was four. We rolled through the drive-in and got two Happy Meals. Back then Happy Meals were a big deal because I was single and really broke. Both the kids were in the back seat. They ripped into the paper bags to check out their toy. ( Nobody opened the toy because I had a rule. They had to eat every bite before they could pull open the plastic bag with the toy inside.)

In the exact same instant, Jack and Mary both started whining and complaining. There was a chorus of “Oh man, what a rip off! We have this toy. This stinks. I hate Burger King.”  This was followed by much sighing and groaning that seemed to go on and on and on.

I could feel my throat constricting with annoynace, disapointment then anger. “Ok, put all the stuff back in the bag,” I said cheerfully. 

“Ok cool!” they started shoving their Happy Meals back together.

“Even the drink?”

“Yup, put it all in the bag,” I smiled into the rear view mirror. “Hand them up to me.”

They put the still warm bags of food into my hand, happy because I was going to return to Burger King and get new toys. A traffic light turned red and I stopped then  I rolled down my window and threw the bags out.

Jack and Mary both gasped but did not speak.

I rolled up the window. “Don’t ever act like that again. Don’t you dare whine about a Happy Meal toy. You understand?”

“Yes ma’am” was all they said and we drove in silence.  Once home, I fixed them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

They never whined or complained about a Happy Meal or fast food toy again.

Better still, they shared this story over and over and over  with their younger brother and sister, because it’s kind of scary and thrilling and dramatic. There was no yelling, no abuse, no threatening.. just unmitagated volatility.  And I can not remember a time when any of my children have ever complained or whined about a Happy Meal toy since that summer day nineteen years ago…

Sometimes, a single  act of insanity has lasting power and tells kids there is a line that should not be crossed. And if  they do cross that line, they might be surprised by the results.

Tell me what you think about the story or Happy Meals! Leave a comment or e-mail me at

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