So I’m hanging out in the living room tonight, around 12:30am. The wife and I are still awake, our daughter has drifted off to sleep beside me, and our son is just about to fall asleep after a couple hours of fighting it. Both dogs are settled in for the night as well, when there is a noise. 4 notes breaking the silence and peace of my evening. It’s my doorbell being rung twice quickly. Ding Dong. Ding Dong. At first I think it may be in the movie that I’m halfway paying attention to. My wife quickly corrects me and says that it is our doorbell. I look out of a couple of windows, being cautious not to be seen in case it’s someone dangerous. I don’t see anyone outside but I can’t just leave it be. If there is someone out there, then they could be testing us. Seeing if we’re awake, seeing if we’re home. I don’t like unknowns. Welcome to the world of the psychopath.
So I do what any suburban living psychopath, who is terrified that his family will someday come under attack, would do. I proceeded out the front door with a .45 caliber handgun (loaded with hollowpoints) on one side of me, and a 100 pound dog (give or take) on the other. I take a look around my dark street and see two shadows moving across the street three doors down. They’re darting into the backyard of my long distance neighbor. I shout down at them, “Get the fuck home!”
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was awakened. Two of my other neighbors were outside of their doors as well, one of whom is a fireman (who happened to already have the police on his radio). We all realize that they just ran into a backyard that backs up to nothing but a busy road. They’re on foot so they’re probably not going on the road, and the only houses around are on our side. We have them pinned in. So the three of us, and my dog, proceed to cut them off at the next intersection. Much to my surprise it wasn’t the 13 year old boys tying to prove they have balls, that I suspected. No, it was two girls around 10 or 12 years old.
One of my neighbors asked them what they were doing. Being complete morons, they told us they were going for a walk. So I asked why they were going through a walk through another persons yard. An equally moronic response of, “We weren’t.” I explain that I just saw them running through his yard, and that as we speak they are still in the backyard of yet another neighbor. Their response? “We’re not allowed to talk to strangers.” As I laughed at their idiocy, my neighbor quickly sympathizes. “You know, you’re right. Let’s call the police so that you guys can feel safe and protected while talking to us,” he responded. Girl 1 starts to cry.
Girl 2 then tells me that they weren’t doing anything. “Really?” I respond. “I thought you were going for a walk?” She replies, “Maybe we were trying to ring some doorbells but it didn’t even work.” At this point she’s broken out the junior high snotty girl tone. I was turned down by enough girls in my day using that same tone to absolutely hate it. I then explain, in my pissed off father tone, that it did work just fine because I’ve got 2 barking dogs, 2 scared kids, and a pissed off wife. My neighbor concurs that he has the same, minus the dogs. We then offer to escort them home…you know to protect them from strangers, and to make sure that there parents know that they’re safe. Girl 2 starts to cry. Keep in mind, she has 3 grown men, 1 of whom is about 250+ pounds, one is shirtless (and possibly drunk), and the other is a gun toting, dog chaining maniac in a Fruit Loops t-shirt. Yep…you’re in Indiana now bitches.
Long story, slightly less long, and they ended up walking home in tears. No cops were called, no parents, and we all went back to our homes. Oh, and no shots were fired. Where the conflict came is that I’m still a pretty young guy. It wasn’t that long ago that I was doing stupid shit like this. Egging cars, TP’ing houses, ringing doorbells, starting random things on fire, etc. Part of me (the father, homeowner, paranoid freak) wanted to reprimand them and scare the shit out of them so that they’d never touch my sidewalk again. The other part of me (prankster, delinquent, all around stupid kid) wanted to chastise them for doing this so poorly.
Failure #1: They rang 3 doorbells that were adjacent to each other. Always a bad idea. Much higher likelihood that more than one person can confirm your appearance, or the time it happened.
Failure #2: They were still in the damn neighborhood at least 90 seconds after they rang the first bell.
Failure #3: They tried to escape by running into what is essentially a dead end.
Failure #4: They walked right toward us. They give up on their escape and trusted their very poor skills of lying.
Failure #5: No backstory. “Our dog got out and we’ve been trying to find her.” It’s simple, can’t be easily disproved, and is totally plausible given all of the circumstances. “I’m sorry, we rang your bell to see if you’d seen the dog, but then thought better of it because it was so late, so we walked away.”
yeah I was a stupid kid who did stupid things, but I did them quite well. To this day I’ve broken many laws, some major some minor, and I don’t have a thing on my record. it’s because I was careful (when being reckless), smart (when being stupid), and above all I was a damn good liar.
Moral of the story here. I guess for those of you who are like me, be careful and don’t shoot a 10 year old who was trying to prank you. But for the young girls out there, DON’T be like these two idiots. It may sound like a wild and exciting dare to go ring the doorbells in your neighborhood, but getting yelled at by 3 angry guys may be the least of your concerns. What would have happened if that moving shadow had been on my property instead of a neighbors? It’s hard to judge age, sex, and most importantly intent when it’s dark. That could have ended much worse for all of us than it did.
What would have happened if we weren’t the three guys who stopped them on a completely dark and abandoned road? There are plenty of guys out there who are looking for more than just uninterrupted sleep. 2 more minutes on that road and you’re just another flyer hanging in a wal-mart. All for what? To not look like a wuss in front of your friends? For a cheap thrill when you’re bored at a sleepover? Hell, just get some pot and stay the hell home. It’s safer, you’ll have more fun, and you won’t get shot by me. 🙂
This leads me to a realization though. I’m a pretty young guy to be in my situation. I’m the youngest guy on my street by almost a decade. At my daughter’s orientation for Kindergarten, I was the youngest guy by at least 5 years if not a bit more. I’ll be 40 when she graduates high school. This always seemed like an advantage to me. I figured that I would able to relate to her more easily because the troubles of childhood wouldn’t be so far removed. Now I see that it may be better to have them further removed. When she’s coming home drunk at age 13, will I be punishing her for being so irresponsible, or will I be coaching her on ways to avoid getting arrested for MIP? When she comes home high for the first time, will I explain the dangers of drug use, or will I show her good places to hide her stash? The list goes on and on. I hope that I can manage to strike the balance between understanding, and guidance. I hope that I can convey the lessons that I’ve learned, but still in the perspective of her own experiences (which are mildly fresh in my mind). I guess nothing much has changed. I still just hope to be a better parent than what I had. I still hope that she looks at me in 13 years with the same eyes that she does now. Love, respect, and total acceptance of who I am.
Until next time