We Got Your Danger, Stranger

This one goes out to the guy in the elevator who has no idea how close he came to being mauled to death by two small children and their babysitter (who is actually their mother but is so youthful in appearance and demeanor I’m sure you thought it was their babysitter). This is for you, sir.

True: We may have been a smidge on the antisocial side when we stepped into the elevator that day. It had been a long afternoon. We didn’t say hello or ask how you were doing or pass out party favors and ask for song requests. We just settled our collective gaze on the floor.

It didn’t occur to me that maybe you were waiting for me to say something. (You seemed busy anyway, cramming that granola bar into your mouth like a tree into a chipper-shredder.) But I did pick up on your hostility when I sensed your head turn and aim right at our little three-person huddle. Not a quick gander, mind you. A lingering, purposeful glare from two feet away, for a full minute.

I don’t like being stared at. Moreover, it ain’t cool to stare at my offspring. So you were already giving me the heebies before you piped up with this:

“HELLO to you, too. YEAH, I get it. Strangers are DANGER, right? Especially with ‘kids’ around.”

(Quick note here, Creepy McCreeperson: You don’t need air-quotes around “kids.” They’re not “quote-unquote” kids, dumbass. Not metaphorical kids. Actual kids.)

Pause. Now I need to back up to the night before, so you have some context on why you almost died in the moment following that comment.

Perhaps you’ve heard some of the news reports lately about some guy who’s been driving around attempting to snatch kids out of their front yards? We have. So we had just that evening before had a family chat about what to do in that case. In as matter-of-fact a way as possible, we ran through a few situations: What if you’re in the front yard and someone drives up? What if they say they know your mom or dad? What if they have a gun? Same instructions, no matter what: SCREAM and RUN.

Brother and sister followed me around for the next two hours posing scenarios such as: What if the stranger is on the roof? What if the stranger is hiding in the mailbox? What if the stranger has an invisible car? What if the stranger pulls his face off and he’s really an old lady in a mask and she looks like Mrs. Claus?

Me: Scream and run.

Her: But first, I should probably poke his eyes out, right?

Me: Nope. Just scream and run.

Him: I could do like this in really deep voice, “You will BACK AWAY NOW OR I WILL LOOK INTO YOUR BRAIN AND MELT YOUR MIND.”

Her: Or I could punch him and punch him and punch him until he throws up all his guts, and swing my bookbag and cut off his legs and be like, BAAHAHAAAA! [wild karate moves]

Him: And I could be like, “I WILL SET YOUR SOUL ON FIRE!”

Me: Just scream and run, babes.

That night, my husband and I chuckled, knowing that our son was probably upstairs practicing firestarter-eyes in the mirror while our daughter was carving a shiv out of a doll’s leg to stick in her sock just in case.

So you see, sir, when it was just the four of us and “Rhythm is Gonna Get You” on Muzak in the elevator, you probably didn’t realize what you were up against. You could not have known you were in the presence of not only a mama bear willing to go all kinds of apeshit on your ass to protect her cubs, but also a child who believes he can kill you with his thoughts and another who fancies herself Chuck Norris. Otherwise, you’d have known that using the terms “stranger” and “danger” with this crowd was like cracking a bomb joke right next to the most violent little TSA agents at the airport.

You may not have noticed, in that split-second, when my daughter looked up at you, then back at me, wide-eyed, like, “Is this it? Is this WHAT I’VE BEEN TRAINING FOR??

You may not even have felt it when her brother began incinerating your insides with the powers of his mind.

And it probably went undetected when I slid my hand into my purse and uncapped an EpiPen. Yeah. That’s how people with allergies roll. We pump your eyeball full of epinephrine before you even know what’s hitting you, motherfucker.

But you were aware of none of this, I suppose.

The chime sounded; the doors opened; and you just stepped out. You didn’t even break into a run.

Lucky timing for you.

Rhythm is gonna get you, and if it doesn't, I will.
Four people went in. Only… well, all four came out. But it was close.



  1. Him: What if he’s dressed like a Power Ranger?

    Me: scream and run

    Her: What if it looks like my teacher, but it’s really not my teacher, because they have the power to change their face?

    Me: scream and run

    Him: What if we’re trapped in an elevator?

    Me: scream and … crap.

  2. I LOVE your blog. This is great. I am always amazed by creeps like this. Like somehow they are offended that you have taught you kids to be cautious. Nevermind that he didn’t actually give YOU a pleasant hello when you stepped in. I hope his insides melted just a little bit by your son’s super-power eyes. I have heard self-defense people say that it is better to offend someone than to take a risk. Amen to that…only you said it way better.

  3. I love this. LOVE IT.

    I mean, theoretically, I’m sorry that you had to deal with that. In reality? I am DYING OF LAUGHTER. So thanks for brightening my morning.

  4. This is so freaking hilarious. I wish I could’ve seen the look on your daughters face when she thought she’d get the chance to bust her Chuck Norris moves!

    BUT — at least they know what to do in those situations 😉 and the dude will get his the next time he runs into either of your kids.

  5. Such a great post. I love that all of you were there ready to fight to the death to protect each other and to set a soul on fire.

  6. This is hilarious! But also, what the hell was that guy thinking? Beyond being flat out rude, he was being completely unintelligent. Did he think that being confrontational was going to elicit a kind response? People never cease to amaze. Strange cookies. Thanks for the laugh! Happy Blogmas!

  7. OK – so I have to let you know that I am sitting in my car about to go into an appointment for work and I have just laughed so hard reading this that I cried my mascara off. Yes, laughed so hard that tears were pouring from my eyes…the kind of guffaw that you want to share with a great friend and then realize that you are sitting all my yourself, in your car, in a parking lot…Damn! You’ve got talent…and a cute family 🙂

  8. […] in the name of Athena’s flashcards I’m doing most of the time. (Which is why I almost never write about parenting here.) I just try to apply some method to the madness, focus on what might be the most important […]

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