Friday, August 30, 2013

Creation of a Psychopath - just add dead squirrel

There were two girls, seven, maybe eight years old, on the sidewalk a couple of blocks ahead of us.  They had a stick.  They were moving something onto the road with the stick.  Having walked down the road earlier that day, I knew that the thing they were moving into the road was a dead squirrel.  See, I remembered, because I'd thought to myself upon viewing it earlier, I wish I had a bag.  I could pick the poor bugger up and take it home and bury it.  But I hadn't had a bag, so I'd left it there, dead on the side of the road.

But these little girls, done up in barrettes and braids, clad in colourful dresses, were moving this dead squirrel further onto the road.  David and I shared a look.  I ain't gonna lie.  A shudder literally went down my spine.  Why would two little girls push a dead squirrel further onto the road?  Most little girls wouldn't go near a dead animal even with a stick.  I found myself thinking, If that was two little boys, they'd be doing it to watch the squirrel get flattened by oncoming traffic.  I caught myself short.  As if a lack of empathy is a predominantly male trait.  Like only boys burn ants when they get a hold of a magnifying glass.  As if the male of the species has the market cornered on the steps to psychopathy.

The Grady Twins from Kubrick's The Shining

So we watched from a distance, as these two giggling girls pushed the squirrel carcass out and then hid behind their privacy fence.  As we passed, we could hear them tittering.  We really should have stopped.  We really should have asked what they were doing.  We really should have called them on it.  Or at least drawn the attention of any proximal adults. 

"Hey!  You!  Yeah, YOU, with the stick in your hand and pink barrettes in your hair!  What are you doing to that squirrel?"

"What squirrel?"

"The dead one, the one that we just watched you push onto the road."


This is when I should have crouched down and got eye to eye with those girls and said,  "Being cruel to animals, even dead ones, isn't cool kids.  It means that you lack empathy.  And when you lack empathy, your bladder weakens and soon, very soon, you'll not only wet the bed, but you'll pee your pants while you're awake and everyone at school will point and laugh at you and say, 'Those are the girls who did bad things to animals.'  You will be labeled as 'troubled' and spend all your time in the Principal's office and never make more than minimum wage.  Nobody will ever date you and when you are old and ill, your wheelchair will be left on the shoulder of the 401 with a sign on it that says 'HIT ME.' "

That would have only been too much if I'd actually said it out loud.  Instead, I kept my mouth shut and will have to live with the fact that Sally and Susie Psycho will continue to roam the streets.

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