la Ketch

my life story

Friday, June 02, 2006

don't be cruel

As I’m sure I’ve hinted at on this blog before, I was a very confident, bossy and sometimes very cruel child. I was the oldest of the group who played on our block and I reined it over all of them. All games were played by my rules. My younger sister got the worst of my cruelty but the meanest thing I ever did had to do with this other kid who lived a block over. His name was Eric something or other and he was a little younger than the majority of us and on top of that he wasn’t so bright. He was also really big for his age, tall and fat and had the huge mop of blonde hair. He lived with his mother who was beautiful and bought him extravagant toys and bicycles. He had a really cool bike that he rode around that looked like a dune buggy dragster. It was low to the ground with a bucket seat, two big wheels in the back and one small in the front with a steering wheel. If he hadn’t had that bike we probably wouldn’t have played with him at all.

One day I decided to play a game called “Lobotomy”. I had probably recently learned what this was. My dad had this round light in his workshop in the garage that was on a retractable wire. You could pull it down to the level you needed and then tug and it would ride back up to the ceiling. It looked like something Frankenstein would put on The Monster’s head to get some life flowing. I think you can see where I’m going with this…

It’s so horrible but we lured Eric into the garage with promises of candy, tied him to a chair and pretended to give him a lobotomy. He was scared shitless and he cried and we finally let him go and he ran away. He still came around after that but not nearly as much. I’m almost certain he never told on us. I’m sure he didn’t want us to think he was a tattler. He was probably also really embarrassed.

We didn’t hurt him physically but we terrorized him and I think that on many levels, that is worse. The torturing of this kid is a memory that comes back to me now and again and I like to think of it as the meanest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I like to think that it will remain as such. I often say a little prayer to this kid, telling him how sorry I am. I hope for his sake, that he considers that experience the cruelest thing anyone ever did to him. Unfortunately, it most likely isn’t. He was a very easy target.

The other memory I have that has to do with my being a mean little girl is when I punched Cindy Hagen in the stomach. Cindy Hagen lived across the street and she was the youngest on the block but also she was the toughest. She never, ever cried and we were all in awe of her bravery. One day I started grilling her on this. She was sitting on top of this fence about three feet high at the end of the block and I was standing in front of her, surrounded by the usual suspects saying something like, “You never cry. Why don’t you cry? I’ll bet I could punch you in the stomach right now and you wouldn’t even cry.” And she said, “Yes I would.” And I said, “No you wouldn’t.” And she said, “Yes I would, TRY IT.” So I punched her in the stomach and she fell backwards off the fence, flat on her back and knocked the wind out of herself. When she finally caught her breath she was bawling like a baby and she promptly ran home and told her mother. We couldn’t believe she was actually crying. I felt bad about punching her like that but at least now we knew that she could cry. It had to be done. We all disbanded and I went home. I was sitting in my room about 15 min later when her mother, Shirley Hagen, a very jovial lady but not one to be trifled with, came to the door. My mom answered and Shirley LAYED into her. Told her exactly what I had done and that she expected me to come over and apologize immediately. I remember the words she used very clearly, “Cindy is very tough. She does not cry easily. La Ketch had to have hit her very hard and she didn’t have any reason to. La Ketch is a very mean little girl. She is a very mean little girl. She is a very mean little girl.” She said it three times.

My mother was of course beside herself apologizing. I had to go over there ten minutes later bawling and apologizing to Cindy. My dad almost killed me. It was a definite turning point for me and my cruelty.

The reason I’ve been thinking about all of this is because I had a horrible, horrible dream last night. In the dream I, along with one of my good friends, murdered three people. We shot them as they begged for their lives. It was pre-meditated and a sort of politically motivated crime. I had a strong feeling, especially when we were doing it, that we were doing something right. We took the bodies out to the road and somehow made the people who lived in the house where we shot them think that they had hit them with their car. It looked like we would get away with the murders but my emotions quickly turned to dread. I can not describe how horrible I felt, how low, the doom. I had killed. There was no turning back. It was a very Raskolnikov sort of feeling (he’s the protagonist in “Crime and Punishment” if you’ve never read it).

I started realizing that the only way to absolve myself was to turn myself in and spend the rest of my life in jail. I remember telling myself in the dream, “it’s going to take many, many lifetimes to get over this.” Time seemed so long and I was sick with grief. Then I woke up. Imagine how happy I felt when I realized that my biggest problem was that I had to go to work. What a relief. I loved work in that moment. Work sounded great.

I was still contemplating my dream when Eliott and I were tromping in the tall grass on his morning walk and I thought to myself, “The chances of me actually murdering someone in this lifetime are very low.”

Well, thank God for the little things.


At 3:28 PM, Blogger tina said...

They're really low.

Love you to pieces.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger ketchummccabe said...

Where was your mother during all of this!!!!

At 11:40 AM, Blogger schoolmarm75 said...

Ramona Quimby meets Welcome to the Dollhouse. Large Slice of Cake has been telling me to check out your blog. It's great!

At 11:48 AM, Blogger A Large Slice of Cake said...

Wow, now I think I know what has led us to each other, LaKetch...we were both mean children! Whenever people talk about others who bullied them needlessly and made them feel bad, I'm like, "Yup, I might have been that person." Gotta love the guilt, but also the absolution of knowing you're a better person now...mostly.


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