Sunday, August 16, 2009
Don't Get Even, Get Odd
I am exhausted. A broken-down treadmill, a spindly-legged white wood table, a conical -- and comical -- yellow metal Christmas tree and two very large boxes filled with junk blocked the driveway when Annika got home late last night from time out with her friends. She entered laughing. And texting. Seems the friends decided to deposit a load of leftover garage sale junk at our house. A prank. A very funny prank, to my still juvenile mind. The kids came over soon after and -- isn't this nice? -- put all the stuff back in Tyler's truck. Good guys. Then they came inside. "Mom, we have some hungry teenagers here." We offered string cheese, Doritos, and popcorn. Easy crowd. "This is so great," I told them, "because I've been wanting to do just this very prank to some people and now I've got the stuff to do it with." Matt looked at me as if I were joking but I assured them I was not. Oh no. I'm serious. Very serious. PTSD does funny things to people. It left my brain with a hankering, no, a craving, an almost uncontrollable urge to do mean pranks to mean people. It started soon into the recovery period. "Let's deliver flaming bags of poop!" my friend suggested, joking. I wanted to do it. The very first reading I did as I started to think again in coherent passages was to surf the internet for "Prank and Practical Joke" threads. I printed out a few hundred pages of possibilities. It occupied my mind -- and offered the sweet promise of revenge -- for months. Eventually, I compiled a book of my favorites. My family got worried. Insomnia was also part of the package. I was awake long after everyone else had gone far far away into REM sleep. What if I took the car one night and did these deeds? What if I did post crime-scene tape and leave a chalk drawing of a victim on the sidewalk of someone's house? What if I had a load of sand delivered to the home of the man who stalked me? I am proud, I guess, to tell you now that I never did a thing. Not one. I helped my friend teepee her neighbor's house one night a couple of years ago but that's it. That wasn't even on my list. I've been very good. All things considered. No prank phone calls, no tomb stones on the church lawn on Halloween, no loads of crap in anyone's driveway. But, oh the temptation. Last night. Here was a ready-made opportunity. And I had six teen-agers all hepped up and dying to do the deed for me. "Just give us the address," Tory begged. "We'll do it!" "Ah, c'mon!" they urged. "We won't get caught. And you won't even be involved." I tied myself to a chair and put a sock in my mouth. This is so hard. My fictional alter-ego will not be so pure. She is going to haunt and annoy the perpetrators of dastardly deeds, relentlessly. Maybe. But not me. Not the real me. I did get odd but I can't even imagine how I could ever get even. Ever. I can't do it. I think this is a sign that my brain is healing. I hope so. Impulse control. A good thing. But, exhausting. I am, according to my family and friends, less odd every day. It does occur to me to wonder, do you think nations could ever get to this point? Maybe a few pranks (more of these another day) would be good. Just don't ask Cuba to do any teepeeing; they have a critical shortage of toilet paper at the moment. What if Poland left a pile of junk on Russia's driveway?