You know how certain jobs in life are filled by certain types of people? Engineers are often sort of obsessive compulsive, people who work at the food co-op are funky granola with dreads, shrinks are whack jobs? That kind of thing. Well, I am of the opinion that volunteer positions are like that, even more so. Jimmy Carter is an example of that in a good way; members of ELF- bad.
The people who work at our local Humane Society act like they’ve got the next Dalai Lama over there waiting for a new home. Seriously, you could adopt a newborn baby easier than you can liberate a stray kitten from the pound. They force you to watch gross movies about the evils of de-clawing (I know already!) and you have to fill out a form that asks: "If you’ve had an animal die in your home, state reason." I naively wrote, "cat 21 years old" and this woman stared me down and queried, "But WHAT did he die of?" And you have to put down a sum equal to the down payment on a house that you can’t get back until you take in little gonads in a jar, proving you had the cat neutered…
Anyway. That’s all off topic.
Do you have Neighborhood Watch? We do. One day a year or so ago this extremely odd (NERDY) couple walked up my driveway while I was happily gardening. They both walked as though they had oak trees up their you-know-whats and I thought they were selling funeral plots or something so I was relieved when I found out all they wanted was my e-mail address so they could put me on the Neighborhood Watch mail group. These were my concerned neighbors who wanted to keep me abreast of crime. Giving them my e-mail address was a big mistake.
This couple has a direct link to the police department front desk. They
don’t have children. I figure they got turned down at the Humane
Society. They don’t garden or play euchre. All they have in life is the Neighborhood Watch weekly
newsletter. Now, every Tuesday afternoon at 405 PM, EST, I get a lengthy e-mail detailing, almost verbatim, every call that’s come across the sergeant’s desk. They also describe in painstaking detail any incident that they think is remotely shady. Somebody’s car got keyed? I know the license number. A garage door open, perhaps inadvertently forgotten by the owner? They’re looking for a description of the perp. A window broken? I know what time it happened plus I get a 24 point list instructing me on how to close up my house.
Last summer, we got three e-mails in as many days, all flagged urgent. Guess who was the target of auto theft? There was a great deal of evidence collecting, speculation, hypothesizing and dramatic online wringing of hands. They even set up an anonymous tip line- not through the police or anything official, just "neighbor-to-neighbor"- where we could call to report suspicious people. Then there was a gap of a couple days followed by a brief e-mail reporting, with no small embarrassment, that their nephew decided to "borrow" their 1998 Jeep to go joy riding. I guess after that first crazy impulse the nephew realized exactly who he had swiped the car from and he was afraid to return it.
I don’t read this newsletter very much anymore- it makes me way too anxious and paranoid. Michael Moore would make a film out of these missives (and claim it’s a government conspiracy). So I either delete or skim lightly and delete. Yesterday, unfortunately, my eyes dallied on an article about "Cyberbullying."
Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an
imbalance of power or strength. Usually, it is repeated over time.
Traditionally, bullying has involved actions such as: hitting or punching
(physical bullying), teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying), or
intimidation through gestures or social exclusion. In recent years,
technology has given people a new means of bullying each other.
Cyberbullying, which is sometimes referred to as online social cruelty or
electronic bullying, can involve:
* Sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images;
* Posting sensitive, private information about another person;
* Pretending to be someone else in order to make that person
* Intentionally excluding someone from an online group.
Do you think these two have a blog? Watch it or I’ll report you for "online social cruelty." In the meantime- lighten up, buck up and remember:
"The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who’s spending time investigating it." —George W. Bush, July 18, 2005
McCloud weighs 22#. Sophie weights 8#. Who is the bully? All I will say is that McCloud has been trying every day of the past two years to sit in Sophie’s spot by the heat vent. Without success.