A Bit About Me

My photo
Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

07 January 2011

Candy is dandy...but sicker is quicker

I've been in a writing slump lately - I think it's a combined "health issues, have no job, and I'm sick of reading more heinous ways people can kill each other" type of thing. So, if I'm not up to my usual "fun self" - well that is why.

Back when I was a child, my mother would always remind me not to take candy from strangers.

This, to a child in my era, seemed a bit strange in itself.

In my day (which was pretty much the 60s) you didn't hear of kids getting abducted - I knew of only one and it was quite a few years before my time: Charles Lindbergh's baby. And while it took place in New Jersey, it was supposedly for money and our family had none...so I was pretty much off the hook.

In Jersey where I lived, we got the Philadelphia news; and if things didn't happen in the generalized area of their broadcasting antenna, well, we never really knew about it. There were other things taking precedence anyway...mainly the Vietnam war, hippies, drugs, free love and rock and roll. There was also all this racial tension in some place called "Birmingham". But I was a kid and kids aren't too keen on watching the news religiously...so much of it was a blur to me...and so far away.

Closer to home, i.e., the Philadelphia area, we'd hear about fires engulfing homes once a week and killing a couple people and the obligatory "jack-knifed truck on the Schuylkill Expressway". I swear there was always some 18-wheeler lying on its side on that road every single day of the year. But pretty much this was the routine I was brought up with. And, if you didn't take candy from strangers, play with matches...and didn't play in traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway, you were pretty much guaranteed to lead a fairly long and uneventful life.

During my childhood years it was also typical for parents NOT to discuss such things as child molestation, sexual predators and pedophiles...and the resulting consequences of these. Heck, a couple of these terms weren't even coined yet.

I'm not stupid, I know these things went on since the dawn of mankind...and certainly were taking place in the 1960s and 1970s, but it seems so much more commonplace nowadays and it's probably due to instant information via the Information Highway. Face it, someone "goes missing" in Burlington, Vermont and people in New York City and Seattle, Washington (and all points between) hear about it roughly the same exact time. This didn't happen back in my day.

But I remember once when I was around 12 or 13, my friend and I were walking to "the beach" in my town in Jersey. It wasn't really so much a beach as it was a murky cedar lake with a set expanse of sandy shoreline...but we were walking along a dirt road shortcut as we always had every other time we went there.

Halfway through our walk, which was 3/4 of a mile at the most, a guy in some car pulled up next to us and asked if we'd like a lift. My friend and I, totally oblivious as to what type of pervert he probably was, said "No" and kept on walking.

There was no obvious overt sense of danger we felt we were in - plus he didn't offer us any candy...just a ride.

Despite these facts, he kept following at a snail's pace directly behind us as we continued walking and talking down this relatively isolated dirt road...the beach literally within our sights...and surely within walking distance. It was also within running distance, and for reasons I'll never quite understand, we both got an extreme case of the "heebee jeebies" at exactly the same time and broke out into a full on sprint to put as much distance between his car and us.

As you might have guessed, nothing happened, and we lived to go to "the beach" (and marvel at our instant cedar water tans) another day...and another...and another...

...some children don't.

And it's not just strangers - most times it's someone they know. And I think it's high time to start a much more aggressive approach for the sake of all our children.

That "candy" line we were all fed when we were kids - was plain silly - especially when Halloween rolled around.

I tell...and have told...both my children that there are people out there who torture and kill kids, dump their naked bodied in ditches on the side of the road and...very often...horrible heinous things happen before and after.

I don't Google photos to show them nor yank out a Hieronymus Bosch painting to get my point across, but a good scary dose of Stephen King-type terror isn't necessarily a bad thing in my opinion.

And, let me just address something which has been stuck in my craw for years - and I basically think this has a high basis in fact:

Not meaning to sound flip...but if you are going to get abducted - let's just hope you are a pretty blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white girl - as those are the only ones it seems get any full-out media attention.

Think about it, when was the last time a national manhunt was called for a missing homely Haitian girl? A Native American girl with a wonky eye? Someone Hispanic with an overbite? Any black girl??


And it's so incredibly sad. I'm sure caring parents of ANY child is just as concerned about their child...and that child deserves the same treatment as that given a flaxen-haired beauty -- a missing media darling who becomes the press's eye candy.

I find that strangely disturbing.

(Orinally written, but not published, a couple years ago.)


  1. At least the laws in America are a lot stricter than what they are here: when a child molester is released from jail, his name appears on a list as far as I know, right? We don't even have a proper, working fingerprint database around here. During the 2010 World Cup so many young girls, starting from the age of 5, were abducted. And our kidnappers don't discriminate: black, white, yellow, you name it, they wanted it. Sadly, it's still happening and not much is being done about it. So don't feel alone in this situation; things aren't that pretty here either. Unfortunately.

  2. Well the kidnappers here don't discriminate, either...just the media.

    It just seems the blonder and prettier you are - the more air time you will get.

    And, yes, you are right - there is a database online which shows child molesters - and where their last known address was. But, if they don't register where they are it doesn't help much...plus they all have cars. I think all of them should be forced to wear monitoring devices like ankle bracelets to track where they are at any given time.

    It's just so incredibly icky - and I swear the press likes to go into too much detail when a death occurs. I still say it gives others ideas - and so do television and film.

  3. Great piece, Mariann, glad to see you back!

    Loved the Hieronymous Bosch reference. If you've never read Michael Connelly's novels, you'd be interested to hear that his lead character (spanning several books) is a detective named Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch. He refers to the painter all the time.

  4. Thank you, Chris.

    And I have never read anything by Connelly...just remember those creepy paintings as a child.

  5. Kudos for getting the spelling right on "Hieronymus". Now I won't have to chastise you. Unless, of course, you like a bit of chastising. Who the hell knows what you're "into" these days! Oh wait, I remember, it's "chastity". My bad.

  6. I get a kudos? For spelling a word right I double-checked on Google? Wow. Do I get an award to post on my blog, too? Please. :)

  7. I think that's a great idea: " ... to wear monitoring devices like ankle bracelets to track where they are at any given time."
    What would be even better is if you could have a remote control and if he pops up on the website which shows he's in your neighbourhood, you give him an electric shock. A little perverse, I suppose, but it'll do the job. ;) And I agree about the media being like bloodhounds seeking sensation out of the whole kidnapping; it was Ed Gain who was the 'inspiration' for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs and Psycho. Kind of sad, really, how we give these monsters access to our minds and homes.

  8. "I'm sick of reading more heinous ways people can kill each other."

    Good God, Mariann, this line seems almost prophetic now, doesn't it?

    This is a great post, and sadly, so true.

  9. Dear Mariann,
    thank you for dropping by and leaving a scrumptious compliment. So YOU'RE the famous 'Blogged Down'! I enjoyed the note before I even knew from whence it came; now that I know it feels twice as good. And I do hope I see you back there. (No smitings/stompings, I promise) Today I'm starting 'Wanna-be Wednesdays' to offer people a chance to drop a line or two on what they'd do if THEY were god (instead of Me). A few days ago I asked people for new 'Reasons to believe/doubt' and got some really good ones; Paris vs Paris debuts in a short while. You're invited to do either if you like.

    Why American men should boycott American women


    In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.


  11. oops, I had meant to comment on this and forgot!!

    I agree that things like this have been going on since time has begun-however the media is so much more apt to report on them. Also, I believe that people have become more and more "icky" as time goes by...it is so very sad

  12. MY WIFE has been saying much the same, concerning lack of news coverage for non-white missing children, for years now. I agree with her, of course, and I'm glad to hear someone else voice it so clearly.