Remember the backyard in your 'hood that swallowed Frisbees whole? Where perfectly good footballs would have to languish because you were too afraid of the curmudgeonly homeowner to retrieve them? Your mom said the kid-killing neighbor was just urban legend, but an 11-year-old shot for playing on a lawn in Cleveland, Ohio this week is bound to scare a whole new generation of kids out of claiming their pigskins from the lawn of the creepy guy up the street.
Charles DuBose is in jail after he allegedly decided the best way to remind little Ivhan'e Merritt and a pal that they were playing too close to his car was to warn them with his shotgun. A bullet grazed Merrit's liver, but she's been released from the hospital and is on the way to recovery (thank goodness).
Which leaves DuBose. And a new urban legend in the making. Scary guy doesn't just hack up little children and eat them with fava beans if they get in the backyard. He shoots them right out in the open!
The funny thing about adulthood is that you start to understand the "get offa my lawn" mentality. Everyone's sue happy these days, and being responsible for the safety of someone else's minor child is stressful. I don't like to host playdates for my own daughter's friends unless I know the other kid's parents well enough to know they aren't going to freak if their kid gets stung by a bee in the normal course of playing in the yard.
It doesn't explain that kook from 25 years ago with the dark windows who made weird noises when the kids walked by, does it? Oh well, it sure makes me feel a little less "old," when I look at the neighborhood brats inching ever closer to that patch of grass outside the house and I start planning where to hang that wiffle ball in my shed. Where is my Metamucil?
Kids don't belong on other people's property. But come on! They're kids. They wander. And whatever happened to that whole "it takes a village" mentality? Heck, whatever happened to talking? Even an old-fashioned "get offa my lawn" from the old woman in her curlers with the bathrobe flapping worked.
You think the sue happy people jump the gun? Consider an ex-Marine named Charles DuBose who went running for his literal gun when an 11-year-old stepped too close to his car. With real flesh and blood guys like him out there, who needs legends?
Was there a creepy neighbor in your 'hood? What kinds of things did the kids think they were up to? Anything like this?