Citizen Wausau

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Smashing Pumpkins

by on October 15th, 2007

An Open Letter to the Presumably Young Vandals Who Smashed My Kids’ Pumpkins

Dear Miscreants,

A few days ago, we took our kids, ages 4 & 2, to Helene’s Hilltop Orchard to choose pumpkins to carve into their first-ever jack-o-lanterns. The kids went on a hayride that we thoroughly enjoyed while other passengers endured my son’s excited shouts about being driven by a real tractor. After enjoying a snack of apple dumplings and chocolate milk, my sugar-fueled kids ran around the pumpkin patch while Grandma helped them choose the perfect pumpkin. It was just the type of perfect fall day I had envisioned three years ago when we moved our kids here from the over-taxed, smog-ridden, crime-infested cesspool I fondly call Milwaukee.

Those yet-to-be-carved pumpkins were on our porch less than 12 hours when you reckless bandits smashed them to pieces in our driveway.

While my four-year-old helped me clean up the mess the next morning, she asked me repeatedly, “Mommy, why did the mean people do this?” Hmm…good question, indeed. You’re probably the same misfits who threw an egg at my neighbor’s car last week. But what makes a teenager, who not ten years ago was carving their own jack-o-lanterns, want to mar the Halloween experience for other kids?

Young delinquents such as yourselves often like to put the blame on society. Your lives are entirely controlled by adults, and society doesn’t send positive messages to your generation. You’re not allowed to skateboard in public, and you’re treated like a criminal when you walk into a store carrying a backpack. With all of the reasons you find to feel put down by society, I guess I’m supposed to be grateful you just smashed our pumpkins instead of shooting up your school.

Or maybe your concerns are a little less idealistic and a little more selfish. Your mom won’t buy you the Hollister hoodie you want, or the girl you like totally trashed you on MySpace.

It’s also possible you smashed my kids’ pumpkins for no other reason than you wanted to feel brave and look cool in front of your friends. If that’s the case, then it’s pretty rich that in the midst of your cowardly run from our yard, you tripped on the ropes holding up our big inflatable pumpkin with such force that you ripped them from the ground and knocked it over. I’m guessing when you were sprawled out on my lawn face-first, looking pretty much like a moron; your friends had a good laugh at your expense. I would have paid to have seen that, but I arrived on the front porch about twenty seconds too late.

After pondering all of these reasons for your deviant behavior and trying to come up with something to tell my 4-year-old, I realized that I didn’t really have any good answers for her. I just told her that sometimes people make bad choices without thinking of others feelings. I told her that when she has a choice to make, I hoped that she would remember how it feels when people do mean things to you. As she grows, we’ll continue to have talks about personal responsibility so she learns that while being mistreated by others is an unfortunate part of the human condition, perpetuating the misfortune by mistreating others is not a productive solution.

Maybe you don’t have parents who will have these talks with you, or maybe they did and you just didn’t listen because your parents are so, like, uncool. At any rate, I hope you had fun, or whatever it was that you were hoping to experience, with the whole pumpkin smashing experience.

Yet Another Ranting Adult You Won’t Listen To

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