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Strove to find a way to punch people in the face by using the Internet.

3/26/2006

DIARY OF INDIGNITIES
He Only Killed the One Guy And I Don’t Think Ever Actually Ate the Baby
Despite being unfit for most types of human interaction, I was a champion babysitter.

In fact, in ninth and tenth grade, I was sort of a kickass babysitting mercenary, called in by frantic parents of monster children, people who were desperate for a night out on the town but couldn’t hire a regular sitter at any price because their kids were so horrific. Most sitters in the area were just, like, girls, who might have — at worst — been sexually molested a little by a beloved family member or two but certainly not exposed to the kinds of horrors I had survived, such as the Tribunal of Sapphos or the Moss Man, and weren’t equipped to handle a real Damien or two.

So having been forged in the fires of Webelo I was made of slightly sterner stuff than your average 13-year-old girl, and, yeah, I will brag on that a little, thank you very much (even if I suspect it might no longer be the case). But even more important to my success was the fact horrific monster children loved me. After all, I was one of them. My personal proclivities are were perfectly in line with theirs, and had cash not been involved I would’ve been happy abdicating from any sitter duties to instead encourage horrific monster child activities, which back then typically included setting fires, stabbing a Barbie in the head with a steak knife 317 times, and running around in tight little circles screaming and banging two frying pans together until completely out of breath.

Because the only food Dad allowed me to eat was stuff I bought myself, though, I developed a money-generating babysitting strategy out of pure self-interest. Basically, this was a delicate balancing act where I convinced children I was, in fact, encouraging forbidden monster behavior while simultaneously giving parents the impression their little beloved little hellspawn were in responsible hands, freeing them to go off and smoke up a rock of that good crack down at the Orgy Hut. Or whatever.

We didn’t have roofies back then, so central to my little ruse was a game called “kung fu.” Nanoseconds after hearing the parents’ car leave the driveway, I’d bellow “KUNG FU!!!” at the top of my lungs and me and the kids would commence to lightly kicking each other in the face for an hour or two, until they were either exhausted or unconscious, and I could just chuck ‘em in bed and commence to the good stuff: the sweet spot between beddy-bye and parental return where I made good money gorging on snacks, hunting for the porno stash, and soaking up that sweet, sweet cable TV with no adult oversight.

God damn, what a great scam. It sure beat mowing lawns, which as far as I was concerned was a sucker game for short-bus dudes who were too stupid to not be hot or afraid of bees. On a good night I could get four or five unsupervised hours where I’d just be cramming handfuls of Cheezits into my mouth, drinking gallons of Choco Charm and watching mind-bending shit like Hell of the Living Dead, an Italian zombie flick set in a jungle where genius director Bruno Mattei spliced in anthropological footage of real-life aboriginal funeral rites featuring actual corpses. This life-affirming piece of cinema also features a child zombie that eats his mom before getting his brains blown out, a chick who thinks she needs to whip her boobs out to commune with a wholly unconvincing non-spliced gang of natives, and a climax where a zombie rips out the heroine’s tongue, jams his hand up in her head through her mouth, and pushes her eyes out of their sockets, from the inside.

Oh, and what about Xtro, the delightfully repellent British movie about evil space goblins? It had a murderous midget homunculus, a woman who dies after getting mouth-humped by an alien tentacle and subsequently giving birth to a full-grown man who bites off his own placenta, and Maryam D’Abo’s attention-grabbing and extremely perky hoo-hahs. Or the original Toxic Avenger — not that fake shit they tried to pawn off a few years later, but the real deal, where the kid on the bike gets his head squashed by the evil teen hijinx, and they show it, by gum, not puss out and cut away. Or, jeez, what about just anything on Cinemax after 10? Talk about your hoo-hahs! So many beautiful hoo-hahs on the Cinemax... So many. So, so many.

Yes sir, they knew how to make a damn movie for kids back in those days, something that would really make you think. Made me feel damn glad to be alive, sitting on a couch watching hoo-hahs and grotesqueries while eating a piece of ice-cream cake sandwiched between two Pop Tarts, and not all dead and gooey and eye-sockety, or out there mowing a hot-ass lawn full of fucking bees.

These gigs were made even sweeter because Dad was too cheap to spring for cable — even basic. Babysitting was the only chance I ever had to engage in the preferred ritual of my immediate circle of friends, sitting in front of the TV for six hours hoping MTV plays “Institutionalized.” It came on once when I was sitting the legendarily nefarious Hart brothers and we went totally apeshit and I fell down and twisted my ankle, which made a sickeningly loud pop. First thing in the morning my left foot still sounds like a kitten got caught in your fan belt, 24 goddamn years later. Happy now, Dad? Happy with my crackly ankle?

Man, not only was Dad tight with a penny, but I’m pretty sure he was suspicious of all the hoo-hahs and zombies and general enchantment cable could potentially bring to our lives, and wanted no part of it. Eh, maybe it’s just as well. Cable would end up being just another hoop for me to jump through... I already had to put on a veil and a Herb Alpert record and do the Harem Girl Dance for Dad and his buddies every time I wanted to go in the pool. Who knows what crippling toll he’d demand before loosing the chains of sweet Cinemax?

One time while sitting, after this one kid went to sleep, I hit play on the VCR and there was a dirty tape in there, one featuring a lady hosing out another lady’s cooter with a, uh... Well, a cooter hose, I guess. It was smaller in diameter than your average garden hose and seemed better equipped to reach awkward nooks and crannies. Anyway, Cooter Hose Friday was a glorious day, I tell you what. It really opened up my young mind to a lot of possibilities, and, if you couldn't already tell, I can picture that magical hose like it was yesterday.

The parent was a new client, though, and I guess one with a manageable child, because she balked at my two dollar an hour price, which I swear was the goddamn going rate at the time, and never hired me again. Shit, if I was smart I would have bicycled back over there and renegotiated, cut some sort of deal on the sly where once or twice a week she’d leave that cooter tape in the machine and I’d smack around her stupid kid for free. In the interests of scientific research, of course.

Kids, if you’re reading this and not sure what a VCR is, all you need to know is it was a magical box we used to look at cooters back in the 1980s, years before the Internet became such an efficient medium for delivering your pornography.

Anyway, the kicker to all this babysitter shit comes 20 years later, when I find out that because of me one of the kids I sat turned out to be a serial killer who totally, like, ate a baby!

OK, not really.

Really I only bring all that shit up because babysitting is also responsible for the first time I drove a car, and this was supposed to be the lead-in, but I got carried away.

Really, though, the driving story is a tale for when the gibbous moon hangs yellow and full in the autumn sky and the night wind hints at Old Man Winter’s sharp kiss. Or, ah, maybe next week, we'll see how it pans out.

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