Friday, April 24, 2009

Don't Make Me!

Women are once under attack in Afghanistan. Not that there was a time when they weren’t, but the Taliban now feels comfortable enough with their growing power that they have become bolder in their gender perversity. No school, no health care, no walking alone unescorted, heads, arms and legs covered, young girls forced to marry old men and have babies, death for being raped – and death in the funeral pyre if their husband happens to die. And, by the way, if all the husbands died it would be a much happier country. Death tolls are up in Iraq. The economy still sucks and torture memos abound. Here’s what I don’t get about torture. Why would you torture someone hundreds of times to get information. If the guy didn’t give it to you after the first brutal interrogation, chances are you are not going to get it after 100 dunks underwater—or whatever your torture of choice.

When things are looking grim, I try to find something fun to think about – it always seems to help. And it seems I never have to struggle for a thought. Like yesterday, when I was a bit down in the dumps about losing millions of dollars (I wish), I turned on the news and there was something that made me smile. It took me back to when my children were little and, (because I have two only children), as we were driving, they would have a fight with some friend. I would suggest they stop screaming or hitting or whatever their torture of choice happened to be (it was torture for me not them). And at some point I would say—on the top of my lungs—“don’t make me stop this car!” In most cases they would settle down and continue to annoy one another in hidden ways, at a lower volume. If they were hitting, they would cease and desist, at least until they were out of the car.

Madlyn Primoff is described as “ well-known only in legal circles as a top-flight lawyer at a white-shoe Park Avenue law firm, where she specialized in complex international financial disputes.” She’s also described as having an Ivy League degree (my mother would say smart,smart, stupid) and living in a two million dollar home – but it’s Scarsdale so it could be a dump. Stopped the car and made a 12 year old and 10 year old get out. Apparently the 12 year old ran after the fleeing parent, and got back in the car. Maybe she wasn’t fast enough, maybe she was too stunned to move, or maybe she was just too stubborn to give in, but the ten year old was left by the side of the road. Luckily a good Samaritan, rather than a rapist, pervert or murderer picked her up and delivered her to the police station. When Madlyn came to pick her up, she was arrested for child endangerment.

My first thought about the whole episode was, “didn’t she have a nanny?” Someone she could pay to put up with bad behavior. My second thought was, “I bet she was on the phone doing some of her top-flight lawyer business and the kids were interrupting her train of thought. My third thought (yes I did a great deal of thinking) was “I bet her GPS was screwing around with her and she was frustrated beyond belief.” Our GPS plays gotcha all the time. Like it gives up directions that say turn tight and when we have gone 1/4 of a mile it says, “take a right, take another right, take another right”, which means “you idiot, why would you have listened to me. Now turn around and go back in the correct direction.” Our GPS (I forget her name) has a British accent, which makes you think she’s elegant and would never deceive you, but alas, that is far from the reality.

Anyway, the mother dumped the kids and now she has to be embarrassed in front of all the other lawyers, neighbors and her spouse. Just imagine what it would be like to explain to your spouse that you had a hissy fit and left the kids to fend for themselves. Not something I can fathom under any circumstance. I get why, if you don’t have any patience and you lose it (it happens), you might pull over to the side of the road and get out. I even can understand how you might make them get out, pull away about 100 feet, and then back up. But what was going on in her mind that she did not think it through.

When my kids were little I would say, “If you don’t behave I’m going to count to three.” Sometimes, if they were very angry or misunderstood, I would get to 2. I never had any idea what I would do if I actually got to three. It never happened. But the counting gave them and me and few minutes to change the tone.

I flashed to the women and children in Afghanistan, and I thought about how those women struggle every day just to stay alive, while this mother and so many others in wealthy nations, have the luxury of thinking they are entitled to treat their children without concern or respect. The act of giving birth brings with it some kind of responsibility and there is never an excuse just for being a jerk. We’re just sayin’...Iris


Anna Wang said...

This is probably considered to be torture (Chinese water torture?) but I have put my girls (I know even my most well behaved girls) in a cold shower when they completely lose it. They get wet, I get wet, but we all calm down.

Not recommending it...but it doesn't leave a mark, on the other hand, don't tell the police.

Iris&David said...

I love the shower thing... I think the family that bathes together saves alot of money on water

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