Pepper and Empowerment
Most teachers think that there are three major learning styles: the audio learner, the visual learned and the kinesthetic learner.
But they overlooked the pepper spray learner.
I learned about this after walking my dogs, two friendly terrier mixes named Bitsy Boo and Mookie Moo. While taking them out on their daily sojourns, I happened upon some kids and a few adults who used to stop and pet the dogs and ask for the names and ages.
Included was the aunt of a seven year-old boy, whose mother had lost custody of him over drugs. It appeared that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree on that one because the aunt appears to be from the same tree as her sister.
Yet I was polite enough anyway and limited my conversation to “hi,” “bye,” “nice weather we’re having” and “Gee, you look so happy when you’re walking your nephew to school.”
After that last one, she stopped talking to me and ran into the house and shut the door whenever we passed by. You’d think I had leprosy or a social disease or something. Believing I didn’t, I thought about it for a second, digested it and moved on.
Then about a fortnight after the last door-shutting incident, I see her prancing around my building as I descend the steps with Bitsy Boo and Mookie Moo. Her hair is long and stringy, her skin is pink and puffy, and she has bad posture. She is in need of a makeover. I see a scene coming but keep on walking because it is late and it is time for the dogs’ afternoon constitution.
I open the gate and hear her say, “You said my nephew has problems,” which is something that I never even uttered. I did, however, offer to find counseling for the boy after I noticed him fighting with the other kids on the block and isolating himself and after he told me he didn’t think he was very smart. That and a drug-addicted mother did it for me, so I broached the subject with his father and offered to hook them up for low-cost counseling from a list from my job, but he was ahead of the game and said he had already gotten help.
But the aunt doesn’t appear all that interested in my attempts to do good, so I keep walking and lay my hands on pepper. For a while, it was just me, that spray and the dogs, who have no idea what it going on because they’re thinking about eating, relieving themselves and other dog-like things.
I walk to the end of the building and see her friend who also starts yelling at me and telling me to mind my own business. The irony of this is not lost on me because she’s never seen me before that. One thing is certain, though. They are both higher than a NASA space shuttle.
A neighbor pokes his head through the gates of the garage and tells them to bugger off. The mail lady stops sorting the mail and starts yelling at them as well.
The friend lumbers after me like a drunken welterweight. The power surges through my veins, and I let pepper do its trick by letting her have it right on the jaw. When she doesn’t flinch, and I realize that this isn’t what the manufacturers had in mind.
That’s because of some unforeseen glitches in my use of the product. One was that I didn’t know that it is better to shake the canister every-so-often. The lady at the weapons shop told me that a person’s skin would turn colors with this spray, which didn’t happen because she gave me the wrong information.
But something must have worked because they left and trounced down the street never to be seen or heard from again. Afterwards, I went to the police and filed a report against this Bozo pf an aunt and her Bozo as a friend leaving so small detail spared.
Empowerment is a many splendored thang.