“…they did the monster mash…”

So, we just celebrated Halloween and for some reason I started thinking about the creepy people that I’ve had experiences with. 😲

Bill and I were driving back from Indiana and we stopped at a Taco Smell (we’re living large, folks 🙄). After eating our tacos and “power-bowls”, which include black beans which Edward snatched from me and then farted out for 70 miles, we walked Ed around the area so he could pee. There was a guy by the take-out entrance and Bill was walking a bit behind me. The guy yelled: “Hey…your dog is cute!” So, like an idiot I totter over to him and he’s wearing a ‘security uniform’ that fit him horribly: the pants were inches too long, the shirt was too large, etc. Anyhoot, I wanted to give this ‘dog lover’ a chance to pet my Ed but when we got to him, he didn’t reach down to pet him or anything. He just stood there and smiled at me in the creepiest way possible. Then, Bill sauntered into sight and I said I had to go.

The really weird thing was how the guy was parked. His car was not pulled into an actual parking spot, and now that I think about it, he didn’t have any take-out either. He parked so his car was facing the street. I got a vibe from him that made me get goosebumps and Bill felt the same. Eddie didn’t jump on him and just kind of looked at me which is definitely out of his character (he jumps and loves on everyone 🥰). SO…as we were driving away, Bill said this: “That man was going to kidnap you!” Yes. I know what you’re thinking…”why in the name of all that’s holy in this world would someone want to kidnap me?” Answer: because I was there! Listen peeps…it gave me chills.

My poor dad always had to sit by me on our family vacations!

Once, when I was flying home from Texas after visiting O in Fort Worth, a guy was seated next to me and he was wearing a trench coat (seriously!), clompy shoes, and he had an old style iPod (it was a real antique 😐). The flight was getting bumpy and as my family can attest too, I get motion sick very easily 🤢 . I literally (I hate it when people use that word but why the hell not?) can’t ride in a backseat of a car because I’ll barf, and even watching the ticker tape words under newscasts makes me get the dry heaves. Charmed, I’m sure.

Anyhoot, I told the guy this: “I’m probably going to puke and I’m really sorry if I do and I’ll aim the puke bag and my head away from you.” He said: “That’s OK and I’m glad you are talking to me because you remind me of my counselor.” Oh. Ok. I said: “Hmmm. So, were you on vacation in Texas?” (All the while I have that bitter, icky taste in my mouth…I’m sure I smelled yummy… 🙄). He said: “No…I was just released from the hospital.” Me: “Oh no! I hope you’re OK! What hospital?” And he said (get ready for it…): “The North Texas State Hospital.”

So, to make a long story even longer and more boring, we yacked all the way home and I didn’t barf at all (I was kind of proud of this 🤨). When we exited the plane, I noticed that the man sitting across the aisle from us led him out and there were cops by the baggage claim. After I got home, I looked up the hospital and it’s for the criminally insane. No joke. The hospital has 400 of the WORST criminal offenders in Texas who are…well…insane. Lord knows why he was in there but he seemed nice. However, I was glad I didn’t puke on a potential serial killer, upset him, and then have him come after me like Michael Myers in Halloween. Just sayin’. 🎃

I was also freaked out in an Uber while in Texas too. I used them all the time to go places and on this day, I was going to my son’s Verizon store to see him (actually, to bug him 😛). When the Uber pulled up, I got in the front because the back was full of stuff and there wasn’t room. To be honest, I didn’t even think about this. After about a minute, the guy turned to me and said I was beautiful. Well, right away I knew he had a screw loose. He kept talking about how lucky my hubby was (apparently not…🙄) and how he wasn’t married. Anyhoot, I knew the way to O’s store like the back of my hand (which I actually don’t study much since it now has age spots and looks like my grandma’s hands did 😕) and before we got to his exit, the driver took another one and we started driving in the country! I am hear to tell you that the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up (the only other time this has ever happened was when O was bullied in the 2nd grade and believe me, I wanted to bully the little brat back badly 😬). My phone was in my backpack purse which I was holding and I started to text when the man said: “I want to show you Texas.” I told him I had seen it with my son who was waiting for me and that I just received a text from him (I hadn’t…O wouldn’t realize I was missing until 2023 🙄) saying he was tracking me and wanted to make sure I was OK. Then he said this: “Will you get drinks with me tonight?” I said I sure would (not), just to appease him.

When we got to the store 20 minutes late, he gave me his card and come to find out, he was a State Farm Insurance agent (I use Geico and love love love them 🦎). I told him I’d call him in a bit to make plans, grabbed my pack, and boogied out of the car. When I got into the store, I was crying and shaking and the Verizon sweeties ran to me. I told them what happened and we called the police and Uber. And here’s the thing…the entire time this was happening, I was thinking about what the Dateline special about me would be like: “Kristi, a professor from IL, vanished while on her way to eat hamburgers with her son in Texas. Police are assuming she’s dead!” SERIOUSLY! That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking and I truly believe, if I hadn’t played along a bit and said O tracks me (he doesn’t 😐), I would have been fertilizer for the fields. Yikes.

And creepy things actually started happening as early as 5th grade. There was a guy in the other 5th grade class and he was a HORRIBLE bully who loved to pick on me. Glasses, skinny, zits, braces, mousy hair, etc. gave him a lot of ammo. One day, the recess bell rang and I was running down the hill towards the playground and he grabbed me and pulled me behind a tree (you can’t make this shit up…trust me… 😲) and put his hands around my neck and squeezed until my eyes were watering and I was red. He finally let go when he heard the teacher yelling for us and I was petrified. I never told because I was so so scared he’d hurt me worse but I steered clear of him the best I could.

Now, the follow-up: While living in Houston where he stayed for a couple of years before moving back ‘home, he actually stabbed to death a 66 year old woman (when he was 18) who was owner of the apartment complex he lived in. The case became cold until 2011 when DNA technology could pinpoint him. In the meantime, he was a registered sex offender who raped a 17 year old girl. When all of this came to light, I got chills…his bullying was just the tip of the iceberg!

So, because of all of this along with me being fascinated with the study of psychopaths, I study serial killers and teach all about them in some of my classes. Did you know that the FBI says there are over 2,000 ACTIVE serial killers in the U.S.? Isn’t that scary? And I know from studying so many of them that they look like ‘regular’ people (for the most part). Take Dennis Radar…president of his Lutheran congregation in Wichita, KS and he was the BTK killer his entire adult life. Who would have thought this husband, dad, church going ‘Christian’ would be a killer? Hmmm.

When you think about it, it makes you wonder how many psychopaths you’ve been close too. There are approximately 1,150,000 male psychopaths in the U.S. and about 16% of all male prisoners are psychopaths. Eeeks! And yes, women can be psychopaths too, but are a bit more rare. Also, female psychopaths tend to be more covert…verbally aggressive, sexually manipulative, etc. They are a ‘different breed’ so to speak.

So, I guess the moral of this post is that Halloween isn’t the only time monsters are out and about…these people (about 1-3% of the population) are around us everyday. And, like I tell my students all the time, listen to your instinct. If someone is making you feel uneasy or goosebumpy or the hair on your neck is at attention…go. When we are talking about ‘bad’ things in some of our classes, I make my sweeties repeat this to me ad nauseum after I ask this question: “What does Professor K say?” TRUST YOUR GUT! 🤨

Kristi xoxo

P.S. Ma, are you glad I didn’t say fuck today? 😁

“Is there a letter in your bag for me?” ~ Please Mister Postman

Dear 15 year old Kristi,

Howdy! Here I am in the future wanting to tell you a few things about what your life is going to be about and to give you info I think might be important to you. And please don’t roll your eyes…again…you will be 53 someday. I guarantee it.

Anyhoot, some easy stuff first: quit picking at your zits because it only makes them worse (you aren’t going to believe this, but in 2020 there is actually a show on Pimple Popping…it’s great!), use sunscreen every single day, don’t use Sun-In on your hair before your senior photos because your hair will be orange, you can shave up higher than your knees and not be a hooker (like Linda Belcher says…you’re going to love her 😏), and for the love of all that’s holy…do your freaking homework (you are going to be a college professor someday…can you believe it?).

So far, pretty easy. Right? Hmmm.

Look, when you are 16 you are going to be struggling with an eating disorder. In fact, it’s starting right now. Ma is really going to start worrying in about a year and will be sending you to the ‘best’ psychologist in Decatur. He’s a shit. Tell ma, respectfully, you want to see someone else…this is really important to do so work hard convincing her. You see, he’s going to hurt you if you don’t…in fact, he’s going to sexually abuse you. At first you won’t really understand what’s happening until you are so dependent on him you won’t be able to break free easily. So, find someone else and work as hard as you can with them. K?

Guess what? By 53, you are going to have had 3 hubbies (🙄) and yes, you will marry them all no matter what I say because you certainly didn’t listen to ma and she’s actually a lot brighter than me. Anyhoot, hubby 1 is who you’ll meet in college. And no, you can’t live on love. And yes, landlords like to be paid. ‘Nuff said on that one.

Hubby 2 is going to change your life because that’s who you have a son with! Right now, our son is 27 and he’s so amazing. He’s smart and funny and talented and your life is so wonderful because he’s a part of it. In fact, you won’t be able to imagine your life any other way. You and hubby 2 are going to be married for 13 happy years, and believe it or not, he’s a guy you are in high school with right now…but I’m going to keep you in suspense 🤨. But here’s the thing, around your 13th anniversary you guys are going to experience a lot of conflict and I wish my suggestion for you would be to try harder to make things work. But I believe the past builds on the future and that at 53 (yes, you get wrinkles and still get zits…God has a sense of humor 🙄) I’m where I’m supposed to be. Just be sure to cherish every year you do have together and by the way, read The Art of Loving by Fromm. It’s not as exciting as Judy Blume but the info is something you can use. 🤓

Hubby 3 is a wild one. Like, wild. You won’t believe this, but you’re going to marry an outlaw biker. Yep. Little prissy you! It’s not going to be easy in the beginning. He’s a troubled man who is going to push you away again and again and test you a million times in the first 2 years. Stick it out (and no, I’m not talking about physical abuse). He loves you so much and needs you so much. He’s going to realize this and become such a softer, sweeter, open guy who you laugh harder with than you’ve ever laughed before. He’s going to be the first man you’ve ever been with that you won’t have to ask “Do you love me?” because baby, you’re going to know it.

Then we come to the relationship after this divorce. Sweetie…listen to me now. Don’t go out with J. Don’t do it. He’s handsome and smart and loving and yummy right now, but it’s not who he really is. He’s a very troubled, sick man and no matter what you do, you are going to be hurt badly. Very badly. In fact, you’ll carry actual scars with you for the rest of your life. Yes, you helped hubby 3 but J is different. He’s mentally ill and can’t be ‘fixed’. In fact, he doesn’t want to be helped by you at all and what ends up happening is just a shit-ton of hurt heaped on you again and again. But, please do this for me: pray for his kids. OK?

And that takes me to something really important. Honey, you are mentally ill too. Yes, you are beginning an eating disorder right now but you are also bipolar. Let that sink in for a bit. Bipolar. I guess you are still hearing it referred to as manic depression, but it’s a serious one. You know how you feel like you don’t fit in? How you have all that crap going on in your head all the time? How you feel like you can conquer the world at times and then barely be able to face it at others? You know how you have always questioned your existence and wonder why you have to keep living your life? Well…that’s your fucked up brain talking (sorry, ma. Even at 53 she doesn’t like me to cuss…go figure. 😐) You are going to pretend and act and imitate others and hide what you are feeling so well you aren’t even going to see it yourself at times. But you need to see it! This is something that you need help with and the sooner the better. Trust me, it will save you from so much pain in the long run. Go tell ma NOW. I’ll wait. And don’t grab chips on your way back…the oil is bad for those zits. (And for fuck sakes, quit messing with them…I’ve told you once already and I’m not going to say it again. 🙄)

So here’s what happens if you don’t get help for your pesky bipolar: you are going to eventually experience a break down when you’re 51. You’re going to attempt suicide. You are going to cut yourself. You are going to lose a lot of friends. You are going to wish you could just get so far down the tunnel you’re in that you can’t see any light anymore and are basically empty to where you won’t be able to feel anything. Yes, you obviously survive this. No, I don’t want to see you go through this because I love ya. Sheesh.

And no matter what you say, I know you don’t love yourself now. In fact, a lot of high schoolers don’t regardless of how ‘popular’ they are (and guess what? High school never ends. Seriously. It’s just the same crap over and over again.) Look, I’m going to let you in on a secret: no one is looking at you. No one gives a shit about what you look like or weigh or wear as much as you do. Don’t believe me? Ask someone tomorrow at school what clothes you were wearing a month ago and they’ll be dumbfounded. No one remembers day to day…except you. Listen here girlie, when it gets right down to it, you are all you have in this world. You come in it with your own little soul and you’ll exit it with your own little soul, and no matter how many people love you, you are ultimately responsible for you. And honey, you need to learn to love yourself…take care of yourself…believe in yourself. OK? And, just a tip, but that blue eye shadow isn’t doing a damn thing for you. Just sayin’. 😳

OMG (that’s a saying we used in 2020…look it up, toots), you are going to love love love being a professor. LOVE IT! See, you won’t be able to have but 1 kid and your students are going to be your extended family. So many wonderful people will pass through your classroom doors and every single one of them has something special and unique about them that will teach you something…give you something…change you in some way. I know you are going to hate working at Hardees’ and Claire’s in high school/college, but it’s totally worth it to become a freaking professor. (By the way: always start some fries at Hardee’s 20 minutes before closing so you can chomp on them while mopping the floor. Trust me on this and don’t worry about zits. Free fresh fries are worth it. 😁)

Now, here’s some bad news: you know how ma is seeing that son of a bitch? Well, right now he’s not so bad. But, after they get married he’s going to become very violent and you are going to see ma hurt so many times that you’ll lose count. Sissy and you will try to help her the best you can and try as hard as you can to get her away as soon as possible. But, she’s not going to listen to you guys…she’s scared and in denial and at a loss as to how she got in the situation in the first place. Since you and T won’t be able to ‘save her’ until she asks to be saved, just love her and talk to her and tell her how you are always there for her. It’s going to kill you to see her black and blue. But never turn your back on her. She needs you.

And Kristi (I know…I hate our name too 😐), never ever lose faith in God. People are going to tell you how stupid you are to believe in him (even though they believe a ‘Big Bang’ that came out of nowhere caused all of the universe to be created…my point is they are both faith based to a degree) and there are going to be times where you think God has turned his back on you. God never turns his back. He’s always with you. Always loves you. Always feels for you. Thank him every single day for all the blessings you have because girlie, you have a lot of them.

Finally, a guy from high school (another secret I’m going to keep 😀) is going to message you in September of 2020. ANSWER HIM! He’s awesome and will make you feel more loved than you’ve ever felt in your life. And his voice? Sexy as hell. 😉 I know I’ve been to this rodeo more than once (shutty the mouthy 🤠) and can tell you this: he’s your last. OK?

Now, I could have told you something completely different in this letter: who not to marry…who to go out with…etc. but here’s the thing: except for me wanting to protect you from abuse, the people and decisions and behavior in your life are making you what you are today. Everyone in your life has played a role to where you are now, and I believe you are where you should be. When people ask you to listen to them, you do. When they talk about being divorced or mentally ill or feeling like they don’t want to live anymore, you are going to be able to say: “I understand.” You are going to be a hugger. A smiler. You are going to appreciate the people in your life so much and know what a gift each and everyone is. This past is making you into what you are today…and this is a pretty darn good place to be right now.

Look toots, I’m proud of you and want you to be proud of yourself now too. Sing more. Dance more. Put yourself out there more. Try more things. Open up more. Ask for more help. Give more time to family and friends. Say thank you more. Say hello more. Look up at the sky more. Cuddle with your son more. Get as many puppies as you want…carpet can be replaced. Don’t worry about wearing purple all of the time. Plant more flowers. Pick up more trash. And for fuck sakes (not even going to apologize for this one…I’m a rebel), eat dessert…first if you want.

And finally…just one more thing: for piss sakes, don’t go to prom your freshman year with that boob from St. T. But if you do, don’t buy the cream colored dress. It sucks balls. Instead, go for the red one! It rocks.

Kristi xoxo

P.S. I know I shouldn’t do this, but what the hell: In 2004 a company called ‘Google’ is going to go public. Buy some stock. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, BUY SOME STOCK. K? 😉