Homicidal Ideation

by doodaddy on October 1, 2008

Close your eyes and imagine this:

  • You’re at a playground next to a dog run.
  • Your two-year old daughter is between you and the playground gate that someone’s left open. (This being a big city, most of our playgrounds are surrounded by low fences.)
  • You suddenly hear the sounds of dogs fighting in the dog run.

That was the situation yesterday. No actual danger arose, but in my zealous parent’s imagination, the story continued:

A snarling and unleashed pit bull burst through the gate, its predatory instinct homing in on my daughter, who stood between me and the danger. (Sorry about the anti-pit bull prejudice, but hey, it’s my dark fantasy.)

I drop my coffee cup. (My daymares are full of oddly specific details like this.) Within five seconds I reach Boo and pry the dog’s jaws off her leg.

And then (in my imagination, remember) I kill the dog.

As it’s biting and clawing at me, I slam it viciously against playground equipment over and over. I break its neck and toss its body down the hill. I have no regrets.

Finally, dog dead, my mental flight fades and returns me to the actual present, standing in our safe and dogless playground.

I was disturbed by the violence my brain had just conjured — I’m not a physical guy and besides that, I love dogs. And yesterday wasn’t the first time I’ve been visited by such dark thoughts: it happens all the time, with imagined threats like strangers at the grocery store or reckless drivers. And every time, I, Mr. Pacifist, kick some serious ass.

It’s not hard to surmise what these mean dreams mean: I’m (sort of) an alpha male now, charged with protecting a family. Primal instinct is a bitch.

And, of course, just like nighttime dreams, these silent plays have a lesson for me, too. Back in reality, I walked calmly to the playground gate and closed it.

Paranoia? Sure. But closing the gate keeps the invisible put bulls out. And it’s better to be (imaginarily) safe than (pretend) sorry.

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tagged as in dreams,fears,playground,worry ·

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Xbox4NappyRash October 1, 2008 at 10:30 am

I love the way you are so embarrassed to be male at times.


Backpacking Dad October 1, 2008 at 11:08 am

I’m always entertaining thoughts like that.

It’s practice. Prep-work. I hope the world doesn’t turn out to be the kind of place where I need it.


Erica October 1, 2008 at 12:13 pm

I tend to not be the normal female, but I have those same violent daymares. Before Sophia I was always protecting myself but now I’m snatching up my baby and kicking serious butt protecting her from evil forces. Maybe I’m just a Xena Warrior Princes wannabe. *smirk* I don’t know how normal it is for a female, but I’m certain it’s normal for a guy…even a pacifist.


Dan October 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I mentally kill dogs myself. I’m a dog lover, but I don’t trust the buggers; especially around my kids.

I was always told that the best way to do it is by yanking their front two legs apart as hard as you can, it breaks their ribcage and punctures their heart.


doodaddy October 1, 2008 at 5:41 pm

@Xbox4NappyRash – OMG, I really did step in it. Is this just a male thing, like noticing-but-not-noticing the pretty ladies?

All this time, I just thought I was loopy… Well, I am, but not for this reason at least!


doodaddy October 1, 2008 at 5:42 pm

@Backpacking Dad – Yeah. Sadly, I think I’m also seen by some as one of the potential threats sometimes… you know, only guy in the playground and all that.


doodaddy October 1, 2008 at 5:43 pm

@Erica – Well, Xena totally rocks (but there I go being a guy again), so I’d say you’re doing things just about right. I had a major thing for Gabrielle, too, before she cut her hair…


doodaddy October 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm

@Dan – Um, thanks. Good info!


orlund October 1, 2008 at 8:00 pm

When I was a paperboy many years ago a dog nearly bit my throat. Now I don’t know if I would rip the dog apart with my bare hands or run away with my bare hands but in my daydreams I am superman.


mom, again October 2, 2008 at 3:51 am

another woman who would tear animals limb from limb to protect her children.

embarrasingly, once when my daughter was being 17 in public, even though I was the one who’d just bought lunch I pretty much said this out loud. I complained about her lack of consideration; as mothers of teenages sometimes pointlessly do. My statement slid into something about how I’d throw myself in a volcano if needed to save her life, but the way she was acting lately I couldn’t be sure she’d answer the phone for me. The look she gave me wasn’t too much worse than usual, but the grandmotherly looking woman beside us was trying hard not to actually laugh out loud.


Jerri Ann October 3, 2008 at 6:37 am

Ok, I have a real fear of dogs and dog bites, so take this daydream ok.

The drug dealer who lives across the road from us (yes, I know, but it really is not a bad neighborhood, it just so happens that this dude is family, bought family land and happens to be a hoodlum) has a very mean rotwieller (have no idea how to spell that but you know one of those big ugly mean looking dogs) and it stayed chained most of the time. Well, if the dog every got loose, everyone in the neighborhood would run for cover.

So, my kids are accustom to hearing, “gabby’s lose, we have to go inside now”. That has carried over to any and every dog they have ever laid eyes on.

My youngest son, 3.5, will hold too fingers about 1/2 inch apart and say, I wike wittle dowgs. But the fact is, both of my boys are terrified.

And, if we ever encounter a dog I am not sure of, I start mentally going over all the rules, cover the kids’s face, lay on top of the kid and bury your own face and pray for hope to come….yea, right…

Now, daydream on that for a while…ack!


doodaddy October 8, 2008 at 2:20 am

@mom, again – Yeah, I know that teenageriness a lot better than I know little kids. I worked with teens for 15 years before going in to my current line of work — and, amazingly, I’m finding the parallels between 3 and 16 pretty stark!


doodaddy October 8, 2008 at 2:22 am

@Jerri Ann – What’s amazing to me is that when I was growing up on a nice suburban street, we had a drug dealer neighbor, too! He had a pit bull and he (the drug dealer, not the dog) was really nice to us neighborhood kids, always let us play with the brand new video games and pool tables he had in the garage.

The pit bull attacked a neighbor dog late one night — my dad beat it off with a sprinkler key. I think Animal Control took it after that… maybe that’s where my memory is coming from?


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