Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jacquie's Website

Just for those who want to follow up on the story about Jacquie Snopes, who was involved in the horrific accident caused by a drunk driver:

Jacquie's Website

Not Everyone Who Gets Hit By A Drunk Driver Dies

This is something I found out about on The chap who posted about this had originally posted it in 2007, but put it up again in May 2011.  He felt that as it was Spring and kids were out of school it would be an idea to  share this message again.
The story can be found at the following :

This puts anything that has happened to me right into the pale.  It made me sit here stunned and aching for the beautiful young woman, and the life of pain she is now living, all because of a drunk driver.

It isn't pretty, but anyone YOU know who drives while they have booze in them SHOULD BE MADE TO SEE THIS.  A few minutes can destroy many lives.

Underage Drinking Targeted

Continuing with my drinking theme.

According to a "60 Minutes" program recently, New South Wales Police have had enough - they have launched Operation Enough, to target underage drinking in the streets at night.

These are kids as young as 14 years old (probably younger). When the task force locates them, they call the parents, forcing them to come and collect their offspring, and see what they have been up to.

There was one group who had been trying to gate crash a party, and had been turned away.  One bright spark gave his parents 'phone number and when the mother arrived, she was shocked and not impressed to find that the boy wasn't her son.  He was on bail and had lied to the Police.  There was another child on bail as well, and both of these young people will be going straight back to court.  One youth cried and said he just wanted to go home.  Well son, you should have thought of that BEFORE you shut the front door behind you.

Apparently some genius had bought $60 worth of alcohol for a group of kids.  Well done, whoever you are. You are a fine example eh?

Most of the parents, admittedly unimpressed by being called out at 3 a.m., were horrified to find their kids on the street, drinking.  Kids lie, and cheat, and tell their parents they are staying overnight at so-and-so's place, when they have no intention of doing so.

One extremely fine, upstanding specimen of fatherhood, with his great beer gut hanging out, was furious with the Police, shouting at them and being belligerent.  One of the things he said?

Man, these are little kids, 15 year olds, that's what 15 year olds do

ah......sorry mate, not in our book they don't.  What hope has any child with a "father" like this?  I wonder if he was the father of the 14 year old girl the Police found drinking with men aged 16,  17 and  20 years old?  The 20 year old had been done previously for exposing himself.  She didn't seem in the least concerned.   Makes me wonder what her home life is like, if she happily places her self in such a self-destructive situation. 

One of the boys caught had been caught for the third time in a week, breaching bail.  One of the girls was so defiant and unconcerned that she literally took your breath away with her smart mouthed answers to questions.

We sat and wondered - this was just one night in Sydney's West - what on earth is going on in the rest of our cities?  What is the attraction about sitting in a blacked-out, deserted park, or on the pavement in the middle of woop-woop, getting shit-faced drunk?  Is it because the kids have no self-respect?  Most of the parents shown appeared to be normal, decent people, who had no idea their kids were so far off the rails.  Who were shocked and frightened to find their kid in that situation.

Is it peer pressure?  If so, I would think the kids need a new group of peers.  Why do these children have a need to damage themselves so?  Not only their reputation, but their morals, their health and their future - a term in prison doesn't go down well with most future employers or partners.

I applaud the Police, but their effort is a drop in the bucket.  Personally I can't see what the answer is to this horribly widespread problem.  It isn't as though the kids have nothing to do either.  And they obviously have money!  Maybe the only thing we can do is institute a curfew for kids under the age of 18 - inside after 8 p.m. or spend the night in the lockup.  

Oh wow! wouldn't people yell and scream and shout about that one!   I would dearly like to know other people's thoughts on this subject.

Extra Special Drunk Drivers??

Came across some not so new pieces about driving whilst drunk as a hoot owl.  I do NOT condone drink driving, but you gotta admit that some of these wags really are a liquorice short of a box of Allsorts.  Some of them made me laugh, some made my hair stand on end.  I selected a few for you.  But please do remember - drunk drivers are murderers.

The first one is fairly local, some dill from Noosa, a little north of here.  He was pulled over and given a breath test, blowing more than three times the legal limit, at 0.160.  Now this is a 23 year old, not a little kid.  He didn't know that what he was driving was classed as a vehicle.  So I guess you would love to know what he was driving, right?  

It was an Esky (a box you put ice in and then your beer, to keep it cool).  Stop laughing now, this Esky was powered by a 50cc two-stroke engine, and it has a top speed of 20kp/h.  In a statement to end all statements, the magistrate said:

“It’s an unfortunate situation. If he’d been drunk on a horse he’d have been okay,” Mr Parker said, as reported by News Ltd.
“Never the less you were in a motor vehicle… on a motor vehicle… and there must be a penalty.”

The fool and his motorised Esky
 Now I'm sorry, but the magistrate is a bit of a dim bulb too, as he had to look up the law pertaining to what is considered a vehicle.  Erm, I would have thought that if it has an engine and you drive on the road it is classed as a vehicle? hmmm?  Correct me please if I am wrong?

And an oldie from 2010, a UK man was banned for driving for three years, for being drunk behind the wheel of .......... a PINK BARBIE CAR.  Now this clown, a supposedly intelligent man, was tested at twice the legal limit.
He had found the car and was repairing it and after a few brews he had an irresistible urge to test drive the car - when he ran out of pavement he drove on the road....... sprung!
What made me literally fall about laughing was his confession that:
"I was very surprised to get done for drink-driving, but I was a twit to say the least".
Now really, mate, your own brains should have told you, but then I guess they must have been a little constricted, because you actually said:
“You have to be some kind of contortionist to get in and then you can’t get out,” he said, revealing you have to drive with your knees under your chin."
On a scarier note, a woman was arrested in Joyner, a suburb I frequently travel through, and her car was seized.  Her blood alcohol level was more than SIX times the legal limit -
Police say the 41-year-old recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.313 after being pulled over in Joyner, 25km north of the CBD, about 6.20pm (AEST) on Friday.  The legal blood alcohol limit is .05.
The woman has been charged with Type 2C drink driving (0.15 per cent and above), obstructing police and driving without a licence.
As this was the SECOND time this year she has been done for a high range drink driving offence, I think that her car should be not just seized, but crushed into a neat cube.   Her?  Lock her up guys, this dangerous bitch obviously doesn't care about anyone else on the roads, does she?

As our advertisement says "If you drink and drive, you are a bloody idiot".


Giving The Gift

Why do I do it?  I do it every single time, whether it is birthday, Easter, Christmas or  bloody bandicoot day.  It takes me forever to think of just the perfect gift, the exact thing that says "I love you" and shows how much I care.  Whether it is for the tiniest family member, or the old fart himself.   And then what happens?

I give the rotten thing early.  It just so happens that I did it again this afternoon.  The old fella goes off to golf with a social golfing club every fortnight or so. They visit a different course each time they play, and tomorrow they are playing at a course which he always has trouble finding.  No matter how many times he has been there, he invariably gets lost.  He was trying desperately to find the route on the map, and couldn't. 

To be fair, he does have cataracts which interfere with his close vision.  So I looked, and discovered the map he is using is from 2008.  Now this city never stops growing, so I found the newest map book we have - hahaha 2009.   What had I bought him for Christmas?  Yes, a 2011 map book.  So out it came, and I worked out a route for him. 

THEN he said he was hoping his (out of date) GPS would work tomorrow.   Shoulders drooping, and exceedingly pissed off with myself, I went and got his "special gift" - a new GPS system.  My fury at myself knows no bounds!   The trouble is, I do worry so much because his concentration is really poor and if he has to try to check his whereabouts he may well drive off the road or under a truck.

So it's back to the drawing board for me.  Himself?  He is gleefully charging up his new GPS, and has the new map and my written instructions on the passenger seat of the car.  What do you want to bet he gets lost?  Laughter here, I would put mucho money on it!

Now what do I do for him for Christmas?  A pudding? Sometimes I wonder about me, I truly do.  Still, on a positive note - I don't have to wrap it now!

Friday, November 18, 2011

They Starved a Disabled Child

Just when I think that maybe we can have some happy news for a change, I stumbled upon the frightful case of the mother ( Angela Norman) and nurse (Mollie Parsons) of a 14 year old girl with cerebral palsy.  They have just been charged with involuntary manslaughter.  Now, I want to know if I am the only one who thinks that the word "involuntary" should have been left out of the charge, because it looks to me like deliberate murder.

Angela Norman

This poor little girl, Makayla Norman, died on 1st March, from "nutritional and medical neglect complicated by her chronic condition" according to the county coroner's office.  I wonder if Ohio has strange laws about what constitutes murder?

"She was the worst malnourished child this office has ever seen," Ken Betz, director of the coroner's office, said Thursday.

This pair of truly EVIL women were charged, along with TWO other nurses.  The other nurses were charged with failing to report child abuse or neglect.
It seems that this poor defenceless little girl died only minutes after she had been rushed to hospital.  She had many bed sores, and showed other signs of neglect.  The prosecutor described the home as "vile and filthy".

Mollie Parsons

The little girl was supposed to have been cared for by her mother, with the nurse administering care for six days of the week.   The two other nurses were Williams, who was supposed to supervise Parsons, visit and inspect the living conditions and also physically assess Makayla every 1 to 2 months (30 to 60 days);  and Kilby, who was supposed to visit twice a year to also check on the conditions of the home, assess Makayla's health, needs and care.

Kathryn Williams, 42, of Englewood, and Mary K. Kilby, 63, of Miamisburg, were each charged with failing to provide for a functionally impaired person and failing to report child abuse or neglect. No attorneys were listed for them.

Kathryn Williams

What really beats me is that Children's Services apparently "couldn't substantiate any allegations" in September 2009, when they had a referral about the family.  You can't tell me that this child was receiving loving care one minute and being neglected and starved the next.  I won't believe it for a minute.

The girl's mother, Angela Norman, also was indicted on a felony count and a misdemeanor count of endangering children. No attorney was listed for Norman, whose age was listed as 42 in jail records.
Mollie E. Parsons, 41, of Dayton, was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, failing to provide for a functionally impaired person and tampering with records.
Little Makayla weighed only 28 pounds when she died.  That is just 2 stone, or 12.7kg.  A tiny, vulnerable, helpless child.
“This victim looked more like a skeleton than a 14-year-old girl,” (Prosecutor) Heck said. “Not one of them did anything about it. If one had, we wouldn’t be here today.” 

Mary Kilby
I am amassing bullets here.  Send them to Texas, they execute in Texas!

Wrapping Aversion Syndrome!

I suffer from a syndrome that I have had to endure for many years, and am wondering if there are others out there in the small world who have the same disease?
It may not be an official complaint, but I have named it Wrapping Aversion Syndrome.  It is so bad that one year I was tempted to just wrap Christmas presents in old tea towels and fasten them with safety pins.  Who knows?  It may have started a new trend- remember when brown paper  with potato cut stencils was all the rage?  Brown paper sure, but stuff the potato part.  Actually, stuffed potatoes is not a bad idea !

Every 12 months that dreaded, dreadful season arrives with monotonous regularity - the Christmas present wrapping season.  Never mind the ides of March, beware the ordeals of December!  Maybe I am a closet anarchist or something, but part of my aversion to the task of wrapping is my ability to do things ass-backward.  If the door says PULL, I push the bloody thing.  I try to open plastic bags at the wrong end.  Not fun when you put your applies in and they all dive straight to the ground ...  Same thing applies to sticky tape (adhesive tape for those who speak another language, wink).

I pull the tape from the roll and instantly get it wrapped around at least one finger, doubled in the middle and stuck the way it NEVER sticks to paper. Peel it off, start again.  End up with quite an attractive design stuck to the table - little balls of tape resembling a mini Leaning Tower of Pisa.   What? Oh, the dispenser?  Same, same, same,  I gotta tell you there is no difference using a dispenser.  Except that now the tape comes off from on the roll itself, and do you think I can find the cut end?  Not on your bloody life can I.   Hurl that roll out. 

Meanwhile, the present has become unwrapped, so that the paper has drifted to the floor, where the dog has pounced and is happily shredding it into confetti. Start again.  My back aches from bending, even though I am sitting through most of it.  Start another roll of tape.  THIS time I have a clue, which is unusual for me, as I am normal quite clueless.  I pull off a piece of tape, very very gently.  Tear it across the little metal teeth on the dispenser.  Very carefully.  Take said piece of tape and stick one end to the side of dispenser - yes! 

Checking out the re-wrapped gift I calculate (clever of me!) how many pieces of tape it will require.  Pull said number of pieces off and stick to side of dispenser.   Grab present, go to take first piece of tape and stick - aaaaaaaaagh.  Bloody thing has wrapped around my finger.

After much repetition I finally manage to get the tape onto the paper.  Standing back to admire my creation, I realise I have stuck the tape in the wrong place, and have gaps, and ruckles where they shouldn't be.  Oh shit.  Carefully, carefully peel the tape off..........riiiiiiiiip!  I could scream, I could cry, I could rant. Back to the drawing board.

 I sit quietly for a moment, seething and sweating. I have a plan. Now this is really really sneaky -  I tiptoe to the door and yell "Katie?  Are you doing anything for a minute?".............

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recovery After the Burns

The ambulance arrived, and I remember pleading with the ambo to tell me if I would be blind, I was terrified my lenses had melted onto my eyes - it sure felt like it.  They got me to remove the wet towel, and quickly looked.  They said it seemed ok.  I whacked that cold wet towel back over my face at the speed of light!  I told my little girl that her Nanny would be there with her soon, and to be brave and wait for her.  My poor baby was so confused and upset, and so afraid.

The ambulance ride was no picnic, being unable to see made me seasick on the journey - fortunately we lived only a few minutes away from the Lister Hospital, Stevenage.  We arrived, and I was rushed into Emergency.  I kept asking them to help me with my lenses - one nurse asked if they could use forceps! eeek!  I replied with a firm no, but I needed something to put them in.  She asked whether I had brought my lens case?  Um, I hadn't really thought of it! Can't understand why!  I eventually managed to get my lenses out, a vast relief. The towel was taken from me, and they wet strips of cotton wool with saline solution for my face, more hygienic apparently, although I couldn't have given a hang.  The indignities began with a tetanus needle in my backside, which then ached like the devil for days.  A further shot of useless pethidine followed.  Having decided there was little more they could do, I was hurried off to the Accident Ward.

My condition was described as "serious but stable".  The first thing I did when I was ladled into a hospital bed was start throwing up.  My word, that HURT my face something awful.  The Doctor said it was shock, so I was given another shot of who knows what.  Then I sat there for what seemed hours.  Eventually it was morning, and to my horror I found I couldn't open my eyes. I struggled for ages, until finally I managed to open my right eye a slit - I could see!  I was overjoyed to see the sunlight shining in.  Indignity number one was breakfast -  of all things it was cornflakes.  I was unable to see, unable to open my mouth properly, as I was now grotesquely swollen.  I spilled milk and cereal all down my front, and to my horror I started crying.  I had made a mess, so I cried?

I crept out of bed, unseen, and managed to see myself in the mirror.  At that moment I wanted to hurl myself out of the window.  I looked like a monster.  My face was huge, great blisters hanging off everywhere, and large pieces of skin dangling.  My eyes were tiny slits.  Hideous.

After being under observation for about 3 days I was finally moved into the ward.  My head was itching like crazy but they wouldn't let me take off the surgical cap they had stuffed onto my head in Emergency.   I had to wash each morning in Cetrimide, which stank and was a vast relief. I found I was stuck to the pillow each morning, which was fluid leaking from the enormous blisters. When I walked I would feel the bags of fluid under my chin, sloshing back and forth like dewlaps.  I was forbidden a bath until perhaps a week, only being allowed a wash.  I was forbidden a hair wash - my wounds were open and my hair was apparently full of ash and soot. I couldn't see more than a foot in front of me, with no lenses and not being able to wear glasses. Reading a magazine was a recipe for a monstrous headache.

I didn't have a great number of visitors, which was ok, with the way I looked!  It was very lonely though.  One evening, as visitors were leaving the wards, a woman walking past looked across and said "MY GOD!" in a shocked voice.  I knew she was looking at me, and hit bottom so hard I started to cry.  Thank heavens for my dear nurse though.  That woman had no idea how much she had hurt me.

Gradually I started to heal, which brought other problems.  I started to sneeze at intervals, and the pain was horrific each time I did.  My nurse said that the inside of my nostrils had been burned and it was the new hairs growing back and tickling me.  Eating and drinking were a major challenge, but somehow I managed.  Nobody thought to give me a cup with a straw, and silly me didn't even know they had them.

Boredom was the worst, so I pleaded to help the nurses with things like bed making - not fun as the ward was prone to static electricity.   It made time pass though.

After nagging relentlessly to go home, the Doctors finally released me, to my joy.  I had been in for four weeks and was going quite stir crazy.  I still had areas of raw skin, but the swelling had gone, thank goodness.  The blisters had also gone.  The worst was my nose, across the bridge, as it was dreadfully painful.  It felt as though I had broken it. Strangely, it was only as I was released that I found out that the hospital had no idea how to deal with me, they had never had a burns case!  Oh dear!

At home I was surprised and pleased when my own dear G.P. called in to check on me.  He looked at my poor snout, and informed me that I had picked up an infection, hence the pain.  A short course of ointment and antibiotics soon fixed that.

We had a very delayed Christmas, but the best gift was being reunited with my baby, who was so happy to have mummy home.

My visitors?  I was furious when my mum-in-law told me that when she arrived to collect Katrina she found her alone, sitting on the hall floor, crying because she had wet her pants.  She was just a baby and horribly traumatised, and they had ignored her. They STAYED in my home, and one girl visited me 3 times and the other not at all.  You can guess how I felt about that too!

What Price Your 'Charity'?

I recently picked up a free paper at one of our local pharmacies.  It used to be an interesting read, with some decent stories, and tips of all sorts regarding raising your kids.  This paper was hardly worth reading, sadly.  It is only fit for lining the guinea pig cage, having gone the way of most free papers, i.e., packed full of advertisements. 

One article did attract my attention, although I didn't give it a full scrutiny - but picked out the salient points.  It was about 'giving' to those less fortunate, now that it is the Christmas season.  Now, I don't want to burst someone's self-righteous bubble, but to my mind, teaching your children to help others JUST at Christmas is, to me, not what it is all about.  It smacks just a teensy weensy bit of the Lady Bountifuls, don't you think?

One woman was so awfully proud that she had the children include their own little letter and a photo of themselves.  Well geez lady, I am sure some poor little homeless child will gaze with absolute wonder and joy on your well fed, well-dressed and well-shod little tribe, smiling smugly in front of their loaded Christmas tree, in front of a gazillion presents.  And I am equally sure that said homeless child will be full of boundless and endless gratitude.

I do understand your sentiment, and your stated reason for teaching your children to give without expecting anything in return.  But wouldn't you be better off to teach them that helping others is a year-long project?  There are other kids out there who are hungry all year round, who never have warm clothes to wear in winter, kids whose school life is a misery (IF they go to school) simply because they have nothing. Kids whose whole life is a misery, through no fault of their own.

The people I admire more are the ones who, for example,  selflessly volunteer their time to assist charities such as Lifeline, St. Vincent De Paul, and the Salvation Army.  They give week after week, asking nothing.  There are quite a few organisations who quietly assist people year in, year out, and who are always desperate for help of any sort.

My own small contribution?  We rarely sell anything that we don't need - I call Lifeline and hand it all over to them.  They are always so happy to be remembered, as every item can be sold by them, and is sheer profit for them.   I am not able to volunteer to serve in their shop, but in my small way I help through the year. Every year.  

There are hundreds of people like me - without this sort of assistance most of the charities would fold. Why not volunteer to help in the shop, or sorting clothing, anything rather than writing letters to shout about how well off you are!

More admirable than that are the anonymous folk who buy toys, clothes etc., and lovingly wrap them, then quietly add them to the Christmas tree outside many of the large department stores.  The only writing you will see is a gift card, saying "To a dear little boy, with love".

Why not make it Christmas every day of the year?  It isn't difficult, especially if you don't need applause for what you do.

The Day My Head Caught Fire

16th December, 1979.  I had bronchitis, and had been so ill I fainted, and thus was taken to stay with my in-laws, together with my little girl, who was 2 years and 10 months old.  Friends of my cousin had arrived unexpectedly, and unannounced,  from a holiday in France.  They telephoned my mother-in-law to say they were waiting for me to come home.   I (quite stupidly), packed up my things and drove home so they would have somewhere to stay.

The weather was typical for December in U.K., cold, miserable and wet.  There had been rain for several days, and our house was cold as hell.   As we had a gravity-fed solid fuel boiler which also heated our water, we had no hot water either.   Still feeling quite groggy and ill, I had to immediately set about lighting the boiler.

We had recently had our fuel bunker lids replaced, and they were supposed to now be waterproof......not so!  The fuel was wet, and I had run out of firelighters, so was struggling to get the fuel to burn.  The firebed for this boiler, a Trianco, was at the very bottom of the boiler, and to check on the firebed you had to kneel and open a door at the bottom.  This was my undoing.

One Year earlier, Christmas was at home!

Not being familiar with the properties of coal or coke, I had no idea what was occurring inside the boiler - the wet fuel and the weak fire were actually producing coal gas.  The gas is heavy, and sinks - so there was a nice little gas buildup just above the firebed.  The only way out for the gas was directly across the feeble coals I had managed to coax into life.

My baby and me, the previous Christmas.

The next time I opened the door to check on the firebed, there was an horrific "whoosh",  and a flame about 4ft long shot out of the boiler, instantly setting alight to my head.  The shock and pain were unbelievable, and I jumped to my feet, took one huge breath in and clamped down.  I screwed my eyes shut, and clamped my lips together.  I took a  couple of racing steps across the kitchen to the sink, and tried to get my head under the cold tap to douse the flames.  I could still feel the horrendous pain, and lifted my head once, opened my eyes to see my reflection in the window - flames leaping from my hair.  I quickly tried to put my head under the tap again.  At this point, I knew that I was going to die, and suddenly felt no more pain, everything was calm, serene, and I accepted my death without the slightest fear.

I realised that I was actually about to faint, and fought it with everthing I had, as i knew what would happen if I did.  Without warning there were screams from my visitors, one of whom was trying to smother the flames with the tiny kitchen towel, and shouting to her sister to get towels and the bathmat.  In an instant I was smothering, unable to breath because they had my head wrapped so tightly in the towels.   The older of the sisters quickly soaked the towels in water and wrapped them around my head, giving me one to put onto my face.

They ran next door to get someone to phone for the ambulance (being Aussies, they had no idea of the emergency number), and I sat shaking on our lounge.  I was terrified that I would be blind, as I was wearing plastic contact lenses.  My tiny girl was upset beyond measure, so I tried to hold her, and took the towel off my face to talk to her.  The severity of the pain from the burns was beyond anything I had ever experienced.  I tried to calm my baby girl, and when our neighbour arrived I asked if she could phone my in-laws.

8th March 1980, my daughter's 3rd birthday

There is a lot to the story of my recovery, but I did recover in time.  I had second and third degree burns to my entire face, ear, and one hand and my hair in places was burned to a stubble.  I didn't lose my sight, although my left eyelid was burned almost through, and my nose was burned to bone across the bridge. I spent a month in hospital, and was only allowed home because I was going insane and kept badgering to be allowed out!

I thought I looked great by now!  Bad colour choice for the blouse though!

My fear of fire has lessened somewhat during the years since then, but I don't think it will ever leave me.  It could have been so very much worse.

So happy just to be with my tiny girl!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Show and Tell with Mum's Crack Pipe

I can't believe some of the frightful things I read in the online news. One of the latest I read about was a tiny tot, in kindergarten, who took his mother's crack pipe and methamphetamines to "Show and Tell".

The "several baggies of crack rocks" discovered in the boy's backpack were worth around $3,700, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"When I called the prosecutor about it, they said, 'You're kidding me, aren't you?'" Sweet Springs Police Chief Richard Downing told KCTV5 earlier this month. (September)

Obviously, the police were called, and a later search of the little boy's home revealed another crack pipe and butane lighter.  The mother, a 32 year old, was charged six days later with:

two class C felonies - the first for possession of a controlled substance and the other for endangering the welfare of a child. Each charge includes punishments of up to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections system and up to a $5,000 fine.

Michelle Marie Cheatham

When I read articles of this nature I have to shudder in horror - obviously the little boy was well accustomed to seeing his mother light up, so much so that it was just a normal part of his life.

What shocks me the most?  For a start, the fact that this hard-faced woman not only smoked the drug around her little boy, but also carelessly left the drug and paraphenalia where he could have free access to it.  Little people like to copy, don't they?  I wonder how long it would have been before he decided to try to copy mummy? 

One other thing that shocks me is the value of the baggies the litle guy had in his kindergarten backpack.  I can think of only two ways his "mother" would have afforded this - either selling crack, or selling herself.  Either way, she is a damned lousy example of motherhood.

Another one who deserves a bullet, in my not so humble opinion.

Karma For A Very Shallow Man

She was only a country kid, not confident, only 19 and a bit of a pudding - overweight now since moving to the big city.  She wore glasses, and didn't really know how to dress. City life was lonely, and now she had a job it was just too easy to buy the things she had never had as a child.  Most of these were to comfort her, and to help fill in empty hours, spent watching people living and laughing, while she just waited for her own life to begin.  So she ate.  She had never even known that such a thing as tartare sauce existed, so the pleasures of food were irresistible.

She had recently moved into the boarding house, which was actually two separate houses, seemingly packed to capacity with both Aussies and Kiwis, both male and female.  There were all ages, and the houses usually joined together in the communal dining room for their morning and evening meal.  There was always laughter, music and chatter, rarely any dissent.   The boarders called themselves "Mrs M's",  after the landlady, and on weekends would troop en masse to the local beach, where they would raise a flag to signal their meeting spot.

Her life was now happy, she went to parties with the others, and to the pub (although she didn't drink). There was laughter, and fun, and most of all there were friends.  Then the landlady's younger son arrived home from his travels around the world. It won't be difficult to guess the rest - an older, more sophisticated man and a gullible young woman. 
For months, perhaps forever in her eyes, they went everywhere together.  She was learning so much at the same time, and they seemed to fit each other perfectly.  They had a special friend who often accompanied them, and he was so dear to them both that he was always welcome. 

There was a party, to which all were invited, and they set off in the car - she beside him in the front and the friend in the back seat.  She chatted happily away, until they suddenly stopped in front of a block of flats.  "Be a love and sit in the back"  he said to her.  She asked why and he replied "never mind, just sit in the back ok?".   Puzzled, she did as he asked.  He disappeared into the building and several minutes later arrived outside again, with another woman - whom he sat in the front of the car with him, and casually introduced. 
She was frozen with shock, disbelief, so much pain and bewilderment - she couldn't even speak as they drove to the party.  Somehow she managed to get out of the car, holding on to their friend, who was just as astounded and devastated.  Not knowing what else to do, or what to say, they went inside.  Minutes later, she found herself being violently sick in the downstairs toilet.  Too stunned to think, she could only beg her friend to walk home with her. 

It ended one chapter in her life, brutally.  And opened doors she hadn't know existed.  She moved into a flat with a colleague, and began living a different life.   It took her eighteen months, but she slimmed down to less than 8 stone.  Her 20th birthday came, and on the day she was humiliated beyond belief when a young man screamed to her from his balcony "HEY! FOUR EYES!".   A few weeks later she was fitted for her first pair of contact lenses.  By now her hair was long, halfway down her back, and she had at last gained dress sense.  Her wardrobe wasn't extensive, but was chosen with care and she was ready for any occasion.

She had kept in touch with Mrs M, who had been like a mother to her.  On one visit to Mrs M's, the older son and his wife happened to be visiting at the same time, and were pleased to see her.  A few days later, strangely, she had a phone call from her ex - and an invitation to dinner.  She was curious, intrigued and accepted his invitation.   Her curiosity turned to a stone in her chest when he arrived the next evening to pick her up.  The first words he said, after not seeing her for so long, were "A man must be blind."

The evening was fine, very civilised and pleasant.  After his usual over-consumption of wine, however, he revealed that he had been engaged to an English nurse, and that she had broken off the engagement.  It seemed that she had not only hurt him but had left him quite impotent.  The young woman could pity him, but felt nothing apart from that.  She refused to be a consolation prize, and she refused to be second-best.  She finally realised that he was a very shallow man. They never saw each other again.

You know, Keith, I truly hope you found what you were looking for in life, but I somehow doubt it.  You and I were together for a long time, and yet you never knew me, did you?  It isn't all about our appearance - I was the same person as I had always been, inside.  In my heart and my mind and my soul.  I am happy to tell you that I found what I was looking for, and it made my life truly and wholly happy.