What’s the matter with kids today?
I think they’re better than we were.
At least they’re better than I was.
In fact, they might be better than I am now.
Case in point is the story of the 11-year-old girl in Florida who was waiting for the school bus and playing with blue slime. A man ran toward her, put a knife to her throat, and tried to kidnap her, but she kicked him, tripped him, and freed herself — and if that wasn’t enough, managed to cover him with the blue slime.
She told her mother, “Mom, I had to leave some sort of evidence behind, like on Law & Order: SVU.”
Her mother says she’s “a smart cookie.”
I second that emotion.
Police found the suspect, identifying him by the blue dye all over his arms.
I can’t even imagine the presence of mind of this little girl, who defended herself against a knife-wielding man.
Using a toy.
She has a future not only in law enforcement, but also with Dick Wolf Productions, which pays better.
By the way, according to news reports, the blue slime was “homemade.”
Now I’m in love with this kid’s mother.
Mom is doing about 1 million things right.
Slime was a big thing when Francesca was growing up, thanks to the Nickelodeon channel, which promoted the idea that dropping slime on people’s heads was funny.
It kind of was.
That led to Francesca wanting slime, so of course I did the American thing and bought it.
I could not be bothered to make my daughter’s slime.
Sometimes I made dinner that turned out like slime.
What a mom!
Anyway, when I read about this great little girl, I was reminded of how much I sucked at being a little girl.
I don’t think I could’ve freed myself from an attacker, armed with goop.
I know this because when I was little, I tried to run away and failed.
I was 6 years old, and we lived across from a wonderful family that did things we were not allowed to do, and I would spend a lot of time whining about it, and one day Mother Mary had evidently had enough.
She said to me, “If you like them so much, you should go live there.”
I said, “I will, thank you.”
OK, maybe I didn’t say thank you.
But I definitely said I wanted to go.
And what did my mother do?
She packed my bag.
I remember that she wasn’t angry. She just chuckled, held out her hand, and we went together to my bedroom, where we opened a suitcase and she asked me what I would like to take to my new home.
I told her, “Panties and a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.”
I know. My priorities were misplaced.
Nowadays, I would say, “a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and panties.”
By the way, I’m saying panties instead of underwear because I’m trying to be accurate. We called them panties, which was pronounced pannies.
So Mother Mary put a pair of pannies in the suitcase, then made me a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and put it in a paper bag, whereupon she set me on the front step of the house.
“Goodbye,” she said, with a smile.
OK maybe this doesn’t sound great in retrospect.
This could either be funny or a reason to call Child Protective Services.
I wonder how many things we look back on that would get our parents arrested today.
For example, when my mother got really mad, she would throw shoes.
It made me great at dodgeball.
Nowadays, I’d call a lawyer.
Except Mother Mary would throw a shoe at him.
To return to point, after my mother put me on the front step, I crossed the street, knocked on the neighbor’s door, and announced I was joining their family. They walked me back across the street, and by that point I was crying, so my mother gave me a big hug, sat me down, and poured me a glass of milk so I could eat my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.
Somehow this is a wonderful memory.
But my point is that I wasn’t very good at running away.
Actually I didn’t even run.
I walked away.
And then I walked back.
I don’t think I could have escaped a guy with a knife.
I couldn’t have even made the slime.
But I was obviously excellent at packing.
Look for Lisa’s best-selling historical novel, “Eternal,” in stores now. Also look for Francesca’s critically acclaimed debut novel, “Ghosts of Harvard,” on sale now.