Man Talk Now's Blog

Testosterone Ain't Hormone Pollution
SEPTEMBER 12, 2011 4:52PM

I am NOT a Monster! I'm Just a Helpful Man.

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Playground 

 

Sometimes, the office gets a little stifling. I find myself drawn into details, immersed in minutiae, heading down a slippery slope toward micro-managing my staff. Which I hate, and I strongly suspect makes my people mutter darkly about me. And nobody needs darkly-muttering employees.

 

I needed to get away, so I did. I went to the cottage my grandfather built upstate. A mere three days later, I felt better. Solitude, fresh air, trees, birdsong and wood smoke will restore a man very quickly.

 

Near the edge of a small town not far from my cabin, there’s an excellent little antiques store, run by an eccentric, energetic and effusive little gray-haired couple. It’s a very cool store, and their collection contains much more than fussy old furniture, which bores me extremely. I’d called ahead, looking for a set of antique medical instruments – the perfect gift, I thought, for a physician client who’s about to take a biotechnology company public.

 

I was in luck. The couple had several items of interest, and I left with a lovely mid-1800s French surgical set in a leather-covered wooden box. It included scalpels, tweezers, surgery scissors and a rather terrifying bone saw. My client would love it, and therefore love me all the more.

 

A sunny, breezy day meant I had the car windows down. On the way out of town, a sign warned me that speeding fines were doubled in the school zone, and I obediently slowed to a crawl, even though school was out for summer. I passed a playground where a flock of kids were busily and loudly being kids on and around an apple tree.

 

Then I heard a piercing shriek. It wasn’t a normal sound from a child at play. It was different. It was full of pain and fear. You know the sound I mean. Someone was hurt.

 

But it was none of my business, so I kept driving.

 

No, of course I didn’t keep driving! What’s wrong with you? You think I’m heartless?

 

What I did was pull over, hop out, hit the “lock” button on my key fob out of habit, and run hard toward the source of the screams.

 

A half-dozen children were clustered around a girl of about eight, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, who was curled into a fetal position, emitting high-volume distress.

 

“Guys, what’s happened?” I said, as small white faces looked up at me. “I have training as a medic, and I can help.”

 

Six voices chirruped urgently over each other, but I understood that Britney had fallen out of the tree. I knelt down beside the girl, who was sobbing and gasping.

 

“Britney, my name is Duff, and I’m going to help you,” I said. “Can you show me where you’re hurt? Let me have a look.”

 

“Mylegmyleg!” she hollered, tears streaming down her face. I uncurled her as gently as I could. She was holding her hands to her left thigh, covering a wound that was obviously bleeding pretty freely.

 

“She fell on this,” said a wide-eyed boy a couple of years younger, holding up a bent stick with red on the end.

 

“Okay, Britney, just lie down and let me have a quick look at your leg,” I said. Blood was flowing pretty fast. The wound didn’t look too deep, but it was clear to me that she would need a doctor’s care, most likely including stitches.

 

I put my hand firmly on the gash. “Britney, I’m putting pressure on your cut. That will slow down the bleeding,” I said, as she continued to cry inconsolably. Then I thought about next steps.

 

Not wanting my time off interrupted, I had purposely left my mobile phone at the cabin. “Does anybody have a phone?” I asked. Three hands went up. “Do you have a phone with you?” I clarified. Three hands went down. I sighed.

 

“Where are Britney’s parents?” I asked the group. “Does she live nearby?”

 

“No,” said a breathless girl about Britney’s age. “She came to my house for a play date.”

 

“Alright, you live around here? Can you go get your mom or dad?” And my first tiny emissary was off.

 

“What’s your name, son?” I asked the tallest and oldest-looking of the kids, who was perhaps nine or ten. He was Hayden. “Hayden, there’s a first aid kit in the trunk of my car, over there. Here’s the key. Press this button and the trunk will open. Please bring me the first aid kit as quick as you can.”

 

Hayden ran off across the grass. Things were under control, I thought. Then a younger boy spoke up.

 

“You shouldn’t touch her,” he said, tentatively.

 

“Pardon?” I asked, looking up from Britney, my hands still on her wound.

 

“You shouldn’t have your hands on her,” the boy said, more confident now, a blush rising to his cheeks. “No touching!”

 

“That’s right,” chimed in a concerned little girl in jeans. “You’re not allowed to touch her. I’m telling!”

 

“Now listen,” I began, trying to sound authoritative. “This isn’t bad touching. This is helping. I’m trying to help Britney.”

 

“Are you a doctor?” asked the girl.

 

“No, but I…”

 

And my car alarm went off. I looked across the field to see Hayden hopping from one foot to the other, pointing my key fob at my car, frantically pushing buttons.

 

The loud alarm seemed to unsettle the kids even more, and they began to pepper me with questions.

 

“Who are you? Where did you come from?”

 

“I’m from Manhattan – New York City,” I said, praying that somebody’s mother would soon arrive.

 

“Are you a pedophile?” asked the ‘no-touching’ boy.

 

“WHAT? A pedophile? No, I’m not a pedophile! I’m a businessman!” I barked back, irrelevantly, as Britney continued to moan and cry, and my car continued to honk obnoxiously.

 

A pedophile! Christ on a cracker! I decided I needed a woman, and in a hurry.

 

“Can one of you run to one of those houses for me?” I asked, pointing. “Go get an adult for me, would you? A woman would be best.”

 

A girl in pigtails spoke up for the first time. “I live over there. My sister is a teenager.”

 

“No, not a teenager. An adult woman, please. A big person,” I said. The girl ran off, and I turned back to Britney. “You’ll be just fine, honey. Help is on the way, and we’ll get you fixed up.”

 

I realized the car alarm had ceased, and looked up to see Hayden scampering back toward us, a package in each hand. He’d brought both my first aid kit and the box containing the ancient surgical instruments.

 

“Thank you, Hayden,” I said, ignoring the antiques and unzipping the emergency kit. I grabbed a good-sized bandage, ripped some strips of tape and covered Britney’s wound, then reapplied pressure on top.

 

“Duff is a weird name,” said ‘no-touching” boy. “Is that your real name?”

 

“Uh, no,” I said, a little distracted. “It’s a nickname.”

 

“Who’s Nick?” he wanted to know.

 

“No, no. I mean it’s not my real name, but it’s what everybody calls me.”

 

Britney had calmed down a little, since I’d put the bandage on and wiped the blood off her hands. “Do I have to go to the hospital?” she asked, sniffling.

 

“Well, probably, honey, but you’ll be just fine. You’re okay now.”

 

I heard huffing behind me. The pigtailed girl was back. She’d brought a neighbor, a pleasant-faced, rather plump lady in her sixties, who had clearly hustled to the scene.

 

“I brought the biggest woman on the street,” said Pigtails.

 

“I beg your pardon?” said, the lady, glancing at Pigtails and flushing.

 

“He said he wanted a really big woman, so…”

 

“No, no!” I said quickly, looking from the little girl to the lady. “Just an adult woman, sweetheart.”

 

“Don’t you call me sweetheart,” objected the lady. “Who are you, anyway?”

 

“I’m not calling you sweetheart…” I attempted.

 

“He calls himself Duff, but that’s not his real name,” said ‘no-touching’ boy. “He’s from New York City, and he’s touching Britney, but he says he’s not a pedophile.”

 

“I am NOT a pedophile!” I said, hotly. “I am helping Britney sigh. I mean Britney’s thigh! Her thigh! Look at her thigh!” I said, flustered, pointing at the bandage.

 

“What did you do to her thigh?” the lady asked suspiciously, her eyes narrowing.

 

“Nothing! I was driving by…”

 

“Yes, you did,” said ‘no-touching’ boy, nodding. “You put your hands on her leg.”

 

“Wow! What are those?” piped up a voice behind me. I turned to see that Hayden had opened the box of antique medical gear. All eyes swiveled to the array of sharp, wicked-looking tools.

 

Oh, shit.

 

“Now… now, wait a minute,” I stammered. “I just bought those. They’re not for me. You see…”

 

“He might be a serial killer,” said one of the older children. “Like on Criminal Minds.”

 

“Are you a doctor?” asked the lady, backing up a little, and holding her mobile phone in front of her like a crucifix.

 

“He’s not a doctor,” said ‘no-touching’ boy, helpfully. “But he’s a manic.”

 

“MEDIC!” I said, too loud. “For heaven’s sake, I’m trained as a medic!” I turned to the lady, eyes pleading. “Madam, thank you very much for coming. I wanted another adult around to make the kids feel safe. I’m just trying to help.”

 

***

 

A few minutes later, all was well. I was not taken into custody by the local constabulary, on suspicion of being a serial-killing pedophile. The play-date mom arrived, and turned out to be an occupational health nurse. She took charge of the situation. Britney was soon off to the local hospital to get the gash in her thigh patched up. The neighbor lady laughed until she shook, once my involvement was properly explained. She offered me a blueberry muffin from her kitchen, and I accepted gratefully.

 

Then my muffin and I got in my car and got the heck out of town.

 

I’m not sure what I learned from this episode, but I think it has something to do with making sure I never go anywhere – anywhere at all - without a woman by my side. You never know when you’ll need a woman. Because I hadn’t realized how scary men can be.

  

 

 

Now saying odd things on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ManTalkNow

  

 

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Comments

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Honestly, I'm rarely scary.
It's a relief to know that you are not a pedophile. One can never be too sure! It's my understanding that pedophiles now live under every other rock in suburbia. Satanists live under the alternate rocks.
I thought you were gonna say the kid left your keys in the trunk and closed it. (well, if I can do it, so can he,... pfft)

Stay away from playgrounds in the future, as you age you run the risk of being perceived as a dirty old man. (picture: Arte Johnson)
And witches live in the bushes.
It's one of the problems with being a wolf, I suppose . . . scary and all that . . .
The radical feminist movement has turned every adult male into a child molester just waiting to pounce on children. Now that the kids are pretty much indoctrinated the de-masculinization of the male gender is almost complete....
Gabby Abby, I'll have you know that I am not an old man, and I am only dirty when with an appreciative consenting adult. And I certainly don't hang around playgrounds. ;)

Owl, it's not like I was wearing my wolf outfit at the time...

M. Chariot, quite right. Threats are EVERYWHERE! That's why we all have to be extremely alert all the time.

skypixie0, I'm beginning to think the street-proofing kids get might sometimes go just a little bit too far?
This reads like fiction... great stuff. (And a good story, too)
As usual MTN, you're the best of the lot. God bless you for helping the girl. Glad it didn't end with you in cuffs. R.
Humor is difficult to write but fun to read. Please keep being oh-so-good while oh-so-misunderstood--and telling all here.
The muffin lady got your fingerprints off the glass of lemonade she gave you and you are now in a national database of possible serial killing pedophilic lying meddlers nicknamd Duff. I'm sorry, MTN. Had this happened in Virginia you might have been protected by our Good Samaritan Law - at least from civil repercussions.
You're totally terrific, MTN, writing and morally, I think. My husband just had to take a course to volunteer at my kid's school...they were told that they could NEVER be alone with any children other than their own, even friends from school in a car. What kind of world are we living in?
Helvetica,

I had to take the same training when I taught kindergarten at a private school.

Man Talk Now,

That was really the thing you could have done differently. You could have sent one of the children to get another adult first. Of course then, the neighbor could have called the little girl's mother right away.

Your post was hilarious, but the sad fact is that children really do need to be cautious with strangers.
I keep saying that, too. But, sometimes, scary hits it's mark.
Loved it!
I don't believe you are scary. I love wolves. You did the right thing. I think you learned how the Salem Witch Trials most likely started.
This was a great read and a great story. Good for you for stopping to help. Though I'd certainly understand if you thought twice the next time. :-}
I left a comment earlier...

I had to laugh, but at the same time I cried inside. What a world we live in now. You did the right thing, but then, you didn't need me to tell you.

R
*sigh* I'm sorry you had to experience this. It is so hard to find balance when teaching our kids how to protect themselves, which we must do. You told this story very well!
For the well-being of the rest of us you should have let those kids look at that bone saw and the rest of your rig for a few more moments before informing them that you were a tattoo artist and those were the tools of your trade.
You did a good day's work, Manic er I mean Medic. =o) This is funny, yet also sad. I feel kids need to know how to protect themselves from real threats, but pre-teen kids who are already stressed aren't necessarily going to be the best people to judge. I'm glad the "biggest lady on the block"had a sense of humor about the whole affair. =o)

rated
Were I ever to find myself in similar circumstances I’d lie. I’d tell the kids, “Yes. I’m a doctor”. Unfortunate to have to do that but the little girl’s well-being takes precedence over a fib.
.
You are a scary Cheerios and sugar eating man!! Great story! I am glad it turned out okay. You crack me up!
@Susie: Ha! Crossover from the Twitter feed. Worlds colliding!

Now, stop telling people about my sugar habit, will you?

I have mixed feelings about some of the things kids are taught, in order to keep them safe. Clearly, they need to be prepared for chance encounters with bad people. But I wonder if the preparation, and the rules they're taught, might not be - sometimes - a little excessive and extreme. And I wonder if there might be side effects, just like with a medicine. Is it possible that children are losing something important when they're taught to be so terribly cautious and alert?

I know it's not a perfect analogy, but I can't help thinking about the alertness we've all been advised to maintain in recent years.
Shocking. So sorry you were questioned. As a white middle class guy you should have been accepted immediately. Just because. You thinking that you are beyond any scrutiny is what is surprising.
There!
Now you’ve been properly slapped down by one of those radical feminist (“If I can’t be a man, nobody’s gonna be a man.”) types. Next time subject yourself to proper scrutiny before helping an injured child, y’hear?!

Funny, I can’t find the part where you asked to be exempt from normal scrutiny.........

.
Hi, rita. Thanks for your comment. Per your many previous comments here, I do realize you don't like me, and I can't really blame you. There are reasons aplenty, God knows.

I'm not sure that being white or middle class had any play in my thoughts, but then, that's pretty subjective on my part, isn't it?

Let me say this, however: I really like your new hat in your avatar! I love it when women wear hats, and I think they look very fetching. ;)

I sure hope you won't take my reply as sexist, or offensive, or anything other than friendly. I always like to receive a compliment, and it makes me even happier to deliver one.
So sad when a Good Samaritan is razzed. Sorry. I guess disinterested spectator is the way to go.
Forgot to rate last night!
Hey I am not immune to flattery and I wasn't slapping you down, perhaps I was a bit harsh. Sometimes the way you come off strikes me differently then others, and maybe I need to take a look at that. I agree the world has become so PC but there are many others that would have been questioned also, say if you were a young black guy or something. But this is not what the post is about so sorry for the knee jerk reaction.
rita, I believe you've made my day. :)
That was easy. smile emoticon.
manic medics make the best EMTs.

R
(chuckle) @littlewillie - They may, indeed.
Man Talk Now,

The comments thread is really making me smile. I think I just witnessed a little OS miracle. Congratulations on participating in Neil's "Drama-Free Tuesday".

P.S. I have a lovely collection of hats, and my character Hope is wearing her best one yet today. ;)
MTN, you've never commented on my hat you rascal. I forgot to say, next time, leave the trench coat in the car and take the cell phone with you. (Just a suggestion)
wonderful, you could publish this elsewhere