It Takes a Village To Raise a Child, But It Only Takes One Dumb Mother-Fucker to Blow the Child’s Hand Off and Set Fire to My Home

July 5, 2007 at 11:00 pm | Posted in America, Lowell | 3 Comments

fireworks.jpgLike most fine patriots, I spent last night watching an awe-inspiring pyrotechnic display.  However, unlike the fireworks that you may have watched, these were detonated by Puerto Rican toddlers playing on my back deck. 

As a result, today’s mood?  Crabby as all hell.  You suck, America.

We live in a large rectangular condominium complex, with a parking lot in the middle.  Lining the backside of the complex on all sides is a shared deck, with spiral staircases that lead down to the lot.

Across the way live the Ramirez children.  Ramirez may or may not be their real name; I have no idea.  It’s the name I hear them use sometimes, but not always.  There are seven of them between the ages of 3 and 13, with many names, as they naturally all have different fathers.  I adore each of them.  And if I could adopt every one, I would do so without hesitation.

Their mother is a negligent and remarkably fertile degenerate, who pushed out these seven kids (plus one, now deceased) by the age of 30.  Now I guess she sits around and smokes cigarettes.  We rarely see her, and she allows the kids to run around Lowell barefoot until all hours of the night. 

Somehow this laissez faire mode of parenting has yielded positive results.  They are happier, more polite, more outgoing, and less whiney than most of the children I know whose parents obssess over their every move.  But despite the apparent success of her methods, one cannot help but cringe when little Joshua scampers across the parking lot in his diaper, suddenly appearing from behind a parked car as our neighbors pull into the lot after work.  Disaster looms around every corner when you’re not wearing shoes in this dirty neighborhooed.  Or at least a nasty flesh wound.

For the last couple years, the kids have spent a lot of time in our home.  And it’s been a total joy.  When they move, which is rumored to be soon, I will be devastated.  They are my best friends, and they are not even half my age.

In any case, as I went to bed last night, I noticed an intense ground display of fireworks erupting on the deck just outside of their unit.  It was so bright that it concealed anyone in the vicinity.  But when the smoke cleared, I could make out a few Ramirez silhouettes.

I hardly knew what to do.  While the chances of a full-scale disaster may not have been great, it seemed, at the very least, unwise to blow things up on the wooden deck.  With propane-filled barbeque grills and neighbors sleeping and all that.

fireworksinjury.jpgWhile I’m generally unsurprised by such things as the kids being out near midnight, or being barefoot, or crawling through the dumpster barefoot at midnight, this latest episode took me aback.  Could their mother really be this out of it? 

As I pondered that question, I saw *Yomara, 11, holding a roman candle and shooting it across the parking lot toward the units on the other side.  Simultaneously, another ground display erupted, filling the corner units in smoke.  I could not believe it.

Barefoot myself, I ran down the stairs and across the parking lot, through the rain, and back up the stairs to their corner unit.  But to my surprise, the kids were not shooting the fireworks from their unit.  They were with their neighbors, who were eating takeout food at a kitchen table filled with fireworks.  I’d never seen these people before, and I would’ve remembered because there were two hot Asian chicks and we all know that Lucy the Dog loves some hot Asian chicks.

Whoever they were, these Asian chicks and Asian dudes, all in their late-twenties or early-thirties, looked at me at their sliding door and then returned to eating their food.  Being horrible with confrontation, I turned to Yomara and said, “What are you doing?”  And she said, simply, “It’s theirs.”

One of the Asian chicks came outside, and completely flustered, I said, “You can’t shoot these off out here, what are you thinking?”  She replied with a one-word answer so stupefying that I was left near speechless:  “Why?”

Why???  Why???

Sounding like a totally prudish nerd, all I could come up with was, “Because people live here!”  Then I turned to Yomara again and said, “You don’t light a firework in your hand.”  To which Yomara matter-of-factly stated, “But it doesn’t hurt.”

How could I begin to address that one?  How could I undo the notion planted by these idiots that it’s OK for a 10-year-old to shoot a roman candle off a common deck.  Out of her hands.  And oh yeah, WHERE THE FUCK IS MOM?

xiomara1.jpgIt is difficult to express why this was such a maddening five minutes of life.  I love Yomara.  Love her.  She is a beautiful child.  Ashlee and I have sung “Honky Cat” on the onDemand karaoke channel with her.  We have made brownies for her class.  We have brought her to Ashlee’s studio.  We have helped her with homework and played math games with her on the computer.  We have taught her card games.  We have given her hand-me-down clothes and art supplies.  We have given her and her siblings hundreds of dollars worth of snacks.  We have deflected our neighbors’ justifiable rage on the occassions when the kids, unattended, have unleashed chaos in the parking lot with bikes, balls, roller blades, and trash. 

In short, we have tried.  We have tried to be a positive influence in their lives, lives that have been and will continue to be very, very difficult.  And I don’t mean to be whiney; we’ve enjoyed trying.  They’re fantastic kids.

But what is the point?  Living in this not-so-hot area of Lowell can be infuriating.  The projects that surround us are filled with losers.  Absolute losers.  For every Ramirez kid, there are a few hundred like them in this city.  They’re wild animals growing up in a lawless environment, and fending for themselves. 

You can try to help them.  You can have social programs and you can promote education and you can fool yourself into thinking you’re making a difference.  But at the end of the day, your efforts add up to nothing more than the cartoonish fingers in the dyke. 

Because somewhere, some dumb mother-fucker thinks nothing of giving a 10-year-old a handful of explosives.  And it’s making me insane.

*One day, Yomara showed up at our door with a picture of herself as a baby.  She asked Ashlee to paint the picture, the final result of which is shown above.  What a fantastic talent that Ashlee is.  I am blessed.  Though just as I type this, she has opened a can of tuna fish.  My hatred of the smell of tuna fish is much stronger than my love for my wife.  So perhaps I will kill her now.



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  1. Don’t kill Ashlee. Then the prices of her wirk will skyrocket out of my price range. Wait until we can afford one of her pieces, then kill her. Thanks.

  2. you are too late. it is done.

  3. The first line of this bog entry borrows heavily from a certain article from the summer of 2001.

    You are worse than the late Stephen Ambrose.

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