BEWARE. THE WORLD has become so dangerous lately that I am no longer prepared to go unarmed into places associated with high rates of violence, such as kindergartens.
It’s true. A friend of mine was talking about his wife, who started work at a pre-school.
“The kids were so cute and lively,” he said. “They literally slew her.”
I was shocked. “That’s terrible,” I said. No wonder preschoolers wear aprons. Slaying people is really messy.
Reeling from this news, I fled to my computer where MSN featured an interview with an actor playing Santa Claus in the United States.
It was a tough job, he said, adding: “I’ve had children literally tear my heart out.”
Eww. And I thought MY kids were naughty. Even in their worst tantrums, none of them have ripped out my internal organs (yet). If they have done so at school, teachers have said nothing about it in their school reports.
Where did children learn how to disembowel people?
Maybe from books. National Public Radio, a US broadcaster, carried a report on children’s book writer Alison McGhee: “McGhee says that in Someday, her ninth book, she literally put her heart on the page.”
That must have hurt. Did she do the surgery herself? Or get one of the kids who recently practiced organ removal on Santa Claus to do it?
Violence is all around us. Watching a game show on an Asian satellite channel, I heard the presenter say about a young female contestant: “She literally blew her competitors away.”
On Canadian television, actress Jamie Lee Curtis said: "How many college students do we hear in their freshman year literally explode? They explode with drugs and alcohol, they explode with sex, they explode with eating, they explode with not being able to get work done on time. These people are exploding."
This extreme mayhem is not limited to the world of education. I got a call from a woman who had forced her workaholic husband to take time off to go and see a live comedy show with his buddies. “Did he like it?” I asked.
She replied: “He literally died laughing.”
I didn’t know how to respond to this. “Oh. How are you and the children taking it?” I asked.
She replied: “We’re delighted, of course.”
To escape from all this carnage, I retreated to my sofa and the TV remote. But the idiot box was also full of violence.
On an Asian sports channel, I heard a commentator say: “They literally cut the other team to shreds.”
On Fox News a reporter said: “Court observers saw a key defense witness literally melt down on the stand."
On a cable lifestyle show heard a woman say: “I’m literally working my fingers to the bone, crawling the walls and pulling out my hair.” (If her fingers are just bones how can she use them pull out her hair, let alone climb walls with them?)
But the most baffling statement came from an entertainer. Singer Naomi Judd appeared on the Larry King talk show on CNN. She said: "We literally become whatever we think about all day."
That makes me a dish of chicken and potato curry. I’m dangerous too, but only to your waistline.