Why do I watch the evening news? I keep expecting updates on what’s happening around the world but instead there are clips about tortured house pets, cultural atrocities, war and insurrection, environmental disasters, dumb people tricks, government bafflegab and on and on and on. Honestly, I’d rather watch paint dry, but I’m a news junkie.

Grandma protector. I could do this!

Grandma protector. I could do this!

In the greater scheme of things that are critical to me, those things pale. Kids as young as 11 – usually girls because they are so vulnerable – are being cyber-bullied and taunted. Urged to kill themselves. Told they are ugly or fat or stupid. Why? So some limp dick can get his jollies by hurting someone who can’t fight back? That is so sickening. Those freaks who say and do evil things like that have no life, so they want to destroy others. Have you noticed that they don’t take on men or grown women? They’d get their asses kicked, that’s why.

I fear for my beloved granddaughter because the world is a more evil place than it was when I was younger. She can enter a room of strangers, make eye contact and shake hands with grace. She can hold her own in a conversation, she is focused on her future as an athlete and she is much more disciplined that I was at her age. After school (she gets home at 2:30 which is an incredible waste of learning time) she has a snack and sits down to do her homework. Thursday morning, she does her piano practice before catching the bus.

She got a new iPhone for Christmas and it never leaves her hand. That scares me, because she is so trusting. Anonymous assholes who cyber-bully can wreak so much long-term damage. As much as we try to gently warn her about the evils of online creeps, I’m not sure she realizes the danger. The good thing is, if anything happened I know she’d talk to my daughter-in-law about it.

When my own children were small, I protected them fiercely. I still would, even thought they are adults with families of their own. Because I’m a writer and have an over-active imagination, I used to spend my idle hours dreaming up creative, excruciatingly painful punishments for those trolls and predators. Slow flaying, botched castration with rusty kitchen implements, applications of cider vinegar to open wounds and massive doses of castor oil featured prominently in my arsenal of deterrents. I know that if I ever found out that someone had done something evil to her, had bullied or belittled her, I’d use every resource at my disposal to hunt them down and make sure that they suffered the consequences.

Growing older has not muted my capacity to be vengeful to those who hurt the ones I love (beware the flaming wrath of Grandma). Most of the time, it’s that energy that gives me purpose for other more positive things.