Ive always considered myself a pretty tough character. After all, I gave birth to two children.
Having said that, I admit Im a wuss when it comes to the possibility of being attacked. I know there are bad guys out there. I read newspapers. I get around. And theyre all waiting for me to do something really stupid, which in my case is kinda like waiting for a dog to bark, or for taxes to go up. Just hang on a minute.
So, I went to the Chapel Hill Police Departments recent Self-Defense for Women class at the Womens Health Spa. I am now not only strong, but potentially lethal. (In fact, if I can get a hold of your thumb, youre history, baby!)
I have to give these officers credit. They were so polite, so patient. For example, one of their tips was to keep a stick in a sliding door to stop burglars from getting in. But sometimes, these doors are installed backward, they warned. One woman asked how to tell if the door is backwards and the officer said, Well, the door that slides should be on the inside. The lady looked perplexed, so the officer noted that otherwise the stick would be on the outside and the bad guy could just remove it. She was still confused until a friend whispered to her and finally her face took on the same Aha! look that mustve been on Einsteins after that whole Relativity thing.
We asked lots of questions: Can I shoot a man whos trying to break into my house? Can I shoot a man if hes banging on the door, screaming hes going to kill me? If I lock the car and take the remote, can I leave my keys in the ignition?
There were also unspoken questions I wish Id asked: Can I shoot a man whos stealing my hair dryer? Can I shoot a man who says Im fat? (Just kidding. I know I can shoot a man who says Im fat.)
Eventually, there were enough real questions about shooting men that the officers got a little nervous. They stressed to us that women are capable of inflicting serious injury and are punished just as harshly. Like the time they were called to a domestic disturbance at the home of a well-known baseball player. When he came to the door, it was obvious that his girlfriend was beating the crackerjacks out of him, and she was arrested.
The officers were solemn, but we all looked back at them with barely concealed smirks. The girlfriend had obviously heard, Sorry, honey, I got a game and Cool! the World Series is on! and Why go out to dinner? Well have hot dogs at the park just one time too many. Hes lucky she didnt get a hold of his thumb.