(I had to write about what happened at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City on 1/12/07; I couldn't write what I wanted to because it wouldn't come out. So I wrote something much, much, much milder for the Scheherazade Project on the assigned topic of lies.)
All I wanted was to have a nice, quiet evening, unwind a little, ya know? Go get some spaghetti, do a little retail therapy. How could I have known what was gonna happen?
You get to where you almost expect it at the schools. Well, maybe that's a little strong, but you know what I mean. You hear about a school on lockdown, your heart stops beating, you think about everyone you know, their children, realize no one you know attends that school, you don't know anyone who works there, and you can sort of breathe again. I mean, it still gets you right in the gut, but at least you know it doesn't affect you personally.
But a mall! Who shoots up a mall? And anyone could be at a mall. Your nana, your next-door neighbor, your Sunday school teacher, your baby-sitter, the punk kids who keep toilet-papering your house, the principal, the mayor, your best friend, you--
Yeah. I was there. I like the Old Spaghetti Factory--they have the best fettuccine alfredo in town. And I wasn't really in the mood for Italian, but I wanted to unwind a little, like I said. And then I thought I'd do a little shopping, get some body lotion, a little candy, try on some clothes. I've been on a diet, I've lost 40 pounds--I see you're looking at how fat I am but it's true. I know I've got a lot more to lose, but I've lost a lot, honest. Anyway, what I'm trying to tell you is that Trolley Square is one of my favorite places. It's not like those other malls, all carbon copies. Well, it kind of is, it's got a lot of the same stores as they do. But it's got atmosphere.
Well, I wasn't really there. But I could have been. I mean, I thought about going. My sister-in-law, Kitty, whenever she visits from Buffalo, we used to go to Schmitt's Bakery and get coffee and eclairs. She always used to say that Schmitt's had the best eclairs. And what if Kitty had been here last night? We would have gone to Trolley Square, because we always go to Trolley Square even though Schmitt's isn't there anymore, because it's tradition. You understand tradition, don't you?
But what I don't understand is all these young people, they're unhappy, and they think they have to go take it out on the world. Well I'm unhappy, you don't see me shooting people. Although Ernie, God rest his soul, there were times I felt like shooting him! Well, anyway, what I'm saying is when you're unhappy, you just gotta deal with it, know what I mean? Because shooting people isn't going to make you any happier. And then you shoot yourself, and there's all that mess, and all those people, and everything's in such an uproar, and nothing gets solved. And then what happens? All those other miserable little punk kids see what you did, and they think, wow, that's a good idea, only they've gotta do it bigger, they've gotta do it better, and it goes on and on. Today Trolley Square, tomorrow the Galleria, next week Mall of America, know what I mean?
My mother, God rest her soul, used to say to me, Nancy, she'd say, these are the best days of your life. Well you and I both know that was a big fat lie. I mean to say, if those had been the best days of my life, maybe I would have felt like shooting myself! But I wouldn't have shot anyone else! Okay, maybe my mother. But you know what I mean. Not really. Because that's not how we did things in those days. We didn't shoot people we didn't even know just because we were mad or hurt or sad or felt bad. We didn't fly planes into buildings either, or blow up buildings because we didn't like our government. Know what I mean? No. Here's what we did: we got over ourselves. That's what we did.
I was watching television the other day, some young person's show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Don't laugh at old ladies, it's rude. it's actually a very good show. Anyhoo, this real b-i-t-c-h said something very smart to Buffy and I think all these snotty kids need to hear it. She told her to embrace the pain, spank the inner moppet, but get over it. Something like that. Same thing. Get over yourself. These kids gotta start thinking about something besides themselves.
They think their pain is the only thing alive in the world. And that's the big lie. They think there's nothing else bigger than their pain, and the only way they can find any relief for their pain is to kill themselves. But they gotta make the grand gesture, know what I mean, and take out as many others as they can along the way.
How are we gonna teach these kids the truth? I don't know. What are you gonna do? I'm just an old woman.