I Have a Bat, and I Know How to Use It

Posted by mwallach on August 15, 2011 in My Kids |

Dear That’s Life,

Growing up, we never had an alarm on our house. My parents used to joke that there was nothing to be stolen anyway. “What are they going to take – books?” they would ask tongue-in-cheek. With a father who was a rabbi and a mother a curator, our valuables lined book shelves and came in volumes. The front of our house had large plate windows which looked in to the living room. Curious eyes that decided to peer into our home would have seen the endless display of books, liking our living room more to the Library of Congress than a home filled with silver and jewels. Serving an even a greater deterrent than an actual alarm or attack dog, those books did the trick. Nothing says, “We have nothing to steal” like a house full of books.

As a young bride, my first experience with a home alarm system was on our apartment. It would not have even occurred to my husband otherwise. I was more afraid of the alarm than I was of what it was supposed to protect against. The loud noise, the accidental tripping of a wire or even forgetting the password was enough to scare me silly. It was simply something to which I was not accustomed, nor saw the need for in an apartment. Nevertheless, we had one.

Only when we moved into a home did I really appreciate an alarm, insisting we upgrade it after a series of robberies a couple of years ago. With cameras positioned all around our home I can remotely watch the property and check on how things are going, whether sitting at my desk or away on vacation. It has provided a great peace of mind that I did not think I would ever look for or need. Suffice it to say, however, there’s still a Louisville Slugger right next to my bed, just in case.

I know what you must be thinking: what does she think she’s going to do with a bat? It does evoke images of that famous scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when Indiana Jones is in an open market facing an adversary who is wielding knives that make machetes look like tinker toys. His opponent shrieks loudly while wildly flailing his knives in an effort to intimidate. A crowd having formed around them, and needing to end this quickly, Indiana pulls out his gun. With one bullet, the scene is over, the enemy lying dead on the floor, despite the knives and the shrieking. By the same logic, should an intruder enter my home with something other than a softball, my bat may be of little use to me.

I am aware that some of my neighbors and a good number of our friends all own guns. A good friend of mine has been asking me for years to go to a shooting range with him, promising me that I will really enjoy the feeling of a gun in my hand, and the experience of firing one even more. I have agreed to go, only for the sake of being able to write about it afterwards. Something about the liberal Democrat writing about my experience at a shooting range interests me enough to put my feelings about guns aside for the moment. Owning a gun is just not for me. I respect the rights of those who wish to bear arms, but I will not be joining them at the next NRA rally anytime soon.

I had been looking for something under my bed when I pulled out my bat from underneath. One of my eldest daughters was standing near and she had never seen it before. “Why do you have a bat under your bed?” she asked. I explained that it was not just a bat – it was a Louisville Slugger. She was not impressed. Moving passed that little lesson, I reminded her that sometimes, I was the only adult in the house as my husband often works strange hours. The bat, I continued, gave me some comfort before he arrived home. Perplexed, she still did not get what I was gently trying to say. “If a robber or something comes in the house when Daddy is not here,” I continued a little more directly, the bat in my hand, “then I can protect myself and you guys from harm.” With that, she looked at me straight in the eye and almost without warning, burst into laughter.

“And what do YOU think YOU are going to do with that BAT?” she asked amidst the chuckles. “Swing at the robber to death???” The image of me fighting off an intruder who would surely have at least one gun using only my bat was clearly enough to put her in stitches. She continued to laugh and laugh as I stood there, weapon in hand, feeling kind of useless. Then, I had an idea.

“Know what I’m going to do if a robber comes in the house?” I said. “What?!” she asked, still unable to control herself. “I will do what any other good Jewish mother would do,” I shouted back. “I will yell at him while holding my bat – that should scare anyone out of my house.”

Had she even been able to hear me above her own cackling, maybe my daughter might have agreed. So much for her having any confidence in my being able to protect us from harm. That second image, it seemed, was even funnier than the first.

As Seen in the South Shore Standard Aug ’11

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