“Dear General Rossum,
Every time my friends and I have a sleep over, everyone else wants to play Bloody Mary. They all take a turn going in the bathroom, turning off the lights, and saying her name three times. Everyone else does it, but I always say I don’t want to. They make fun of me, but in the end I don’t have to do it. But we’ve got another sleepover this weekend at Trudy Hill’s house, and I heard Trudy telling the other girls they’re going to get me to play Bloody Mary no matter what. I’m really scared and don’t know what to do.
Anxious in Antwerp”
To start, you should have gone through with this a long time ago. Your friends see you as weak, which can only end badly. You have to make this weekend the best Bloody Mary they’ve ever seen, so the group doesn’t think you can be taken out.
First, position the mirror between you and a bathtub. Then fill the bathtub with water. Next, collect all the toasters, hairdryers, and anything else with an exposed electrical coil in Trudy’s house. Plug them in and drop them in the tub. Now whatever comes out of that mirror is going to get…. the shock of her life. (My editor made me say that.)
When my daughters did this game I remember they were also supposed to light a candle. In the field I always found the pilot light on a flamethrower was always just as good.
It really doesn’t matter if nothing happens, like nothing happened for your friends. It just matters your friends know you’re ready in case something does.
“Dear General Rossum,
Every year October is a terrible month for my neighborhood. We have a band of hooligans that go around egging houses, tp-ing trees, smashing pumpkins, and all around make everyone else miserable. How can we best deal with these nuisances?
Tormented in Toronto”
First, it’s refreshing to see Canadians once again deferring to American wisdom. I respect your humility, and just want to remind you that we’re always happy to add another few stars to the flag if y’all ever wanted to upgrade to fourth world country and join us.
Some people claim the best way to deal with a bully is to ignore them. Those people are idiots. The best way to deal with a bully is to break their spirit and leave them weeping in the shower. In this case, one-upmanship is always best.
To start, basic traps where welcome people won’t walk always works. Tiger pits, boards filled with nails, and guard dogs are all standards. There also are a lot of interesting possibilities with basic household items. Really let your imagination run wild.
When they come to egg your house, be ready and waiting to egg them back. I assume they’re using chicken eggs. If you can find them, ostrich eggs both have more yolk to spread, as well as harder shells. An excellent delivery system is a t-shirt cannon set on “Stadium.”
Confusing the enemy is also a great tactic. When your trees are tp-ed, collect the toilet paper, roll it back up, and leave it in a basket at your front walk, with a sign reading “I think you forgot this.” Then, booby-trap the tree. Nature is your friend here. A bee’s nest weakened to where toilet paper might knock it loose or a territorial hawk ought to sort your problem for it.
Pumpkin smashing is also an easy offense to guard against. It requires proximity, most of the time even involving them putting their foot in the pumpkin. When celebrating overseas, I always found it best to place a small landmine inside. If you can’t get ahold of some this short notice, broken glass can always work, or, if you’re technologically savvy, the airbag from a car sends a pretty clear message. If you’re into poetic justice, you also can put dog poop inside the pumpkin.
The most important part is to get your neighbors on board. Why keep the vandals just off your yard when you can completely run them out of your neighborhood?
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