Monday, September 6, 2010

Formative Childhood Experiences

I think that people are formed by both their genetics and environment, but I also think that experiences we have as children might have a bigger influence than those later in life. As children, we have less knowledge of life to draw on when we evaluate events. Maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems that way to me.

I don't, however, really have any clue as to how all of these events ultimately affect and form us. There is one memory from my childhood that really sticks out in my mind. I don't know how it affected me in the long run, but I do know that it provided me with a stark realization that some people can be heartless and cruel. Especially when they do things to spite other people.

My sister and I lured every stray cat and dog that passed by to make our house their home. We would sneak and feed them lunch meat and other snacks, so getting them to stay was never really a problem.

Anyway, there was a kitten, whose name I can't remember, on the other side of the road from our house. I believe it belonged to one of the strays we had at the time. I was in our front yard when I saw a car stop in the road, a few feet from where the kitten was. The kitten was still on the grassy bank of the creek, next to the road.

I was afraid the car would hit the cat, but since the car had stopped I thought they were waiting for the kitten to cross. I started calling, "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty!" The kitten didn't budge. I ran to the house and told my mom, who was sitting in the living room, that the cat wouldn't come and that there was a car in the road. She told me to call it by its name.

So I ran back to the yard and called the kitten's name. Immediately, the little kitty got up and started to cross the street. At this point the driver of the car revved his engine, did a small burnout, and then plowed right over my kitten.

I began sobbing frantically, just standing dumbstruck where I was. The kitten was now just a splattered mess on the road.

I don't remember if I went in the house or if my mom came out when she heard the car rev or me sobbing. I just remember feeling crushed and confused.

It turns out that the driver of the car was a relative (a cousin of mine, I believe) who was mad at my dad. So to "show" my dad, he decided to kill a kitten in front of his youngest child. That ought to learn 'im!

As an adult, I try to picture what sort of person would see a young girl, maybe six or seven years old, standing in her yard calling for her kitten, then think something like, "I'm going to run over that kitten while the little girl watches. That'll show her f**king dad to make me mad!"

And what sort of person could actually carry through with such an act? I wonder if he would have ran over me if I had crossed the street to get the kitten. He may have been on drugs, so I honestly wouldn't put it past him.

Looking back, I really feel sorry for the little girl and the kitten. I don't think of her as me. I see her as someone else's little girl. Maybe my little girl. Then I am filled with fury at the spiteful, callous, selfishness of the asshole that ran over the kitten. If he weren't a thoughtless coward he could've just had a conversation with my dad. Or simply resolve to get over whatever problem there was.

Instead he chose to hurt two innocent creatures to get at the person he was actually upset with. That speaks volumes about the person he is. I don't know what childhood experiences taught him that sort of behavior was okay, but somewhere along the line we have to be held accountable for our actions. No matter what bad things happened to form the person he became, he chose to perform that disgusting act.

Incidentally, a few of my other prominent childhood memories involve cats and unfortunate events. But for today, I think I've shared enough sad cat stories.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god, that is horrid. I must have blocked that out because I don't remember it. Lots of my memories from then involve cats, too. I remember when my kitty named Chubby was run over at the old house. I recall that whole evening vividly. It's insane. Oh, and you'll have to email me and tell me who it was that did this. There is no statute of limitations for me on this sort of evil. I can't imagine someone doing that.