I had been broken into once before, with thieves kicking in my kitchen door. Apparently, I came home from night school a bit early and saw the door ajar and lights on where I had not turned them on myself. I backed out of the driveway and went next door, called the police and my neighbor and I entered the house. My neighbor had a baseball bat and I had my grandfather’s WWI bayonet. The intruders had seen my car lights and had run out the back door without any loot that I could ever discover.
Lots of stuff was on the kitchen floor, ready to be absconded with. When the police arrived, they asked what was missing. Of course, I had no idea. Most of us cannot do instantaneous inventories of our stuff. It takes a while to realize that minor items are gone. So, I suggest that you take some photos of your stuff—shooting into your closets, into dresser drawers and various shelves.
Flash forward a couple of years and note that it was a few days after my birthday. I was living alone and falsely feeling secure in my domicile.
I don’t know what woke me, but in the middle of the night, in the stygian darkness of my bedroom, I looked toward the bedroom door and saw someone sneaking in, obviously intent on killing me while I slept. He—or she—was doing what I recall as an exaggerated sneak, apparently lifting one foot high, then the other, trying to keep silent before the death blow. The effect was a bouncing walk with that person’s head bobbing.
I immediately sprang into action. I whirled off the bed toward the dresser opposite the door, taking the blanket, sheets, and mattress with me. I jumped up, ready to defend my life to the death—well, you know what I mean.
Instead of a murdering burglar, I discovered that one of my birthday balloons, a metallic one still filled with helium, had followed a draft from my living room, down the hall, to my bedroom, where it attacked me.
I suffered only bruises, but the regaling tales had to wait a bit for my pride to un-grip from my heart.
That selfsame balloon took one more shot at me. A day or so later, I had left it on top of a lampshade, it would heat up and re-aviate, then settle down on the shade again, a living room perpetual motion machine, of sorts. I walked into the house to be attacked (again), with an unholy odor this time.
The metallic balloon had lost enough of the helium to deflate-onto the light bulb, melting it against the bulb and stinking up the place.
And that is why I do not want balloons in my life. A Peanuts cartoon laid it out for us. One character asks another, “What are balloons for?” And Edwin Starr, almost wrote, “Balloons. What are they good for? Absolutely nothing.”
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