27 Dec

One of my favorite members of The Justice League is The Flash. I like his attitude, his sense of humor, and his ridiculously inflated ego hiding what is probably a mountain of insecurity. I identify.

I have sentimental feelings for The Flash, too. It wasn’t until I had children that I discovered The Justice League. Our son began watching the show as a young boy and pulled my husband and I along for the ride. Before long, the three of us were avid Batman fans and had decided Superman was a wuss. (He visits Lex Luthor in the hospital, for crying out loud!) When we discovered our daughter loved The Justice League, too, we were overjoyed. About four years ago, we spent an entire week at the beach, playing in the sand by day and watching Justice League episodes by night. At four, our daughter didn’t get the names all quite right. Wonder Woman was “Woman Lady” and The Flash was “Fast.”

I was reminded of my fond feelings for The Flash recently by my cousin. We were having hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on Christmas Eve. This particular cousin happens to be about my age. Actually, I have a whole passel of cousins who are just about my age, give or take two years, but I share a special experience with this one.

My cousin reminded me that perverts just really seem to like me. Naturally, she didn’t come out and say, “Wow, Janice, perverts really like you.” She was reminiscing about one particular summer in her hometown in New Jersey. My family was visiting her family. Between the two families there were four girls: me and my sister, my cousin and her sister.

We were young teenagers that summer, my sister the oldest and my cousin the youngest. The four of us went for a walk in the woods behind my cousins’ house. As we were walking, we heard a voice saying, “Girls! Oh, girls!” We looked around, not sure where the voice was coming from. “Girls! Over here, girls!” We finally located the source of the voice. It was a young man, naked, inviting us to check out his natural endowments in the wooded natural setting. I recall being astounded, then laughing and running away. My cousin recalls the same. My sister claims not to remember any of it.

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of my experience with perverts. In college, I joined a sorority. One early summer evening, I was standing near my bedroom window, applying my makeup in preparation for the weekly trip to “The Bars.” I saw a flashing light out of the corner of my eye. I looked into the parking lot below, saw nothing of consequence, and turned back to my making up. Again, the light flashed into my window. Again, I looked down into the parking lot. This time, I saw something of consequence. I saw a hand wrapped around a “unit,” hand busily at work. I did not see a face, as the hand and unit were “spotlighted” by a flashlight. I screamed, then called the police.

The Urbana police responded to the call. Oh, how they responded to the call. Summer evenings at the sorority were spent sitting on the front porch. A number of my sisters were sitting on our porch, as were sisters at the house next door and the house next door to that. Two police cruisers pulled up to the house. I was already on the porch, waiting for them to come up to the house and take my statement. Did they come up to the house? NO! They stood on the curb conversing with each other loudly, like this:

Cop from second car, getting out of his cruiser, assessing the situation: “So, we got someone pullin’ his pud?”

Cop from first car, acknowledging pud pulling: “Yeah, this young lady (indicates me) reports he’s out back shaking his snake.”

They did not find the pud-pulling, snake shaker. I don’t think they even tried. Probably, he was one of their own, sent out on slow nights to stir up some entertainment on sorority row.

I was much older the next time I was flashed. Some few years ago, my neighbor and I developed a walking habit. We went together to motivate each other and we went at night because that was the only time we could go together. We walked in good weather and in bad and we walked every night. We walked in our neighborhood, past houses full of families just like ours.

One night, we heard someone calling to us. We looked to where the sound was coming from and saw nothing. Then we heard the sound again, from the same spot and this time saw a naked man. We were surprised because one doesn’t expect to find a naked man on a walk at night. Mostly, though, we were surprised because it was freezing out. The man ran as soon as he realized we had seen him and we said, “Hey, come back! Don’t run away!” Poor guy. Probably looking to shock and intimidate and the best we could give him was sarcasm.

I’ve read that there aren’t as many females compelled to expose themselves as men because there are so many legal outlets for women inclined toward exhibitionism. Stripping, for instance. And, isn’t it just like a woman to find a practical outlet for her compulsion? Take off your clothes in public and get paid for it without getting arrested. That’s a neat trick.

Actually, my neighbor takes off his clothes in public and never gets arrested for it though what he does should be a crime. Every summer, as soon as the temperature goes over 80, this guy is outside shirtless. I’m no prude. Alexander Skarsgaard without a shirt? I’m all over that. But, we’re talking the Pillsbury Dough boy’s older, flabbier brother here.

I should probably pretend I’m appalled, rather than just repulsed, and see if I can get the neighbor to keep his shirt on when he’s outside. After all, my daughter is only eight years old. She should be given as many years as possible before she has to put up with men flashing their bits of pasty white flesh her way. Right now, the only flashing she needs to see is in Justice League reruns.

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