24 October 2006

Terrorized by a small child

I was at the YMCA locker room changing before Karate, and a little boy was there, naked, maybe six years old. I couldn't see anyone else around, though there might have been someone lurking in the rows of lockers. The little boy came up to me and said, "Is it a bad thing if somebody touches my privates?"

Alarm bells started going off in my head. "Um, yes. Yes, that is a bad thing. Nobody gets to touch there." I looked around nervously. Still nobody there. But I was terrified that someone would come in and overhear part of the conversation that I, a strange adult male, was having with a naked child, mistake me for a pedophile, and call the cops. The kid followed me around the locker room, strangely insistent on the topic. Mostly he asked the same question over and over in slightly different phraseology.

The ER doctor in me did wonder if there was a reason the kid was asking this question. Should I ask him? Should I tell someone? Who would I tell? How does one go about that? I decided not to, mostly based on the tone the kid was using -- the same sort of fantasy tone my son uses when he torments me with hundreds of random questions. There was no affective hint of anything other than a little kid rambling on.

So I hid. I bravely went back to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall. In fairness, I did need to use it, so it wasn't an act of pure cowardice. When I came out, I saw the kid had attached himself to some other guy and was tormenting him with repetitive questions, mercifully on a different topic.


  1. I probably would have done the same thing...how scary!

  2. Sad but true that I think that most men in your position would have felt that they had no other recourse than to lock themselves away.

    Wretched state of affairs, although, from your account, it does sound as if the boy was just at that stream of questions stage.

    Regards - Shinga

  3. I've added Liam's name to the Arizona Sex Offenders List.

  4. The entire point and purpose of small children, I think, is to be terrors. That said... better you than me! Glad you escaped (mostly) unscathed.

  5. How aweful. I would have done the same thing, and been tortured about whether this was an abused child reaching out for help. I'd probably stop going to the gym.

  6. The fear of litigation keeps you from doing the right thing.

    Lay people are terrified of doctors so afraid of litigation that they will not speak up when they see treatment plans going wrong.

    My 10 year old daughter's appendix ruptured while she was in the hospital under observation for an acute abdomen.

    A skilled surgeon put in a drain. I could see he wasn't comfortable with the pediatric surgeon's treatment plan of 14 days of IV triple antibiotic therapy, and surgery in 6 weeks.

    But he was determined that I would not ask him any questions. He examined my daughter the day following surgery and nearly ran out of her room to avoid me.

    That, and a radiology tech who told me she was praying for my daughter, were clear signals that my nervousness about my daughter's treatment was warranted.

    We transferred her the next day, and her appendectomy was completed one day later.

  7. I would not have locked myself in a stall, I would have run to the front and told the receptionist at the front. Ugh.

  8. I hope he didn't link up with someone who doesn't think that it's wrong.

  9. What the hell is wrong with you? Why didn't you talk to the management there, find out who his parents were, wait till they showed up and tell them he has been asking a stranger these questions? What normal kid asks that? Even if he's just being a dumb kid asking dumb questions, why didn't you let his parents know? It might be nothing, but it might be the last clue they need to add up all the pieces of the puzzle they've been seeing. Only they would really know. But no, you were too focused on yourself! I'm so disgusted, I'm never reading this blog again.


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