Meredith Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem

Meredith Carroll
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

There’s nothing like a murderous mom to make one who isn’t homicidal feel better about herself.

I’ve been a little down in the dumps over the past few weeks as the soul-crushing antics of my nearly 3-year-old daughter have forced me to empathize with those tragic women who purposefully drive off cliffs on their way home from the grocery store or go out for walks to the mailbox never to return by choice. I wouldn’t dream of harming my daughter (despite her feeble cries that pointedly indicate I am to blame for each knot that I attempt to brush out of her hair in the morning), but there’s a decent chance I just might disappear with my passport and a stack of unmarked bills if her current round-the-clock Sarah Bernhardt-like dramatic antics don’t cease, like, three hours ago.

I didn’t follow the Casey Anthony trial until the verdict last week, along with the unavoidable headlines that she appeared to have gotten away with the murder of her 2-year-old daughter. In the days following the bombshell verdict, a mob of cable-news pundits speculated that she will be in grave danger when she leaves jail this Sunday. Which got me to thinking: What if Casey Anthony were to move next door to me?

I mean, I wouldn’t want her to become my neighbor if it would mean someone taking a shot at her, missing, and shattering one of my flowerpots instead or something. And I definitely don’t want a sociopath who, you know, probably killed her own, around my kids. But assuming that Casey Anthony will be watched so closely until the end of days that she won’t have the opportunity to burp without accounting for which can of soda in her recyclables caused the bodily faux pas, her presence just might perk me up a bit.

After all, that someone could be without her kid for a month while out partying and participating in things like hot body contests (good for her, by the way, for having a hot body just two years after giving birth!), lie about it and seemingly feel no remorse makes me feel like I should have demanded a recount when I didn’t win any mother of the year awards on the second Sunday in May. Last week I had the house to myself for two blessed hours and felt so guilty stretching out on the couch and watching something other than Dora and that rascally little fox Swiper that I turned off the TV after 15 minutes to empty the dishwasher instead.

If I went so far as to solicit Casey Anthony to move in next door, I wouldn’t be the first person to surround myself with bad people to make me feel better about myself, would I? How else do you explain those who associate with O.J. Simpson (post-murder trial, pre-current jail stint) or the Kardashians? After all, the last neighbors I want are do-gooders making me feel worse about myself than I already do for raising a child whose current method of communicating is shrieking like she’s the next contestant on “The Price is Right,” only if “The Price is Right” were actually a euphemism for the gateway to hell.

No, at the moment I’d rather have Chris Hansen patrolling my neighborhood with confidence that he can film his entire next season of stings on “To Catch a Psychopath” in one fell swoop (assuming NBC hasn’t canned him before then because of the sting on him) than live in an area in which doors are left unlocked at night because the worst that can happen is a bear comes inside for a midnight snack and is gone by dawn, conveniently taking with it the lunchmeat should have been thrown out last month.

Of course, if Casey Anthony were to move in next door, I might have to pull my shades all the way down at night. Not for privacy, but because the light from her room might keep me awake. You must not sleep when the best fib you could come up with is that someone named Zanny the nanny took off with your kid: rookie mistake.

I don’t know that knocking on Casey Anthony’s door to borrow a cup of sugar will make this phase of my daughter’s toddlerdom any less stressful (please, God, let it be just a phase and not a foreshadowing of the next 15 years), but at least it might make me feel a little better having a constant reminder that there are moms failing at parenting even more dismally than me.

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