By Desmond Homann, Variety Editor originally published in Issue 1, Volume 31 of The Univeristy Register on Friday, September 14, 2018

Let’s talk about her. You know exactly who I mean. Maybe her name is Karen or Carol or Cheryl or Annette; either way, you know which one I mean, and you know just how powerful she is. With a glass of wine in one hand and a lapdog that she calls her “baby” in the other, she will do anything in her power to prevent you from being invited to the cul-de-sac’s cookout. After that nonsense you pulled last year with your store-bought taco salad, there’s no heckin’ way she’s going to let you back in.

You see her sometimes at the store. Try as you might, this is one place you can’t avoid her. Occasionally she’ll be in the baking aisle. You pretend not to see her, as you know she dislikes people finding out that her “secret recipe” brownies are just the Betty Crocker mix with a couple extra white chocolate chips thrown in for good measure. If she knew that you knew the truth, she’d send you straight to H-E-double-hockey-sticks. It’s a fate one tries not to think about. After all, it’s been months since anyone last heard from Martha.

Karen-Carol-Cheryl-Annette-Dianne becomes more powerful with each year that passes. Somehow, word got out in the middle school, as it does with kids that age, and her son told her that your son is “different” because of his haircut. She doesn’t let her son play with yours anymore. She says she doesn’t have a problem with “those people,” but she doesn’t want to see them on TV. There might be children watching! You figure that she watches a lot of TV, probably shows you’ve never heard of where dissatisfied housewives seek adventure in any form, from alcoholism to hunting down younger men. These are the shows that give Karen-Carol-Cheryl-Annette-Dianne-Tammy her immense power. You fear this power.

There have been a few times that you’ve run into her around the neighborhood. She’s not outside often, unless it’s to walk the dogs. She has two dogs: the small one is her “baby” or her “princess” or “a precious angel” and the large one is some sort of pitbull mix who “was raised the right way” but still tries to remove your ankles every time you walk by. She once asked you why you don’t love her dogs as much as the other parents do. You mumbled out some half-answer about how raising pets takes a lot of time and money that you would honestly rather use for yourself or your children. She didn’t accept the answer. It wasn’t the first time you two disagreed about raising living things. Only two years earlier had you tried to point out to her that a cat cannot survive on a fully vegan diet. She responded in the same way that she did when you begged her to vaccinate her sons. She wanted you to stay away from her family, as there was only one person or entity that could judge her. She was too powerful.

Karen-Carol-Cheryl-Dianne-Tammy-Deb hasn’t been the same since the divorce. Maybe that is why she has been lashing out at you more than usual. Her husband gets the kids on the weekend. The weekend is her “me time.” She can often be found at Olive Garden with some of the other parents, drunkenly berating the waiter because there is a language barrier and he’s trying his best to take her order. You avoid this place, especially during this time of the week, as its haunting aura indicates just how unwelcome you are. This has been a normal feeling for you. Maybe you shouldn’t have brought store-bought taco salad to the last cookout.

Photo on top courtesy of Google Images