Column: The Year In Review By SUSAN PARKER

Tuesday January 03, 2006

January 2005: A former child star and talented song and dance man, but now a drug addled nincompoop, throws a rock at our upstairs front window and smashes the pane. I climb onto the porch roof to access the damage and find an entire quarry, leftovers from the times he missed. It is a double-pane window and he has broken only the front layer. Due to monetary restraints, I don’t replace it. 


February 2005: The former child star strolls through our back door when no one is looking and breaks furniture. I rearrange tables and chairs to hide the obvious and tell all residents of our home to keep the doors locked.  


March 2005: I take down the photo collage hanging in our upstairs hallway. It is a collection of memorabilia from the early ‘60s, when the man was well known as a child star. In one of the photographs he is shaking hands with R&B star Jackie Wilson, and in another he is dressed in a custom-made tuxedo, shiny dance shoes on his feet, a microphone held in his hands, a million-dollar smile across his face. 


April 2005: Our van’s rear right tire is flat. It must be replaced. 


May 2005: The van’s rear left tire is flat. It must be replaced. 


June 2005: The front passenger side tire is flat and must also be replaced. I’m now on a first name basis with the manager of the Firestone store. We decide someone is puncturing the tires. I park the car in the driveway. 


July 2005: Rear right tire flat again, but this time I discover a sliver of wood stuck in the valve. Conclusion: The man who used to be a child star. Solution: Call AAA and get reinflated.  


August 2005: The man breaks a small pane in the stain glass window of our front door. This is the window my husband designed and made before his bicycling accident, when he could still use his arms and legs. I call the police, cover the hole with duct tape, cry a little.  


September 2005: One night at 2 a.m. the man sticks his hand through the tape, unlocks the front door, and enters our house. I find him watching television upstairs in the back bedroom. I tell him to leave and he does. I summon the police. They say they will pick him up for breaking and entering but, apparently, they can’t find him even though I continue to see him frequently around the neighborhood. I cover the door with plywood. We go into lock-down mode, keeping the front and back doors chained and bolted at all times. Andrea, the man’s former girlfriend, and my husband’s live-in home health aid, pushes furniture against doors and hangs cowbells on knobs so we can hear them jingle if someone fiddles with them. We keep the shades drawn, and ask our neighbors to call the police if they see him. “The short, fat bald guy with the big mouth?” they ask. “Yes,” I tell them. 


October 2005: He rings our doorbell and runs away. Andrea calls friends to accompany her to the nearby liquor store when she needs to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. When there is no one available to walk with her, she takes our miniature Schnauzer, Whiskers. Whiskers weighs only 15 pounds and due to old age and poor diet she has lost most of her teeth, but she hates the former child star and on occasion has been known to attack his ankles.  


November 2005: The former child star shows up outside our house on Thanksgiving Day to wish us a joyous holiday. I tell him to go away. 


December 2005: Two thousand, four hundred and fifty-seven prank phone calls at all hours of the day and night finally take their toll. I tell Andrea she must get a restraining order, or leave. Her mother rents a car, takes her to the courthouse, and gets it done. He is not allowed within 200 yards of our house. 


Happy New Year!