When I drove to church yesterday, I drove through the remains of someone’s night of revelry. In a pre-back-to-school spree, some jolly dumbasses celebrated their dumbassiness by driving along our quiet country roads, slaughtering the mailboxes.

Plastic boxes were shattered. Metal boxes were caved in, battered, knocked down or transported far down the road. any that couldn’t be demolished had at least their front flaps knocked off or bashed in. Mail was scattered to the winds. A bin of weeds and a large sack of garbage had been strewn across the road.

My husband and I were amazed at the rage this triggered in our pacific breasts. It’s so stupid, so random, so pettily and mindlessly malicious.

Someone recently tried to break into the house of a friend of mine. She wasn’t home at the time, but she might have been, and has been burglarized while she slept, so the recent incident angered and frightened her and all of us who care about her. It makes sense to be enraged that someone would violate your property and privacy to steal what you worked hard for (and she has earned anything she has by hard work, too. She’s not a lazy-butt like me.)

What doesn’t make sense is being as angry as Charlie and I are (yes, that’s grammatically correct, although it sure doesn’t sound like it) about this mailbox thing. Mailboxes are overpriced, but not astronomically costly. I think it’s just the pointless destruction of it–and the fact that the kids who did it don’t care if the box belongs to the teacher who failed them three years in a row or the great-grandmother of their best friend–if it’s a mailbox, it’s a target. They’d probably shoot fish in a barrel if they weren’t too trifling to look for one.

So tell me: Will I still go to hell, if I pray for God to forgive the vandals? Will I still go to hell if I whisper the prayer into God’s ear? If I hope he’s deaf on that side?

MA

writing prompt: What small cruelty sends you into a rage? Write a character who is enraged by a small cruelty, either yours or one you imagine.

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