chainsaw_header“I’m only a man with a candle to guide me. I’m taking a stand to escape what’s inside me. A monster, a monster—I’ve turned into a monster! A monster, a monster—and it keeps getting stronger!” Lyric excerpted from ”Monster”; recorded by American rock band Imagine Dragons, for the soundtrack to the 2013 action role-playing game Infinity Blade III.

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” this proverb is one this writer lives by and is a mantra for any home I live in. (Because losing and looking for stuff sucks). Since moving into our new residence, some things are still finding their places; whereas others have already found their forever homes.

Case in point: when at home my cellphone will not be left by the bathroom sink, forgotten on a nightstand or pull an all-nighter in the car. It can always, and will forever be, plugged in, on the left-side counter, beside the microwave, in front of the banana basket thingie (which never has bananas). Until today…when it is not!

Okay, no problem, grab the house phone and dial… yep there’s the default ringtone, echoing down the hall. Now just follow the tune… which abruptly stops and is replaced by a high pitched, off-key falsetto, “I wanna be the verwy best-wike no one eva was! Catching them is my weal test, twaining them just becauwse. I will twavel acwoss the lands; seawching faw and wide. Each Pokéman to undewstand the powers that’s inside… POK-E-MANS gotta catch a ball!”

It’s obvious that a certain little, yellow, stuffed bear side-kick of mine has “borrowed” my phone. More so, when discovering the pillow fort he’s constructed on my bed, where he’s happily playing Pokémon-Go (on my out-of-placed phone), surrounded by his collection of Pokémon cards.

John Q. what are you doing? “Being the verwy best… wike no one eva was obviousally!” he replies smiling. Using my phone? “Mine is bwoken and if I don’t go the Pokémans how will I be the verwy best… wike no one eva was?” he replies pitifully.

JOHN Q. POKEMAN COOKIE MWe should always encourage others to be their very best. So I decide to let it slide and inquire who his favorite Pokémon is. To which he enthusiastically replies, “Cookie Monster!” What? John, Cookie’s not a Pokémon!?! “Yuh huh!” he replies defiantly as he shuffles through his deck and presents… Cookie Monster — Street type: 100HP: Special Attack: OM-NOM-NOM-NOM. He further educates me that Elmo evolves into Telly, Grover can become Super Grover (if you have a Sinnoh Stone) and Big Bird doesn’t evolve but can summon a woolly mammoth with “STOMPLE” attack using an imagination card. (Those of you who didn’t grow up on da streets of Sesame are excused if you don’t get all that).

There’s a need to explain to the little bear the large contrast between the Sesame Street Monsters, who help educate kids through humor and fun, and Japanese Pocket Monsters, whom kids capture, imprison and force to fight to the death (What? That’s basically what they do!). But he just shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter Mr. Chainsaw-man,” he says somberly, “they’re all monsters… and monsters awe evewywhere these days! The diffewence is…” he motions to the scattered cards, “none of these monsters can’t any-no hurt you for reawl!”

An articulate argument forms in the back of my throat, accompanied by an unvocalized, unnecessary reassurance that there are no such things as monsters. But it is found quelled before it can begin. Despite his child-like mannerisms and speech patterns, John is showing his years, decades which are more far reaching than my own. And he is right…there are monsters.

Something as simple as a bad day or unwanted (“incorrect” in their eyes) response can bring them out of hiding. When their situation turns sour, they in turn turn on those closest and most vulnerable to ease their own lamentation. Thriving on fear and angered more so by it, as they lash out with fang and claw to reestablish their power through abuse of the powerless.

We cannot openly defeat these monsters and direct confrontation is ill-advised, as it may only further endanger their prey. But we can be watchful and wary to try to preserve the innocent resolve of their victims. All the while making sure we don’t become the monsters ourselves.

I welcome almost all questions or comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused! See ya.