Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Terrorist Negotiations.

Twelve years late to the game, my husband and I started watching "24" On Demand and I feel guilty about the eye-rolls my mother couldn't hear when her response on the other end of the line was, "Let me call you after '24.' Gotta go." I did not expect to have interest beyond the first episode, but WOW, Jack Bauer's predicament is intriguing.

My connection to the show is also strengthened because I can strongly relate to Jack's position and thus know what he's thinking and feeling.

Many years ago I felt that same connection with The Bachelorette as I dreamt of a fairytale engagement and wedding. More recently, I felt it with Christina Applegate's character on "Up All Night" watching her navigate a big career with mommyhood. Today, I feel it with Jack Bauer, watching him negotiate with terrorists and hope against hope that he can keep their destruction at bay.

My terrorist is smaller and cuter than the one Jack works with, but unruly and unpredicable nonetheless with massive potential for destruction. Like Jack, I don't want to alarm the terrorist or let him know that I'm onto his plans.

When I see him climb on the first step, I stay very still lest quick movement send him shooting up, and potentially down, the stairs. In my calmest voice I convince him that he wants something else, "Look what I have over here," I chirp, "it's Elmo!" then start singing and dancing hoping vainly he will remove himself from the stairs of his own accord.

When he has my sunglasses in hand and is about to throw them violently on the slate floor I use an aspirational altruistic approach. "Good little boys give sunglasses to their mommies!" I say, "Don't you want to give me those sunglasses? You silly goose, they're too big for you!"

When his little hand is poised about the dog's water bowl, ready for some disgusting table water action I try to redirect. "Look behind you!" I say with nothing but excitement in my voice, "the washer is on! check it out!"

And sometimes, like when I'm trying to make dinner or make him lunch and he won't step screaming to be picked up, I resort to the carrot. "Want some crackers?!"

Will my methods work? I don't know. The outcome is as clear as the end of "24." America loves a happy ending so I doubt Jack's family or the presidential candidate will be harmed, but terrorists are so unpredictable, who can say? Time will tell and unfortunately, I think I have about 24 more months, not hours, to go.

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