You know that pale, jittery wraith pushing a stroller around the neighborhood with a cellphone in one hand and Starbucks cup in the other? You figured she was heading to the playground, but now that plastic shovel sticking out of the diaper bag is giving you second thoughts. What's really underneath that pile of fluffy blankets? Baby or body parts? You make the call!
Here's a list of 22 questions you could try to work into a conversation next time you run into this suspicious stranger at the park. Or, if you are feeling particularly brave, you could just print this out and let her fill it out herself. Although efficient, this is not recommended.
There's no hard and fast way to score this, but obviously the more "yes" answers, the more cause for alarm.
1.) Is there a hidden cauldron of rage bubbling beneath your apparently placid surface?
2.) Do you often find yourself in situations where it seems appropriate to dress like a clown?
3.) Do you frequently feel under-appreciated or as if no one really recognizes your special gifts?
4.) If you answered yes to Question #3, have you created a rich fantasy life centered around questionable schemes to garner the attention/appreciation/notoriety that you feel you deserve?
5.) Do you now or have you ever spent too much time on the internet googling former acquaintances or people you've just met?
6.) Have you ever used candy, video games, or threats of violence to lure children into or out of your car?
7.) Do you spend a great deal of time organizing scrapbooks, pictures, photo albums, or other mementos of significant events in your life?
8.) Have you thought about torturing small woodland creatures or neighborhood pets for the crimes they have committed against you - or your garden?
9.) Do you keep strange hours, often finding yourself awake when others are sleeping - or sleeping when others are awake?
10.) Is there a large freezer in your garage or basement? If so, are there are least two or three unidentifiable objects that could be pork chops? Or hands?
11.) Are you frequently in situations where you must clean things with bleach?
12.) Do you feel like you need to rip out the entire interior of your car to get rid of the evidence of messes that have been made there?
13.) Are you overly focused on signifiers of the passage of time (i.e. seasons, months, zodiac signs, days of the week) or particular characters from TV or movies (i.e. Charles Manson, John Lennon, Buzz Lightyear, Elmo)?
14.) Do you own a van?
15.) Do you feel as if a major life change has caused you to become increasingly isolated or alone?
16.) Is your day characterized by strict routines focused on eating, dressing or sleeping? Do you feel as if deviation from these might lead to intolerable chaos?
17.) Do you avoid specific public places out of fear that situations might arise which would be both horrific and out of your control?
18.) Do you ever wish you had a dungeon?
19.) Does your home smell like a strange combination of urine and tomato soup?
20.) Are you a slave to strange compulsions you do not entirely understand (i.e. following strangers down dark alleys, searching for discontinued Sir Alistair Rai mantra scarves on eBay at 2am)?
21.) Are you hiding secrets (e.g. killing sprees, junk food stashes, or late-night online purchases) from your partner or children?
22.) Are you or have you ever been overly worried about bed-wetting or fire-starting?