Do you ever have sudden evil thoughts—the kind that make you blink hard and shake your head to drive them away? I have had evil thoughts all my adult life and whenever I have mentioned one to friends, they deny ever having entertained such fantasies. Here’s an easy one: I asked a group of close women friends if they had ever had the urge to shove a pedicurist backwards off her stool and watch her lie there, astonished, with her legs kicking in the air. Their responses ranged from one choking on her coffee to another shaking her head in emphatic disapproval. I have had many pedicures over the years and have never even wiggled my toes in a threatening way, but I was surprised that my friends were shocked at the fantasy.
I started thinking about this after reading an article about Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl and several other books and screenplays. The piece caught my eye because it concerned Flynn’s writing about “the dark side of femininity.” You can read it here, though I warn you that there is a sentence that includes “uses…the evocation of post-recession malaise..to flow into incisive cultural critique, and even employs postmodernist flourishes like metafiction.” When I reached that whopper of a sentence, my mind wandered to my own “dark side.”
I cannot think of a single violent act I have ever committed except punching my brother in the nose when I was 12 (he was nine, so at that time I had the size advantage). I have fantasized about driving my car through a crowded intersection (hard blink, shake of the head) but I know I would never do such a thing. I used to hug the wall while carrying my infant son because I was afraid I would throw him over the bannister. Would I do that? Of course not. I believe it was a way to be particularly careful carrying a baby downstairs but when I mentioned to another new mother at the time, she was shocked. I hope, Dear Reader, that you aren’t shocked as well, but just in case, I’m keeping the rest of my “evil thoughts” to myself. But I’d love to hear about yours–and I promise not to publish them, even if they are shocking.
Photo by Callum Wale via Unsplash.