friday faves - don't mess with this chick

I always wear a backpack, messenger bag or a satchel with a long strap over my head and shoulder. I never carry a purse. At first it was merely my preference, but now I make a habit of it.

One day, back when I was living in San Francisco, I was walking from work to the bus. I strolled along the Embarcadero, then veered onto a grassy path, which meandered through an office complex. Suddenly, a man rushed up behind me—I felt the air he pushed—and he swiftly hoisted my black knit skirt high above my waist.

Incredulous, I stopped dead in my tracks, my black leather zip-up high-heeled boots planted firmly on the ground, feet slightly apart, my wide backpack strap secured diagonally across my chest. I calmly asked him his name and, as if I had approached him in a smokey bar, he told me with a sleazy air of confidence. Then I asked to see his driver’s license, which seemed to snap him out of his illusion and into the reality of his crime. Simultaneously, I noticed a group of onlookers standing behind a large, full-length window a few feet away. The guy bolted so I lunged at him and, with one hand, snagged a belt loop on his navy corduroys and wrung the back of his shirt collar with the other. “Call 911!” I screamed at the bystanders, certain they could hear me through the thick glass.

The culprit freed himself, tearing his shirt collar and ripping off the belt loop, then he sailed down the path. I darted after him. As the villain approached the main street spectators started emerging from their offices. He turned the corner—out of my sight for a second—but was blocked by a young man carrying a portfolio. The crook began to act like nothing had happened, but all the while I was yelling the details of his offense to an attentive crowd that had formed. I positioned myself in front of him on the sidewalk to prevent his escape. As he continued to deny his crime a woman appeared and exclaimed, “he did it! I saw the whole thing and the police are on their way!” At that moment he tried to get past me, but I pushed his shoulders and shoved his chest hard, pinning him between the cars and another man who had stepped in to assist me. I continued to preach to the crowd, “if this guy gets away with this he’s gonna to do worse things” and then, to my assailant, “don’t mess with this chick.” He made a final run for it just as the cops peeled around the corner and cuffed him. Fortunately, I had been hands-free because of my backpack, but I couldn't have overcome him without the help of a lot of great people—all strangers to me, and yet my friends.

I never met with another nasty foe until almost six years ago. That was when Calvin was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was just two years old. At first, I had no idea what we were up against, but I soon learned that epilepsy would become my greatest adversary, and Calvin's too.

When it comes to finding a cure for epilepsy, this most violent offender, I cannot do it alone, not even in those kick-ass boots. Calvin and I need the help of others, of you—our friends—and of strangers. That's why I am writing the blog. It is why I am asking you to donate to epilepsy research. You will be nothing less than a superhero—Calvin’s superhero—and you’ll be bringing us one step closer to a cure for epilepsy, our only hope for arresting this hateful disorder.

Please donate to epilepsy research at: http://www.calvinscure.com

A version of this post was published in February 2011.
drawing by Christy Shake

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