The never-seen villain in every kid’s house


A long, long time ago on an old familiar street not so far away lived a typical family of seven for the time – or so they thought. Living inside the house located at 110 Flamingo Street was a mom, a dad, four brothers, an annoying older sister, and a little green parakeet who ate hushpuppies off the Dad’s head during dinnertime.

But there also lived another. It was as much a family member as anyone, but it was also something else – the cause of all the children’s trouble.

It broke everything in our house. It was the cause of any of our front or backyard, injuries. If The Sister got picked on or there were arguments in our car, it was the instigator. And if any of us innocent children got into trouble at school, it was always the culprit.

It was never caught, never heard from, and never even seen by anyone. To say it was a troublemaker and an out-and-out liar would be the greatest understatement known to mankind. And now, “Not Me” is something else. Clawing its way back from my childhood, Not Me has finally found me and is once again causing trouble.

While living on Flamingo, Not Me didn’t seem to care about anything. It didn’t care if us kids were being punished for what it had done. When we said in unison that it was Not Me who melted the candlesticks our parents bought while in Germany, it never confessed.

It broke countless toys, wrecked bikes, threw rocks that broke windows, hurled misdirected water balloons at passing cars, started the Great Marshmallow War of ’69, and caused all the fights on Flamingo but never once got caught.

Not Me was never seen by our parents, but somehow they knew it was always innocent. In fact, they seemed to always defend it. The phrase, “Don’t blame Not Me for what you did,” was spoken loudly by our parents almost every day. Not satisfied to stay in the past, Not Me is once again causing trouble for innocent little children.

While growing up on Flamingo, my parents thought it only plagued us boys, but now I know differently. Not Me causes havoc equally for both genders. When Little One and Sweet Caroline, our two granddaughters, were born, all was well for a while. They were free from all worries of the world, all troubles, and especially free from all the things Not Me would soon do.

Just four years later, Not Me has not only found them, but has once again taken up residence in a house where Yours Truly resides.

I could list everything that Not Me has broken in our house or retell all the lies it has told, but I do have a word limit to this story. Let’s just say the way things are going, given a couple of years, there will not be enough paper nor ink to list everything. Not Me is neither male nor female, is in every house that has children over the age of 4, and takes up residence with the rich as well as the poor.

Thankfully, most of us have grown up leaving Not Me behind in our childhood. Others are not so lucky. Not Me has followed some folks into adulthood. And it seems that it is alive and well in one occupation more than any other – especially when folks get into trouble. (That’s why you won’t ever see me running for office and becoming a politician!)

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]