No 162 - 2000
The Way All Trends Do
The Groomgrab (1) Phenomenon at the Start of the Millennium
For fulfillment of the requirements of SOCI 917,
‘Methodologies, Dichotomies, Paradoxes, Iconographics, and Uncomfortable Shoes:
The Post-Millennial Nonsense and Why Everyone Made Such A Big Deal Out Of It
Instead of Pretending It Was Just Another Stupid Decade, Which It Was.’
Professor Megan Woodhall/ Sjoboen-Pimlico/ Wren
University of Western Los Angeles, Including Brentwood, Malibu, Santa Monica,
And Scattered Portions of Ventura County
November 30, 2017
It seems to have begun the way all trends do, with whim meeting opportunity.
The first groomgrab (2), as they came to be known (3) , can be traced back to July 14, 2001 in an area of Los Angeles then known as Westwood. Drew Becker, 28, gay, single, and David Marshall, 27, also gay, also single (4) , were driving home from a movie when they spotted seven-year-old Aaron Booher playing ball by himself on the sidewalk. ‘Desultory was the word that came to mind,’ Marshall is reported to have said. Some eleven weeks later, just when groomgrabs were on the upswing, Becker and Marshall appeared on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show to describe that historic first occurrence.
Becker: [Booher] was just bouncing the ball, all by himself.
Marshall: It was the saddest thing.
Becker: So Dave goes, ‘Poor kid, doesn’t look like he’s having any fun at all.’
Marshall: It was true, and you should have seen his clothes. I mean, who puts their kids outside in corduroy in July?
Becker: Or any month?
Marshall: Really. Just because he’s seven doesn’t mean he doesn’t notice what he’s wearing.
Becker: Right. So I said, ‘Someone should just grab him and take him to the Gap.’
Marshall: Redo him top to bottom.
Becker: Buy him an ice cream cone or a chocolate chip cookie.
Marshall: Give him a nice time, in other words.
Sally Jessy: And that’s when you –
Becker: That’s when we picked him up, yes.
Sally Jessy: You ‘grabbed’ him.
Marshall: Hence the name.
Three and a half hours later, Marshall and Becker dropped Booher back on the same sidewalk, dressed in a new short-sleeve, sueded crewneck sweater; khaki walking shorts; and a pair of Timberland Kids sandals. He also carried bags filled with Gap Kids polos, a Guess Kids belt, a stuffed Godzilla, and a Richard Scarry book on multiples of five (5). Booher’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Booher, were unaware that anything had happened until Aaron himself returned home. The police report includes the fact that Aaron repeatedly asked his mother, his father, the police officer, anyone he could find, ‘Can I go again tomorrow?’
The beginning point of all arguments and counter-arguments to the practice of the ‘groomgrab’ all begin here with little Aaron Booher’s question. ‘You see,’ say the grabbers, ‘Booher was never in danger and had a little fun injected into his life for the first time in ages.’ Anti-grabbers, with some merit, point out that seven-year-olds often also find activities like vomiting and bee-stomping fun, i.e. a seven-year-old is not exactly the best judge of what good, healthy entertainment is. However, the point of this paper is not to judge the action (6), merely to map its movement across the country and see just how the country got swept away in this most peculiar of fads.
Witness Marcy ‘Pebbles’ Morrison, youngest granddaughter of (then) 9th Circuit Court Judge Bosco Morrison (7). The younger Morrison, in her seminal Take Your Hands Back On Me! (8), the first real study of groomgrabbing as a cultural phenomenon, reports that ‘my own, personal groomgrabbing was the most exciting couple hours of my life to date. Nothing else has come close. I would trade the best sex I ever had for that time in my childhood. In a heartbeat. It was the first time any adult had treated me like a special little human, for no reason, just because I was there.’
Morrison goes overboard a bit by calling her groomgrabbing an experience of feeling unconditional love (9), but you can see her point. A research survey by the University of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Including Parts of Barbados and St. Lucia conducted in 2005, roughly a year after the trend had died down, reported that the groomgrabbed children ‘overwhelmingly’ reported the grabbing as an unequivocally positive experience. Looking at the survey’s raw data, ‘overwhelming’ is actually an understatement for once. Fully 99.58% answered ‘emphatically yes’ when asked if they considered their groomgrabbing to have been a good experience (10). A smaller, more recent study of groomgrabbed children who had recently entered college was conducted by sociologist Tiffany Blandershot-Fields at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, reported not only the same almost-impossibly high satisfaction rate as the UMNHVIPBSL study (11), but also showed scholastic achievement including SAT and Advanced Placement Test scores miles and miles above the national average (12). Naturally, in addition to the scientific studies, the anecdotal evidence is voluminous (13).
Ronald Laramie, Butte, Montana: ‘I didn’t even think there were any gay people in Butte, so getting groomgrabbed never really entered my mind. As far as I know, I was the only one in the whole state to be grabbed (14). My grabbers were this older couple who’d apparently driven all the way down I-90 from Deer Lodge, which, My God, has like seven people so you can just imagine the kind of risk they were taking. I was ten, and they took me to one of those pizza-arcade places, Charlie Cheese or something (15). They also bought me a boxed set of The Chronicles Of Narnia and this great little black suit with an antique Golden Girls tie. It was a ton of fun, and I pretty much became a celebrity. They even asked me to be Grand Marshal of the Elk Parade, which is a big deal in Butte.’
Jessica Mankiewicz, Encino, California: ‘It happened when I was seven, and I remember it was near Halloween. My two guys were Harry and Reed. Reed was Asian, and Harry had wavy red hair. It’s funny how clear it all still is to me, isn’t it? Anyway, they asked what I wanted to be for Halloween, so of course I say Spidergirl because that movie had just come out (16). So what do these guys do? They take me to the studio to get outfitted! My guess is that one of them had to work there, because otherwise how would we have gotten back into the Costume Department? I got this kickass little Spidergirl suit made of the same rubber they used in the movie. It weighed like thirty-five pounds. I dragged and sweated my way through trick-or-treating, but how cool was I that year?’
Savon Carmichael, Carson City, Nevada: ‘I remember that I’d been kicked out yet again from my group of so-called friends. See, I was a fat little kid, and unfortunately I wasn’t even that funny which is pretty much the only thing that saves you if you’re a kid and you’re fat. Actually, my grabbers, who weren’t even black, said it’s pretty much the same thing with being gay. If you’re a sissy, you better fucking be funny, or you’re going to get your ass kicked. My grab was just the simplest thing, you know? They bought me a sweater and a watch, which I still have, and I remember, of all things, this belt. This really nice entwined leather belt that didn’t have holes in it, you could just hook the little prong anywhere in the entwined leather. Do you get my meaning? It didn’t have holes in it. So I didn’t have to worry about making a new hole or being too fat for a hole. I could just wear it however. I can’t tell you how much something like that meant to me. I really believe that that little belt was a catalyst for everything I’ve achieved so far. Med school (17), my beautiful wife, everything. I owe those two guys a lot.’
Maggie Nakagama, Cadley, Georgia: ‘From what I’ve been told, I guess I was the first recognized fabgrab (18). My couple didn’t buy my any clothes, which is what’s supposed to happen on the groomgrabs. They took me for the day to Six Flags Over Augusta. I just had the best time in the world. I remember I was playing by myself in my babysitter’s front yard, and these guys drove up and grabbed me. They left a Fendi (19), and we drove on over to Augusta. We spent hours there, hours, going on all these rides that my parents would never let me do, eating cotton candy, playing those parkway games. I mean, I threw up twice, but it was all in good fun. And you know, when I got back, the Fendi was still in the yard. No one even noticed. My grabbers let me keep the flag so I could prove that it happened.’
Hunter Poulsbo, Redding, California: ‘I guess I had kind of a weird grab. Mine took me to a mall and bought me a new outfit, but what I really wanted to do was figure out fractions. I mean, I was only nine, and I was having the damnedest time figuring them out. So when they asked me what I wanted to do next, I said, ‘Fractions.’ And we spent the rest of the afternoon in a booth at McDonald’s doing fractions. I don’t think I would have ever cracked them if it hadn’t been for my grab.’
Working in pairs
Most of the anecdotes mention the still-unexplained phenomenon that all groomgrabbers worked in pairs, never alone, and never more than two. It’s possible that since the first groomgrab by Drew Becker and David Marshall happened with just the two of them that an unspoken tradition formed. There is also the possibility that the still-tenuous feeling surrounding homosexuals and children (20) added an extra note of caution to the grabbers, that is, two homosexuals together was somehow less questionable than one homosexual alone with a child (21). Other theories include the ‘Ostensible Parental Substitution Matrix Principle’ by Dr. Timothy Prong of the University of Nome, Et Al, whereby the grabbers subconsciously acted in mother/father figures as a sort of ‘Ideal Parental Pair’ to enhance the grabbee’s feeling of comfort thereby displacing the ‘Actual Parental Dichometric Placement’ in the something-or-other for the somesuch and so on (22). There is also an interesting idea put forth by the Gay and Lesbian Association for Public Statements in which the pleasure of the experience for each of the three members of the grabber-grabbee group is enhanced by sharing it with two others rather than just one, the grabber is able to share the joy of the child with the other grabbee and the child feels as if he or she is being selected by not just one adult but two, making the child feel all the more special.
There seems to be no consensus among the grabbers either. Given the veil of anonymity that descended shortly after the Sally Jessy Raphael interview (23), there exist only nineteen verified grabber interviews, all within the first two months of the trend (24). There is scarce mention of the importance or significance, or even reason, for working in pairs. All grabbers just seemed to do so on unspoken agreement or subconscious purpose. An August 29, 2001, interview in the Chicago Tribune Sun Times with a grabber known only as Colin contains the only mention this researcher could find in any of the published materials on grabbing (25):
‘At first, my lover and I just thought it was a neat idea. You know, sort of sprucing a kid up without any of the leftover responsibility. All of the good, none of the bad. Like being a grandparent for a day. But then it just sort of took on a life of its own. It was kind of an unspoken thing between the two of us that we never mentioned and that we never talked about with anyone else until one day we saw this seven or eight year old girl hopping over cracks in the sidewalk. And her hair was all ratty and her jacket was frayed, but she was just having a good old time leaping over cracks. There was just this sort of feeling between me and my lover, and we grabbed her. We took her to the mall, bought her this Bugs Bunny bomber jacket that she loved and some patent leather shoes that she also picked out. We took her to Chinese and taught her how to use chopsticks. Then we took her back. This was before the Fendi became popular, but it turned out no one was looking for her anyway. I’ve no idea what happened to that girl, and to be honest, my lover and I don’t really talk about it. Just sort of think of it and smile together, you know?’
Colin’s remarks suggest a sort of happy-go-lucky conspiracy, a kind of benevolent coup that one person wouldn’t have the guts to do on his own and needs another to egg him on and vice versa. It’s the same principle as peer pressure, jumping off a bridge just because all your friends have done as well, with the exception that there’s no primary leader here. The couples (26) came upon the idea and it blossomed at the urging of them both. This would explain the ‘euphoric’ atmosphere so many grabbees note, feeling the thrill of the danger and rule-breaking of it all. Unfortunately, given the anonymity that has remained in place for the last fifteen plus years, all of this tantalizing speculation will have to remain just that.
‘A Sweepstakes Appeal’
‘I remember there was this air of excitement hanging around the neighborhood and especially the school. We’d all seen groomgrabbing talked about on TV and the web, and everyone was coming up with reasons why it would or wouldn’t happen in Monmouth (27). People were saying it was too small. Other people were saying that’s exactly why someone would be grabbed from Monmouth, because most of the grabs were happening in small towns. You know, it’s like when there’s a super huge Powerball Jackpot, like that one last year that got up to two billion? Everyone one talks about it, everyone wants it, nobody really thinks anybody will, but everybody secretly hopes (28).’
Grabbee at age seven in 2002
Bopp-Twernig mentions an aspect of groomgrabbing also discussed by Blandershot-Fields in the UHH study. She (Blandershot-Fields) writes that as the trend spread and the months passed, groomgrabbing began to take on ‘a sweepstakes appeal. The grabbings came, in a surprisingly short amount of time, to be regarded as a prize, a luck of the draw windfall which anyone’s child could win.’ Anyone else’s child, that is. According to an Us-People sidebar feature at the time, parents tended to preface any comment about groomgrabbing with something along the lines of ‘Well, my child will never be grabbed because he/she has so many friends and is so well-loved, I can’t ever imagine him/her looking quite pathetic or lonely enough to be grabbed. For everyone else, however...’
This was, of course, more or less an outright lie on the part of the parents. Economic Nobel Laureate Ken Kern-Terwilliger of the AT&T Gallup Nielsen Institute calls this phenomenon the ‘Martin Cramwell Would Be A Terrible Governor; Long Live Governor Cramwell’ Effect (29) in which poll participants, afraid of the opinion of the polltaker, lie about their real feelings. As a matter of fact, it turns out that parents were actively placing their children in solitary spots, leaving them with only a ratty tennis ball at the public park, say, or forcing them to walk any number of miles home from school. National statistics of child neglect cases covering the years before, during, and after the height of the trend look like an especially precipitous bell curve (30).
Not that it mattered. Colin, in the same interview quoted above, indicates that groomgrabbers were expert in picking out fakes:
Are you kidding? We have to spend all our lives secretly looking for other gay people in things like church and work and school. Oblivious is one thing we’re not.
Most fakes were easy to spot. As Colin puts it, ‘Children in stained white t-shirts do not bounce rubber balls off of blacktop wearing Todd Oldham shoes.’ Even more easily, all groomgrabbers usually had to do was ask if there was any doubt. Paradoxically, a child instructed to look like an appealing candidate to a groomgrabber would usually want to please the grabber so much that they would reveal the lie in an effort to win trust. Children don’t really learn irony until they get to Joseph Heller in the eighth grade.
As it is, every major study that has attempted to cross-section the ‘average’ groomgrabbee has come up lacking. Both the UMNHVIPBSL study and especially Blandershot-Fields cross-referenced, graphed, mapped, collated, coded, signified, indexed, concordanced, cataloged, enumerated, scheduled, classified, and alphabetized the grabbees until finally throwing up their hands in frustration. The youngest groomgrabbee was four, the oldest thirteen, and about all anyone’s been able to generalize is that groomgrabbees were between four and thirteen.
Grabbees were evenly split between boys and girls. They fell along racial lines at roughly the same rate as was represented in the population. There were grabbings in all fifty-two states plus Guam, with the only even mild statistical spike being a larger than average number of grabbings in Alaska (31). Interestingly enough, the grabs cut across all financial and social strata as well, which would seem to contradict the point of the groomgrab. Booher, first mentioned at the top of this report, makes for an interesting study on this matter. West LA at the time was a fairly wealthy, posh neighborhood. Booher, who it turned out lived in a $2 million home and had a six-figure trust fund, should not necessarily have been a test case for looking like poverty. Nonetheless, despite his wealth, as his groomgrabber Becker said, ‘Money doesn’t always mean a kid’s not going to fall through the cracks.’ To which Marshall added, ‘Or have appropriate taste.’ The grabbers seemed to concentrate on how pathetic the grabbee seemed rather than his or her financial background. Another reason for the demographic well-roundedness of the grabbees might be the much-discussed notion of homosexuality as a vertical minority, encapsulating bits from every other group including the rich and the poor. As Blandershot-Fields writes, ‘Maybe it’s as simple as they went with what they knew.’
Official Reactions: A Note To Historians
Of course, groomgrabbing was, by any definition, as illegal as treason, and future historians removed from the zeitgeist might quite creditably wonder where the hell the authorities were in all this? But picture if you will the state of the country at the time: The manned Mars mission had been sabotaged by extremist MarsFirst!ers; the Namibian Potato-Chip Debacle had its claws deep into the nation’s economy, sending unemployment up to double digits; and the Belizian War victory was turning out, thanks to the MSCNN investigation, to be even more Pyrrhic than previously thought. Malaise wasn’t even the word for it; the country was downright morose( 32). It’s the same reason Bonnie & Clyde and the James Brothers became cultural heroes at different earlier parts of the previous century.
The Winfrey Administration, naturally, reacted to the trend with what became its legendary pragmatism. On February 17, 2003, the White House issued a press release stating, ‘I don’t see anyone getting hurt. In fact, I see people getting helped. What’s the problem?’ Not a single one of the over four thousand known incidents of groomgrabbing ever resulted in even an arrest (33). Local politicians typically opposed it until they met someone who was groomgrabbed, then the issue just sort of dropped (34). Maybe the overwhelming reason was that the official opinion seemed to be a need to condemn groomgrabbing, but secretly, everyone liked it and wanted it to go on. At the bottom of it all, like so many other things about groomgrabbing, the true cause for the lack of reaction remains elusive.
As does, it seems, the end of groomgrabbing. The last known groomgrabbing was on November 3, 2004 (35), and after that, nothing. There weren’t even scattered grabs or copycat grabs. What happened? Why did it stop? It’s a circular question that leads back to Why did it begin in the first place? A whim meets opportunity, and then the whim leaves. Blandershot-Fields touches on the subject only briefly (36), but suggests that groomgrabbing simply ran its course the way all trends do.
The author has another theory. Rather more than a theory, in fact. An unknown truism of groomgrabbing, not shared with any of the studies or so far discussed in any forum, is that all groomgrabbers imparted a single instruction to all grabbees. The author knows this because, as previously stated, he was a groomgrabbee himself. He has confirmed this with numerous private interviews with other groomgrabbees (37) who are in agreement that the time for the instructions is near. They have graciously agreed to let the author be the first to make the instructions known, partially because the format (38) lends itself so nicely to rumor.
The instructions were simply, ‘Pass it on.’
The way all trends do, groomgrabbing is going to make a comeback.
The first groomgrabbing of the second wave happens sometime next month (39).
(1) In the interests of full disclosure, the author wishes to state that he was groomgrabbed at the age of nine. He was taken to the Glendale Galleria, outfitted in Ralph Lauren, and deposited back home with a chocolate chip cookie and a copy of World magazine. Although he remembers the experience as ‘delightful’, he wishes to express his intentions to remain objective on the matter.
(2) This paper will use the original lower-case spelling of the term commonly used in most Western U.S. media. The trend started in the West and was only (mistakenly) capitalized in an aggressively negative Washington Times editorial.
(3) Distinct from the fabgrab, which evolved later.
(4) They were ‘just friends’.
(5) Which may or may not have been appropriate to Booher's age, but neither Becker nor Marshall had nieces or nephews by which to gauge when a child reads a certain book. Marshall apparently had to talk Becker out of Anais Nin.
(6) Though again, in the interests of disclosure, the author wishes to indicate that he wouldn't trade his groomgrab experience for pretty much anything in the world.
(7) The senior Morrison, of course, being President O'Donnell's recent, controversial appointee to the Supreme Court.
(8) As well as Groomgrabbing: A Reflective Memoir, The Groomgrab Guidebook (softcover), A Personal Oral History of My Life Leading Up to and Following My Groomgrabbing (2 volumes, audio only), The Groomgrabbing Sonnet Cycle, and The Groomgrabbing Find-A-Word, by which time it was pretty much agreed she was beating a dead horse.
(9) ‘Unlike most girls, I'm not looking for my father in a husband; I'm looking for my groomgrabbers, which sucks because they were gay.’
(10) Only 3 out of 714 respondents reported negative experiences: A boy in Rochester, New York, said that his groomgrabbers’ idea of fun was three hours of Monopoly, an idea of fun with which the boy did not concur. A girl in Tacoma, Washington, reported that her groomgrabbers declined to let her select the colors of her own clothes citing their expertise in ‘someone with Autumn features,’ an event which traumatized the girl to such an extent that she has only worn black (a winter color, apparently) since her grabbing. The last was a boy from Tucson, Arizona, who had an anaphylactic reaction to some roasted peanuts at a minor league baseball game, something which he does not blame on his groomgrabbers and something about which he says, ‘Up until that point I was having a great time.’
(11) 99.01%, 110 positive responses out of 111. The lone negative response was from the Autumn-featured girl who also manages to pop up in the only two other studies of groomgrabbing: the infamous Brookings survey now in its eleventh year of litigation, and a surface-skim report in Us-People that was more personality profiles along the ‘Whatever happened to....?’ line rather than in-depth analysis.
(12) 37 interviewees scored a perfect 1600 on their SATs. Average was 1571 (almost a thousand points over the national average of 592), and most students generally had a fistful of perfect 5s on Advanced Placement subjects as varied and esoteric as Bavarian German and Mathematical Paradoxes.
(13) Literally. Blandershot-Fields' interviews alone comprise seventeen volumes.
(14) Not true. A nine-year-old girl was grabbed in Helena in the summer of 2003, and an eleven-year-old girl was grabbed in Missoula in early 2004. Interestingly enough, the two girls were opposing forwards in the 2011 Montana State Girl's Basketball Championship Finals. Missoula won.
(15) Probably either Chuck E. Cheese Pizza or Charlie's Cheesy Pizzeria, both of which, remarkably, had chain restaurants in Butte. The latter closed its doors in 2005 as a result of litigation by the former.
(16) Spidergirl Eternal, Universal, 2003. Record domestic take of $997 million only recently surpassed by P. T. Anderson’s Equestrians Ho!
(17) Carmichael was one of the 37 perfect SATs.
(18) A variation on the groomgrab which focused more on having a fun time than on getting better
clothes. These were especially popular in the east.
(19) Referring, of course, to the dark blue flag left at the scene of a groomgrab. It originated during a groomgrab in Erie, Pennsylvania, when a groomgrabber wanted to leave a note but had no paper. He left a dark blue Fendi scarf that he was wearing tied to a chainlink fence near the site of the grabbing, assuming (correctly) that if the parents came out to check on their son, they would figure out what happened. It's also how the blue flags came to be known as ‘Fendis’ or ‘Fenders.’
(20) Though less so since the introduction of the Spark-Bailey Outvitro Harvesting technique.
(21) Yet another example of the incongruous bends of logic taken as the millennial swirl wrapped the country in holier-than-thou contests.
(22) Whatever. As Dr. Shaniqua Jackson, head of UWLAIBMSMSPVC's own History, Sociology, Gender, Xenophobia, Misogyny, and French Studies Department says, ‘There's a reason Dr. Prong is in Nome.’
(23) Along with the pairing aspect, anonymity remains a second puzzlement of the phenomenon. The author had intended to devote a section to the topic, but what can you really say except a bunch of theoretical hokum without one jot of fact? One day, one hopes that a grabber will at the very least write a memoir, to be published posthumously even, giving the world some insight into the mysteries that remain about groomgrabbing.
(24) The vast percentage of information about groomgrabbing comes, of course, from the grabbees themselves, who not only share an abundance of self-confidence but also media-savvy to spare. An astonishing fourteen out of twenty-five nominees of on-air personalities for last year’s Talk Show Emmy Awards were former grabbees. Average age: 24. Grabbees won all five categories, including Trinity Sheffield-Conyers, 22, who won the coveted Host of the Year, an award that had never previously gone to someone under the age of forty. This year, grabbees account for nineteen of the twenty-five nominees with Sheffield-Conyers considered a lock for a repeat as Host of the Year.
(25) Attempts to contact and interview an actual grabber, of course, were fruitless and in vain. The attachment to anonymity continues a decade and a half later. The author did, in fact, contact many grabbees, but that's it as far as first-hand knowledge goes. The source information remains, and probably ever shall, one-sided.
(26) And grabbers generally seemed to have been couples, that is, lovers who were in a relationship together. At least, that would seem to be the impression among the grabbees whose viewpoint, granted, was a bit young to be judging intimacies among adults.
(27) Small town in northwestern Oregon. Coincidentally, Bopp's school was one of the seven buildings in Monmouth demolished in 2004 when a piece of the ‘forgotten’ Russian space station Horosho hurtled through the atmosphere, making for a lot of embarrassed apologizing on the diplomatic front.
(28) An impressively apt description of the lottery, which shouldn't be surprising as Bopp-Twernig's series of editorials on consensual crime law was shortlisted for this year's Pulitzer.
(29) After the millennial Governor of the State of Washington who trailed his more moderate and, it turned out, far saner opponent by upwards of forty-seven percent in polls going into the election, an election which he then won by 17,000 votes. It turned out voters were far too embarrassed to admit to pollsters that they supported the, ahem, colorful Cramwell. After the ensuing conflagration, loss of life, in absentia impeachment hearings, mass suicide, and consequent movement of the state's capital from Olympia to Everett in Cramwell's second year, it was nearly impossible to find anyone who would ever have admitted voting for him in the first place, although you can't really blame them. The effect is also blamed for the fall of France to Greenpeace in 2011, as well as Finland's hostile takeover of Norway in 2015 and, to a smaller extent, the election of U.S. President G.W. Bush, Jr. and Vice President P. Anderson Lee in 2004.
(30) Neglectful or Groomgrab-hopeful parents were often turned in by an older generation of grandparents who just about had to glue their mouths shut to get their jaws off the floor. The author's own grandfather has a decade-old rant spouting incredulity on the actions of parents during the groomgrab period, most especially including the author's. The rant remains the same, as does the
degree of passion accompanying it. The family has learned to just not bring the subject up.
(31) As Blandershot-Fields notes in one of her less academic moments, ‘What elsedo they have to do up there?’
(32) Things got to be so circular and reflexive that the most common movie bad guys went from being splinter-group Muslim terrorists to actual movie studios and executives. Q.v. Rush Hour: Product Placement, No Matter How Hard I Try I Still Can't Quite Shake What You Did Eight Summers Ago(a movie so ironic and self-reflexive both the heroes and the anti-heroes meet bad ends), and Tarantino's unwatchable, five-hour Fuck The Producers, Man, They Fucking Suck!
(33) Including Booher's parents mentioned at the top of this report. Within a month, they had dropped the charges and signed a book deal.
(34) There weren't even many conspiracy theories. Televangelist Rob Patrickson tried many times to raise the issue of a ‘left-wing, homosexually agendad [sic]’ plot to ‘ruin our precious children.’ But in order to get the details on the conspiracy, you had to mail Patrickson Ministries two hundred dollars, your social security number, and a hand-writing sample, so that never really went anywhere.
(35) Jackson Hurd, age 9, from Scottsboro, Alabama. His grabbers (a pair, as always) dressed him in new Levi's and new boots, then took him to a monster truck rally. Hurd is now a Republican (‘though very moderate’) U.S. Representative from Alabama's Fourth Congressional District.
(36) Her main focus being profiles of the grabbees.
(37) Who would only discuss the secret with a fellow grabbee. The author will not name them because part of the instruction is to pretend that there were no instructions. Any grabbees mentioned by name in this paper will profess no knowledge of these instructions.
(38) I.e. an unsourced, undergraduate term paper.
(39) If pressed, the author will deny having said any of the things contained within this paper.
Patrick Ness was born near Alexandria, Virginia, and has lived in such centres of American industry and culture as Wahiawa, Hawaii, and Puyallup, Washington. He currently lives in (slightly larger) London, England. He has completed work on a novel and, not having learned his lesson, has optimistically embarked on another.
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