We were watching cartoons when my 8 year old asked me about karma. A talking dog had just told a boy not to do something because "karma would bite him in the butt."
"Is that true, Mama?" she asked.
"Will karma bite you in the butt?"
"Not only will karma bite you in the butt, it can also bite the butts of those you love," I said.
Her eyes widened. "Is karma gonna bite my butt because of something you've done?" she asked.
"Nah, not you. Daddy."
"Oh." And she continued watching.
But I had one of those flashback moments. Like the ones on tv where they have squiggly or fuzzy lines to denote a flashback. Yeah. The lines were part of my flashback. I think maybe I watch too much tv.
The year was 1990-something. I was married to a different husband at the time. We had a convenience store and I loved to heckle the customers, especially the ones who picked on me first.
Officer X was one of those. I'm not sure of his title. Honestly, I just called him by his first name. Everyone else did. It was no disrespect on my part.
He was an officer for the state Game & Fish Commission. Great guy. Always came in at the same time of day and bought the same thing. Day in and day out. And he'd find something to pick on me about. Anything. And I never could get him back.
One day as he was leaving, I noticed he was wearing a gun.
"Hey!" I shouted. "You came into my store with a gun?"
"I always wear a gun," he said. "It's part of my uniform."
"Do they let you have bullets?" I asked. I was a little serious with that question.
"Of course they let me have bullets," he answered. He could tell I was serious and I could tell he thought I was an idiot. That's the first rule of not getting picked on: Never let them realize you're an idiot.
He was just about to make fun of me when I said, in my most serious voice, "Wow. You've got cuffs too. I guess you need them when those fish get out of line. How many times in the course of a day do you catch yourself having to say 'Spread 'em, Fish! Put your fins on the hood, Fish?"
Haha. I got him first.
But the next day he came back. I said, "You have the right to remain silent, Fish. You have the right to legal counsel, Fish." He bought his stuff and left.
But the next day he came back. "I bet those bass are troublemakers with their wide mouths and all," I said. He bought his stuff and left.
But the next day he came back. "I don't know how you put up with deer and their insubordination." I got a response.
"You know, when you interrogate one and they just stare at you like they're caught in headlights." He bought his stuff and left.
This witty, one-sided banter went on for ages. I'm not sure why I stopped picking on him. Maybe it's because he finally stopped picking on me. I figure you shouldn't dish it out if you can't take it. Maybe he figured me out.
The flashback ends about here. Squiggle lines back into reality.
Now, I'm happily married and my husband has the job of his dreams...with the Game & Fish Commission. In our state, training for this job is a lot like boot camp. It's 4 months long and extensive. It's hard work. The long-term officers generally teach classes.
That's where I feared my karma would bite my husband's butt.
Sure enough, Officer X was an instructor. I prayed long and hard that he'd never figure out that I was married to one of the cadets. I was afraid he'd have been picked on mercilessly.
"You didn't tell him who you were, did you?" I'd ask when we talked at night. No, he hadn't. Whew.
The day Officer X left, he wished my husband luck and said, "I won't be working with you, but I'm sure I'll see you when you come to visit your in-laws," he said knowingly. He knew all along and, fortunately, he's a forgiving soul.
THAT, I tell the kiddo, is how Daddy's butt could have been bitten by my karma.
But since I can't undo the past, I tell my husband, "Get ready for those trouble-making bass. I hear their wide mouths keep them in trouble."