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Avoiding the evildoers, Jan. 24, 2006

I left work a couple hours early on Friday. I had been putting in longer than normal hours associated with the redesign of the paper and I knew I would be working the weekend.

I needed to get home because my house was beginning to look like it had been abandoned. There were sticks all over the yard from storms that have blown through since Christmas. They littered our walkway and I was sure someone was going to trip.

In addition, leaves from a big birch tree that sits near our front door were everywhere. They were actually piled on the front porch, which sit back in kind of an &uot;L&uot; and collects mountains of debris blowing in from the northeast.

I had my leaf blower on reverse sucking up the leaves when I saw a piece of paper in the bushes. It was slightly crumpled. I assumed it was from one of the landscape companies that seem to prowl around looking for yards that look like mine to drop off their leaflets.

I was somewhat shocked to see that it was a request for information about a convicted sex offender. The address on it was not far from my home. I immediately wadded it up and stuck it in my pocket.

My wife had been ill for a week or so and was in no condition to find out there might be a pervert nearby.

I thought about it all weekend. I couldn’t not tell her, but I was sure when I did, she would start packing, us with a 12-year-old daughter.

She recovered over the weekend and on Monday morning we took a walk. As we walked by the house with the address listed, I decided to blurt it out. She took it much better than I had feared.

When we got back home I showed her the paper. She studied it and saw that rather than an &uot;alert&uot; about a sex offender, it was a &uot;request&uot; lodged with some agency by someone in our neighborhood for information about a sex offender. It even had their credit card number on it.

We were both relieved at that, and not just because we had somebody’s credit card number, but that it likely was not a sex offender living nearby. Nonetheless, you forget sometimes about what a bad world it can be and the evildoers, to borrow a phrase from our president, who populate it.

And it reminded me that those of us with children have to be constantly on guard. With the Internet and all, it’s getting harder and harder to avoid the evildoers.