One of the things kids get to play with these days is sidewalk chalk. It’s a big improvement over the skinny little sticks of white chalk I once used to scrawl hopscotch grids on the driveway.
I don’t know how easily sidewalk chalk washes off, or how many of today’s artists (or taggers) might have gotten their start with it, but it seems like a harmless, colorful way for children to be creative and outdoors at the same time. Mothers must love it.
It disturbed me, then, when I was walking the dog recently and came upon a patch of childish chalk doodling on the sidewalk. A pretty turquoise dominated, reminding me of my granddaughter’s latest drawing. One spot in particular attracted my attention because it was in the street instead of on the sidewalk. I looked more closely and realized it was a rather well executed drawing of a gun, clearly an automatic pistol.
I felt a bit of a chill. What kind of child is young enough to be playing with sidewalk chalk but knowledgable enough to draw a very realistic gun? And lives just two blocks from me? Brrr.
Or maybe the gun was drawn by an adult who was playing with the child. Yes, that’s more likely. It was an adult — an adult showing a child how to draw a gun. Oh joy. I feel so much better now.