Roy Exum: She Wants To Rent What?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

If I tried to rent a girlfriend this Christmas, offering to pay her by the hour, I’d probably get arrested but what about Jackie Turner, a 26-year-old in California who placed an ad on Craigslist seeking a family to rent? In what will be one of the best holiday stories of the year, the ad’s headline read, “I want to rent a Mom and Dad.”

Her ad read, “I am looking to rent a Mom and Dad who can give me attention and make me feel like the light of their life just for a couple of days because I really need it.”

She is willing to pay $8 an hour, she told TV reporter Nick Monacelli, “just to sit, just to listen, just to cry with me, no strings beyond that. I’ve never felt the touch of my Mom hugging me and holding me. I don’t know what it’s like to look in my Dad’s eyes and feel love instead of hatred.”

Jackie, it turns out, is a presidential scholar at William Jessup University and has a 4.0 grade-point average. “On the outside it looks like I am the American dream kid. But I have a back story that most people wouldn’t believe it they looked at me today.”

As a small child she was physically, sexually and emotional abused before she was abandoned in the streets. “I was in gang life, fighting, doing drugs … just making a mess of my life,” she told News10, and after getting arrested for grand theft in Sacramento, actually spent a year in jail before she decided to turn her life around.

She went to a Christian camp for troubled adults and today is working towards her degree, “but there is still something deep inside of me, this void. My biological parents aren’t here, and it’s kept this hole inside of me.”

Gloriously, dozens of people responded, offering to take her in for free with no knowledge of her “back story” or her comeback, but even better was a flood of reaction from people who have that same hole inside of them, who are also hurting. She has found she is hardly alone.

“These tears that are here and the things I feel right now, this is just a piece of a face that has experienced a lot. People are out there with the same heart inside of them, some with a greater drive than mine. When you speak up, people start learning they’re not by themselves,” she said on camera.

“Often we lock things inside ourselves, like a lockbox of our secrets, but then you let one out and realize, ‘I’m not by myself after all, am I?’”

So now she’s altered her plans somewhat; instead of renting a family, a group of those who have anguished like Jackie has are going to get together in the coming days and celebrate Christmas together. What a Happy New Year will soon follow.

* * *

Researchers claim a new study by Northwestern University’s medical school proves marijuana does indeed cause brain abnormalities and affect a user’s memory. “With the movement to decriminalize marijuana, we need more research to understand its effect on the brain,” said Mathew Smith, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, but – wait! – it gets worse.

Dr. John Csernansky, who authored the study, told reporters, "The abuse of popular street drugs, such as marijuana, may have dangerous implications for young people who are developing or have developed mental disorders. This paper is among the first to reveal that the use of marijuana may contribute to the changes in brain structure that have been associated with having schizophrenia."

* * *

If you think Eli Manning had a bad day Sunday when he threw five interceptions, how about Jet Chevrolet, a car dealership in Tacoma, Washington. They sponsored a promotion that if the Seahawks shutout Manning’s Jets, they would give 12 people $35,000 each.

After Seattle’s 23-0 win, dealer Jim Johnson said, “This is crazy! We never thought we’d actually be giving away the money!”

The way the promotion worked is that anybody who bought a car would get 100 chances and anybody who didn’t could go by the dealership to get one chance. On Monday $425,000 was awarded, as promised. Luckily the dealership had bought an insurance policy for about $7,000.

* * *

For the fifth straight year some Santa in Kokomo, Ind., has dropped a gold Krugerrand coin in a Salvation Army red kettle. The South African coin promptly brought $1,220 on the market, which was a little less than last year when gold was priced higher.

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