A couple of weeks ago, not long after nightfall, I heard such piercing and prolonged screaming that I very nearly called 911, convinced that a woman was being attacked. I leaned out the window and peered down the street where the only people visible were a small group of adults gathered round a baby carriage amiably chatting. Perhaps inside the carriage the baby was being eaten by a raccoon and no one cared. I couldn't see that far. But no one was being raped at knife point. That's the main thing.

I am fairly routinely drawn to the window to investigate screaming. Just now, in fact, there was a great deal of male bellowing, which I feared may be the precursor to blows. Apparently not. Many dudes yelling, yes. Dudes yelling at each other in a menacing fashion, no.

Clearly, this is rich ground for a new reality/game show. Contestants will gather in my living room and try to determine whether what they are hearing outside is a violent crime, the mercurial moods of a baby, or men under the influence of sports. Massacre or toddler? Gang fight or game day? I live across the street from a pediatric practice, a block from a sports bar, and also mere blocks from a neighborhood rife with crime, so I think it would be a real nail biter of a competition. Tune in.