Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It seemed perfectly rational at the time.

I was catching up on List of the Day's blog, and I came across this photo.

Now, clearly this pic was photoshopped for the purpose of eliciting a giggle, but for me, it conjured some heavy, stashed-in-the-attic sense memories of an irrational phobia I used to have, and it was positively chilling for me. Positively chilling.

I used to be afraid of swimming in my pool as a kid and being chased by a great white shark while I did laps. No, seriously. My hyperactive kid-imagination actually convinced me that it was possible for a helicopter to fly over the pool overnight and 'drop in' a great white shark (why? hell if I know), which would then sit at the murky pool bottom, hiding and waiting for me to dive in for my morning swim.
This thought paralyzed me for months, and eventually I would only go swimming if someone else was there too, say, like my little sister. Because that meant the shark would get her first, and that was more than okay by me.

Of course, my fear of great whites came from the movie "Jaws". I mean, I wasn't allowed to see it, but I clearly remember being freaked out by the movie poster and the cover of the book, which my mom had, with the naked girl cruising along the surface of the water at dusk while a monstrous, mountain-sized shark lurked just below, ready to chomp her in half with its giant, knifelike teeth.

Thinking back, I realize that most of the illogical, weird kid-fears I had were spawned from movies I wasn't allowed to see but somehow either managed to watch or find out enough about to scare the crap out of myself. Hell, some of those movies I probably shouldn't even be watching now.

For example, When I was 9 I was staying over at a friend's house, whose mother was way Jesusy and thought somehow it might be appropriate to allow two little girls to watch "The Excorcist" (edited for TV, but still). This was, I can only assume, the mom's way of warning us of what might happen should we fail to meet the standards expected of good Christ-loving children(luckily, she never knew about how we used to practice kissing in her daughter's room, or about the raunchy scenarios we acted out with our barbies). After the movie, I asked the woman if kids could actually get possessed by the devil, and she said, very solemnly, "Well. I really, really hope not."

Also, though I never watched "Silent Night, Deadly Night", I think I must've seen it at the video store, and the image of the guy in the Santa suit holding the knife, and the blood all over the snow, had me convinced me that my whole family was going to be brutally slaughtered while coming home on Christmas Eve. I remember praying in the car all the way home from church that we would be spared this horrible butchery, because the idea of never getting to open my toys the next morning was practically too much for me to stomach.

I was also constantly convinced that my loyal black lab had rabies. Every time the temperature topped 80 degrees and she started panting in the back yard, I'd yelp for my mom to come and check to see if she was foaming at the mouth.
Thanks, Stephen King.

So, needless to say, I won't be showing Lily any frightening movies any time soon. If she has half the imagination I had at her age (and I suspect it's even wilder), I'll be opening a door to years and years of mental torture, and I'm probably doing that well enough on my own without any help from scary movies.

So tell me, guys, what irrational fear did YOU have as a kid???


onebadmamajama said...

Dolls. To this day they still skeeve me out. I have a very vivid memory of when I was two, getting a "life size" doll that would "walk" when you tilted her a little. She also had eyes that would open and close if she was moved around and it looked like she was winking at me...when my parents weren't looking! Totally freaked me the fuck out! I had that doll til I left home at 17. I kept it under my bed, surrounded by all kinds of boxes and she couldn't get out! I have no idea what happened to her after I left.

onebadmamajama said...

I was also afraid that Bigfoot was gonna reach through my bedroom window and grab me. Of course, my bed was RIGHT next to my window. This was after I was told by a girl at school that Bigfoot had been spotted in our county! I slept curled up in a little ball at the head of my bed for months after that LOL

Krissyface said...

that's funny, you surrounded her under the bed so she couldn't get out! Love it!
Oh, and I forgot about the bedroom fears. I was also afraid of cobras. That one could somehow sneak its way into the area inside a persian rug that was shipped into Sears or something (do they SELL persian rugs @ sears?!) mother would have to lay with me and tell me there were no cobras on Long Island.

onebadmamajama said...

My dad was a big scary movie freak. He also watched the Twilight Zone and Night by default, we did too. We were some jumpy ass kids! We lived in the country, surrounded by...cornfields!! I wouldn't ride our ATV by a cornfield after Children of the Corn came out LOL

Wanna talk about messed up? My dad thought it would be fun to take us out frog giggin' (basically you walk around with a spear, trying to jab a frog!) in muddy water, in the dark, in water waist high. I thought I was gonna have a stroke, I was so scared. Thankfully, it was also cold, so my dad didn't want to do that for long:)

I can't believe I turned out so friggin' normal! Thanks for the cheap therapy LOL

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I saw Amittyville Horror and I lived in constant fear of doors slamming shut behind me trapping me in a room. I mean c'mon all a demon has to do is whisper that "get out" and I'm gonna be down the street, so no need for the slamming of doors :)

xl said...

Broken cookies or crackers in a just-opened package. I refused to eat them fearing that someone had already taken a bite. Precocious OCD?

Prunella Jones said...

All of these things you listed still scare me. I'm a very nervous person.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

How much time do you have?

1. Birds flying into me
2. Dogs biting me
3. The whole rest of the animal kingdom
4. Pictures of Jesus
5. People singing songs about Jesus
6. Church in general

I'm still afraid of all of the above, except now I've added fake fingernails and Clay Aiken. Only because they weren't around in the '60s.

Michelle said...

I was terrified to go in the basement until I was about 14. I knew rationally nothing was down there but I still would RUN back up the stairs...every time.

I'm Scooter, but I might be a troll. said...

Hmm... Bright lights, loud noises, strong smells...

What? I'm autistic.

jespur said...

Fires. I used to sleep dressed and lay awake planning what I would save if there was a fire. I mean besides me, my mom, and my cat.

Dogs. Frequently dreamed I was a kitten getting chased by dogs.

Spiders. Mostly spiders crawling in my mouth while I was asleep Eww.

jeremy said...

i'm afraid of my girlfriend's kid moving in with me and breaking my stuff.

not sure how irrational that is, though...

Krissyface said...

Jess, the spiders in the mouth made my skin crawl a little bit.

But I used to be afraid of one laying its egg sac on my face, under the skin. I heard this urban legend (maybe?) about a girl waking up with a huge pimple, which grew and grew until she popped it and a gazillion baby spiders came out of it.


The Third String said...

Hi ya, old friend.

kay zee said...

where are YOU?

Kimber said...

I can't think of one damned irrational fear from when I was a kid or now. I'm thinking that I may be the odd one out. I can't sit still when a stinging insect is swarming around me, but I was badly stung a dozen times by a wasp when I was a kid, so being afraid of them seems perfectly rational to me. OH, if I thought of monsters under m bed I would think that it was stupid, but I would still make sure to not let my feet dangle over the edge and made sure they were covered w a blanket. There.