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???
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