I want to talk about fear.
When I was a young child (a very long time ago), there were 3 things that scared me so badly that I still think about these things to this day. And guess what? I have adults to thank for these fears. Yes, it was my teachers in school who taught me how to be scared out of my wits! Being afraid of the dark? Shheezz, that’s what babies are afraid of. Nope my fears were much more tangible.
1. My House Might Burn to the Ground
I am not sure if this information was provided to me as early as kindergarten, but I do remember having to watch the movies every year in homeroom class in elementary school. The teacher would have us line up our chairs facing the chalkboard that was covered up with the big white screen. Oh happy day! A Mickey Mouse cartoon!
Nope. Walt Disney, yes, but Mickey Mouse, no.
I recall the cartoon showing some idiot falling asleep in bed with a burning cigarette and the whole family crawling out on their hands and knees, covered in wet blankets to avoid certain death from the heavy smoke. Oh, and the flames burning the house down to stubble.
What scared me more than my house burning down to the ground was me getting out. My bedroom was on the second floor and I knew if I felt my door knob and it was hot, I was screwed. And it was my Dad’s fault! Because he never built me one of those under the window boxes that had the handy, save your life, ladder ropes inside. My Dad didn’t smoke, so I’m thinking he felt pretty safe that our house wasn’t going to catch on fire.
Back in those days we didn’t have smoke detectors. Why? We were too busy putting a man on the moon I guess. Maybe if we had smoke detectors back then I would have felt more safe. Then again, maybe I would have been up all night waiting….waiting for the alarm to go off.
2. All Kidnappers Drive Black Sedans
More movies, but the class still wasn’t laughing and eating popcorn.
So… I was a kid in the 60’s and these movies must have been made in even more ancient times because the cars they used to reenact the terrible deed, I didn’t recognize, none of my friends parents drove these cars. The kidnappers were always driving big black scary sedans. It would be like showing kids today that kidnappers drive an old 1970’s black van. Maybe they do? And the kidnappers always had the candy. They didn’t use the puppy or kitty ploy back then. Just the candy. After the movie the teacher would ask us…
“OK class what are you going to if a big black sedan pulls up next to you and the bad man asks if you want some candy?”
“Run, run like hell!”
I had a great fear of big black cars for a very long time.
3. The Sun Is Going to Explode Someday
I can’t remember for sure which teacher taught me that someday my beautiful warm sun is going to explode. But that fact wasn’t enough, she or he went on to “teach” that we will all die because we can not survive without our huge ball of gas in the sky providing us with warmth and light. Maybe if I could remember the culprit, I would pay them a visit. I could share with them how the information that they bestowed upon me made me wonder day after day…if today was the day….a champagne super nova in the sky!
I wonder if it was presented differently than I remember. Alan says when he was taught about the end of the sun, it didn’t scare him. I guess his teacher told him it would be billions and billions of years away and they would all get to live. My teacher may have shared that bit of information also, but I didn’t hear it because I was focused on the huge explosion, and death.
Thankfully today I am not afraid of my house burning down….as much…I have smoke detectors and I live in a one story. The fear of kidnapping has passed since I am too old to be kidnapped and I have owned a few black cars, they aren’t evil. And the sun? Well, I continue to check everyday to make sure it is still burning brightly.