Lies that were told to me when I was a child.

January 23, 2010

I believed, at one time, that my feckless neurotic behavior was the  product of some cracked chromosome or a persona I picked up from a straight-to-video movie, but now that I think about it, those problems would most likely cause mild retardation, instead of mild adult awkwardness.  So I made an effort to connect with my past: I flipped through some old photos, chewed my nails, and put socks in my bra, all because I needed an answer- and I think I found it.

I cannot blame biology or the media, oh no, I can only blame myself.  I was a victim of my own gullibility. I would believe without question and then I would succumb to either manic excitement or blind panic mostly to keep from being bored or feeling unimportant.  Years of overreacting to every lie that was told to me has cankered some of my social skills and I don’t think any of the damage can be reversed.

I was an innocent, obnoxious, lazy kid who was just looking for something to believe in, but I wanted to believe a little too hard…

“If we dig deep enough we can reach Hell and punch the devil in the face. It will work but nobody has tried it yet. Start digging and  tell me when you feel the dirt getting warmer; that will mean we’re getting close.”

My Best Friend was absolutely sure of this, and I believed her. When we realized that we weren’t making progress with just me digging, we outsourced the labor to other kids and promised them berries.  We ate those berries ourselves, destroyed the preschool playground, and, although there were no repercussions for our theological curiosity, we were punished for creating a little kid chain gang and hundreds of holes.

“Really, that white stuff is ice cream.”

No it wasn’t.  I took two bites to be sure, it was definitely butter.  Every time after that, it was still butter.

“If you put your clothes on inside out then, you’ll turn inside out too and your guts will get all over your clothes and then fall on the floor.”

I did this by accident once with an itchy sweater and I confused the feeling of wool against my skin for the feeling of my skin splitting open.  I threw the garment off and rolled on the floor topless and crying with my arms wrapped around my midsection so that my organs would stay in.

“Your belly button is a knot.  If you put scissors inside your belly button you might be able to cut it open and look inside.”

This was just stupid.

“There is a man who used to drive a bread truck that lives in the woods.  He went crazy after he ran his truck into a tree and he eats Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts.  It’s true. The police found human bones with bite marks on them and then matched the dental records to the bread man.  So if you’re in the woods late at night and you hear howling, it’s not wolves, it’s the Bread Man hunting you.”

No joke.  I was scared SHITLESS of bread trucks.  If I was in the car with my Mom and we passed a bread truck or a semi truck with a bread company’s logo on it,  all my Mom would have to say would be: “Bread Man” and would burst into tears, hyperventilate, and try to hide under the seat.

“Here’s a bag and a stick.  Now go catch a Snipe.  It’s small and covered with hair.  If you catch one we’ll go to Dairy Queen.”

I’ve heard that a lot children fall for the “Snipe Hunt” lie,  but I don’t know how many of those kids searched for six hours in the dark and then tried several more hours the next day because they were promised a trip to the DQ.

“If you touch a starfish it will get stuck to your hand and then it will become your hand and then you will have a starfish for a hand.”

My cousin Jonathan told me that this would happen if I touched the dried starfish that was in a box of shells that my next door neighbor left to me after she died.

My neighbor was 92 and I would go to her house to hang out with her and eat cookies.  She knew I loved the starfish that she had, so to be given such a prize should have filled my tiny heart with glee, but that joy was ruined when I learned that starfish could come back from the dead and attach itself to me.  I put it under my bed inside of a box; I didn’t want to risk losing my hand if I had to rummage around under there.

I developed a terrible zombie phobia that I just got over two years ago after hundreds of hours of therapy and a prescription for Seroquel.

“Spiders and fireflies are always watching you; and they know all of your secrets. If you do anything bad they will report you to Aunt Fifi, a magical witch who lives in Iowa, and she will tell your parents and then you will be in soooo much trouble.”

I find this lie to have been particularly cruel because of the accessibility of the creature involved (excluding the witch.) Santa and the Easter Bunny can only be reached by letter and you don’t have to deal directly with any of their minions. However, Aunt Fifi does not have a mailing address and you must plead your case directly to the insects.

I was pulling pieces of wood off of my house when I caught a spider watching me:  I immediately dropped to my knees and begged the spider not to rat on me.  I shed a few Jim Baker tears too and made a couple of promises that any bad kid would make as penance.  Unfortunately, spiders are notoriously mute creatures, so he wouldn’t say whether or not I had persuaded him, but I was pretty sure he bought it.

“The neighbor is a vampire. We must slay him.”

No, the neighbor has a night job.

We didn’t know this, so we drew crosses all over our bodies with eyeliner and sat outside his house with holy water and sharpened sticks until the sun went down.  When the lights in the house went on, we crept to the front door, raised our stakes, and rang the door bell. The neighbor was obviously shocked to see three armed eight year olds and we interpreted his surprised reaction as preparation for an attack. We dropped our stakes screaming and ran back to my friend’s house.

“There was a log cabin in my back yard during the civil war and a soldier lived in it.  He was killed by a woman with really long fingernails and now she haunts my yard looking for people to kill and leaves fingernails everywhere.”

My friend had a package of fake nails that she threw on her lawn so that we would find them when we played outside. She was in second grade, and I commend her cleverness, but she scared herself with her own story.

She ended up convincing herself that her story somehow came to her instead of it being something that she made up.  I imagine that our contagious fear might have had some effect on her too and the environment added to our collective terror; besides what she purchased, there were a lot of things in her yard to find that resembled dead people’s fingernails.  I still find her backyard creepy.

“You can fly.”

I could not.

“Petey got a job at Mcdonalds.”

I don’t remember my grandfather on my Dad’s side ever saying to me very much. Or,  I might have just been too young to care about partaking in conversations that were on any subject other than me. This is quite possible, since most of what I remember my Grandpa and I talking about revolved around me getting candy or me petting one of his farm animals. Nevertheless, when he would  speak to me, he could hold a solid poker face and I mistook his physical placidity as a convincing sign of honesty.

Petey was one of my Grandpa’s cows.  She knew her name and she  would come to the fence and eat grass from my hand. Once my Grandpa let me ride Petey and this experience in particular made me feel like Petey and I had some sort of connection. Then one day Petey went missing. With a hand full of grass, I went to my Grandpa to enquire about Petey’s absence.

We were standing in the field behind my house and the sun was setting;  my Grandpa put his hand on my shoulder and told me about Petey entering into the workforce.  I was very happy for Petey and I liked the thought of her putting the toys in my happy meals. I named my first puppy after Petey the burger-flipping cow.

“You can eat that wasp.”

This was my first experience being stung multiple times by a wasp.

“The white stuff on the leaves is cream.”

This was my first experience eating bird poop.

Touch the fence, it tickles.”

This was my first experience with an electric fence.

“Under the tombstone by the flag pole is the body of the evil principle. She  had an accident at the school and died. Now, there is a curse on the school and we can break it if we hammer nails into the dirt around her body… but we have to hurry! If her spirit finds out, she’ll come after us with black magic!”

There wasn’t a tombstone next to the flag pole at my elementary school, it was a memorial for a former principal who died of cancer, and we celebrated her memory by hammering nails into the grass to destroy her black magic cancer powers.

“It’s lava!”

What wasn’t?

I got a little carried away with the don’t-touch-the-ground-it’s-something games and developed a fear of the ground transforming.

I told people that the reason that I looked down at the ground while I was walking was because I had low self-esteem; this way I invoked pity from others instead of fear.

“I can’t believe that your Dad voted for Bill Clinton! He kills babies with vacuum cleaners!”

I get it now, but at the time, I had no fucking-clue what that crack baby for Christ was talking about.

I nodded my head as if I was well aware of how terrible it was for a the leader of the free world to participate in the socially controversial practice of bashing a children to death with an upright Hoover.  The kid told me that he learned this in Sunday School; that was easy  for me to believe then, and still is today.

I didn’t want to expose my confusion, so I tried to clarify the subject by casually attempting to extract extra information. I had hoped that I would come off as person who was  interested in gaining knowledge and not somebody who was trying to conceal their ignorance.

No dice.  There is no way to inquire about the biblical use of vacuum cleaners or why it is necessary to discuss the theology that is connected to them during Sunday School without sounding offensive. He responded to my questions by telling me that I hate babies.

I told him earnestly, “That’s not true,  I don’t hate babies. I just don’t like being around them. I think babies are boring but, I don’t hate them. I’ve never tried to drop a baby that I was holding and if I thought that I would, I probably wouldn’t pick it up.”

In the beginning, my cat created the world…

January 1, 2010

I’m pretty sure this is what happened:

First my cat made the ceiling & the floor 2 The room was without form and void, and darkness was upon my cat’s Ikea rug that, during the fury of decoration, had been victim to the tipping of her rather large cup of coffee; and the Spirit of my cat was moving over the face of the stain. 3 And my cat said, “Let there be paper towels”; and there were a few old kleenexes in her purse that she found, and those worked okay.4 And my cat saw that the stain was gone; and my cat had separated the light from the darkness. 5 My cat called that light colored rug a “freakin’ sweet deal,” and the darkness she called, “a totally lame foe” for absorbent things. And there was a big party in the evening and a terrible hangover in the morning. My cat decided that this separation of  partying in the dark and sobering up the light would be called morning and evening, one day. 6 And my cat said, “Let there be furniture in the midst of this room, and let it separate the living room from the kitchen because there was no wall or curtain available to divide those two areas” 7 And my cat arranged the furniture and separated the place where food is made from the place where food could get on the sofa. And it was so. 8 And my cat called The Furniture Heaven off of I-90 to complain about the scuff marks on the recliner that were made by the delivery men when they carried it through the front door. And there was another booze fest in the evening and there was another hangover in the morning, my cat regretted this second day. 9 And my cat said, “Let there be a shower and a bath tub under this roof and let them  be gathered together into one place, and let a bath mat be placed outside of the shower so that dry floor will appear.” And it was so. 10 My cat described the dry floor as “earthy brown” because she couldn’t remember what the actual color of the finish on the floor was called , and the waters that were gathered together in the bath tub she determined would cause an infant to drown if it’s parents weren’t properly warned of the danger or if they weren’t paying attention and they were, like, texting or something. And my cat saw that it was good that she had been spayed and, had unlimited texting, so purposefully or accidentally drowning her offspring wouldn’t really be an issue for her.. 11 And my cat said, “Let me go to Fresh Direct’s website and put forth an order for vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon this shopping list.” And it was so.12 The Fresh Direct truck brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And my cat saw that it was good, except for a few bruised bananas. 13 And there was another evening and there was another morning, and there was another empty bottle of Aleve on the third day. 14 And my cat said, “Let there be track lighting on the ceiling to enhance the light of the day and keep the room from being too dark in the night; and let there be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, like: Christmas trees, allergies, and a calendar that the public schools hand out for free so that children know on which day that they are eating what.” 15 and let those lights in the ceiling firmament the dreary darkness of the room give light upon this cramped, but affordable, space.” And it was so. 16 And my cat fixed the two great lights, the normal light to rule the day, and the black light to rule the night; she hung fuzzy posters on the wall that glowed under the black light also. 17 And my cat wired them to two different switches so that she could easily flip on the black light when she spent the evening floating in a heaven of heavy drug use and then be able flip the other switch to give light upon the room if she began to panic or had purchased some bad shit by accident. 18 This was needed for her to  rule over the day and over the night, and to separate her self from being high and too high. And my cat saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, and a fourth day and a copy of “Wine Spectator” came in the mail. 20 And my cat said, “Let these awesome deals on fermented beverages bring forth swarms of living creatures to my home, and let my fabulous party firmament my name from those who are not as popular and as admired as I.” 21 So my cat created the great buckets of ice for the champagne and the cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a bunch of those mini quiches that are typically enjoyed by every creature of cool with which the waters of Facebook swarm. It is according to their profiles, and every quiz they’ve taken and bands that they love, that these are all magnificent individuals who are blessed with the dry intellect and witty buoyancy that keeps them afloat in their seas of creative juices and allows them to navigate the thin cusp of ever-changing trends   … this according to their own kind. And my cat saw that this was good. 22 And my cat said blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, condoms are for prom and prudes, and fill each other with the waters of your genital organs, and let yourselves multiply on this earth so that you may abandon the children that you waited too long to abort and they will hate you and go onto talk shows and then I will aways have something to watch on Tv in the afternoons.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, and a fifth day and a huge mess that my cat was left to clean up. 24 And my cat said, “Let the earth bring forth these living creatures that, according to their kind, are awesome: the fashion cattle and the creeping things and the beasts of the earth that according my friend feed  all had a great time last night but didn’t take my camera.” And it was so. 25 And my cat made the beasts of the earth and the fashion cattle according, and all those other creeps check their bags one more time to make sure they didn’t take her camera. And my cat saw that it was in-between the sofa cushions the whole time. 26 Then my cat said, “Let us upload these images, the ones after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the sea of Facebook, and over the skies of Myspace, and over the retarded-farm yard that is Twitter, and over all the search engines, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the internet.” 27 So my cat created the internet in her own image, in the image of my cat  she created him; male and female she created them. 28 And my cat blessed them, and my cat said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the sea of message boards and over the torrent-filled air and over every fad that moves the internet.”29 And my cat said, “Behold, I have given you every photo on my camera yielding the seeds of meme-dom  which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seeded caption; you shall have them for your embarrassment and my pleasure. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, every woman that showed her breasts to me at my party last night, I have promised a certain green plant for you when you’re done being upset with me for posting your picture on the internet.” And it was so. 31 And my cat saw everything that she had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, and a sixth day that included a few curt emails. Thus the party and the social networking were finished, and my cat, the host of them both, was beginning to feel drained from all the makings of trouble and stuff . 2 And on the seventh day my cat finished her work tagging photos which she had photoshopped to make herself look better, and she rested on the seventh day from all her work which she had done. 3 So my cat blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it my cat rested from all her work which she had done in creating her home and social life and consumed a large amount of Thai food.


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