May 12, 2003

Urban Legends of Childhood

I suppose we've all had older brothers and sisters or neighborhood friends tell us smaller kids how, if you go here at a certain, or maybe ever, the wolves will drag you off in the bushes and eat your arms off! Maybe not that story exactly, but some variation on the theme. And then there are other legends that are promulgated by parents as a sanctioned form of parental lie where the ends are thought to justify the means: "If you don't eat your canned aspargus, you'll grow up to be a sissy and the older boys will kick sand in your face"... or some variation thereupon.

You know I never quite totally believed most of this stuff, really... I could pretty well tell legend from fact, mostly, by the time I was, say, 10 years old. But then, something like this comes along, and a kid has to reexamine his whole world all over again:

It was the summer after fourth grade and I was cruising along one June afternoon under the covered walkway of the new and oh-so-modern 'shopping center' (20 stores side by side and you could walk from Crouche's Drug Store to Wonderland Toy Store stopping to visit in all the stores inbetween! And I had a dollar of 'allowance' to spend!) A car pulled in, and a friend's mom got out and came around to let out my buddy Rick who I hadn't seen since the school year ended a month earlier. I gasped: he was in a plaster cast that covered his trunk from neck to pelvis. He had to turn his whole body to look at me when I called out to him.

"Rick! What happened to you?" He smiled sheepishly, and his mother answered.

"He tried to hold a sneeze and his spine went all out of joint and he has to wear this cast for the whole summer".

That, dear friend, was a life-changing event that I have never forgotten. And so I solemnly offer this warning:

Even at the risk of covering your monitor there in front of you with a mucoid mist of phelgmatic flecks and filaments, what ever you do, let your AHHHH! AHHHH! end in CHOOOOOO!

Posted by fred1st at May 12, 2003 07:21 AM | TrackBack

When I was very young, my mother told me that if I played with my belly button, that I might poke a whole in myself. She then explained that I would fly around the room backwards like when someone lets go of a baloon. I was probably 35 before I got up enough courage to clean the lint out of my belly button.

Posted by: JT_Hunter at May 12, 2003 08:48 AM

No one had to tell me. I knew. If Dad had the grating off of the floor furnace and I fell in, I knew that I would end up in China!

Posted by: Cop Car at May 13, 2003 10:09 PM

Dad, you poor thing. Meanwhile, I seem to vividly recall when you'd "babysit" me, out from the porch on Greasy Creek, beer in hand, calmly saying, "just flap a little harder, son. You're almost off the ground!" until I'd collapse in an exhausted three-year-old icharean heap in the grass. Who knows what my own child will live through. These things are in the blood.

Posted by: nate at May 14, 2003 11:14 PM

Did you know that if you kiss your elbow you'll turn into a girl?

Presumably it works the other way for girls. I don't know, I've never been able to do it...not sure I'd even go through with it if I could!

Posted by: Curt at May 15, 2003 09:41 AM

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