I. Born in Arizona/Moved to Babylonia
I have a long-standing fascination with Egypt and mummies; my mother, understanding this, brought home a book about King Tut when I was in the ninth grade. One night, I decided to read it over a dinner of a nice, hearty beef stew. All was well, until I got to the part where the author described removing the brain by inserting a poker into your nasal cavity and then just kind of…scrambling things about.
Suddenly, those big chunks of beef? Yeah, all I could think of were BRAIIIIIIINS.
I still get a little queasy just LOOKING at beef stew, honestly…
II. The Tell-Tale Heart
When I was in the third grade, my mother told me not to read this mystery novel she’d brought home with her, which of course made it an object of UNUTTERABLE FASCINATION FOR ME. One time, when I was alone in the house/comfortable that my sister wouldn’t venture outside of her teenage lair, I—GASP!—picked up the book. I read the first few pages, in which the heroine was described as being so thin that you could see her heart pulsing through her chest. The image was so disturbing and compelling that I immediately went to touch my chest to make sure the same thing wasn’t true of me. Over the next few years, this became a nervous habit with me: I’d get anxious and scrape my knuckles across my sternum to make sure my heart wasn’t flying out of my body.
And then I grew boobs, and now I really have to dig to make sure the ol’ girl is still there and not pulsating unduly.
III. The Danger of Special FX
When I was six or seven, my parents sent me upstairs because they were tasteless and wanted to watch Total Recall. I wandered down into the living room to ask for a glass of water or something of that nature, and was confronted with THREE BOOBS. THREE BOOBS ON ONE TELEVISION SCREEN.
For months afterwards, I wondered how I would manage to one day grow not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE BOOBS.
Back in the late 1980s, my parents got their first VCR and were VERY EXCITED BY IT. So excited that they’d tape just about anything. As a little kid, this often worked out to my advantage: I had one tape full of The Wizard of Oz, the live action Peter Pan, Dumbo, and Mickey’s Christmas Carol. But other times, mommy and daddy’s taping system didn’t work so well, and you wound up with my six-year-old brother innocently putting in an unmarked VHS tape thinking it was cartoons. And then me walking in on the middle of Aliens at the ripe old age of four.
To this day, I hate A.) Roaches; and B.) Drool, and I think we can blame that on my parents’ NEGLIGENCE.
V. Muppet Murder, and Other Atrocities of Modern Life
I loved Labryinth as a small child, so my mother decided to let me watchThe Dark Crystal. Mom checked out that movie for me on numerous occasions under the mistaken impression that I liked it; I didn’t. I was horrified by it. Dude. DUDE. THEY TORTURE A MUPPET TO DEATH IN IT. WHAT RIGHT-THINKING SIX-YEAR-OLD WOULDN’T BE HORRIFIED BY THAT SHIT?
But I must have watched it like, 45 times because it made my mom SO HAPPY to think that I liked it. Sigh. I should have learned how to be hateful and selfish at a MUCH earlier age, y’all.
VI. Sharing Is Caring
Your turn! What books/movies destroyed your fragile psyche?