So I was talking with a friend about childhood yesterday and we started swapping stories. I realized very early on that all her stories were cute and all mine involved my relatives telling me horrifying things that haunted me for years. Now I was watching George Lopez a hundred years ago, and I’m starting to think that Mexicans are just dicks like that. They love seeing their children huddled together in fear!
When I was real young, my Uncle Carlos (Mom’s brother. This may not be important but I have about a hundred Carloses in my family so it will help to label them.) told me that a light switch in his room would make the world dissappear if we messed with it. This light switch was on the wall my brother, sister, and I used to scale my Uncle’s gigantic bed to watch nerdy movies, so I lived in constant fear of bumping it. While climbing the many drawers that lifted his bed up to God-like heights, I would keep a watchful eye on that light switch. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the light switch wasn’t connected to anything at all and did absolutely nothing, which was also vaguely disconcerting. If I wasn’t destroying the universe, then what was I destroying?! On a vaguely related note, this is definite proof of the Terry Pratchett theory that if there was a switch on a remote island in the middle of the ocean with a big sign that said DO NOT FLIP THIS SWITCH, some ass hole would come along and flip it just to see what it did.
On one of our many trips to Mexico to visit family, we stayed the night at my Uncle Carlos’s house (a different one; great-aunt’s daughter’s husband. Seriously, there are a lot of them in my family. So many that my bee eff has threatened a three Carlos limit on our “wedding.”). This house had an absolutely horrifying shack out back with peeling paint and pipes sticking out of shattered glass windows. It was at the top of the stairs leading out of their apartment-backyard sized back patio, which was weird enough as it was. You’re standing in a little bomb shelter of concrete with a tarp over it and you walk up some old, concrete stairs and end up in a field crackling yellow grass with an old shack about a hundred feet away. It was like coming out of the wardrobe in evil Narnia. My uncle always scolded us for going up there and I always imagined angry spirits duking it out by night in an eternal battle that would last long after I was dead. The real reason my Uncle always scolded us was because the place was full of snakes and prehistoric tarantulas.
I was already terrified of sleeping in the ghost house just because of my own wildly vivid imagination, so when my uncle told us that if we weren’t asleep when the ghosts came out at night and tapped on the window, they’d break in and carry us off to Hell, I pretty much never slept again. Oh I pretended to. Really hard. But they put us in a room with a tree directly outside the window so the night was filled with taps and the labored breathing of three kids who were scared out of their minds but pretending to sleep.
On another Mexico trip to my grandparent’s ranch, which has taxidermy iguanas in between the arches on the veranda (lol) and is surrounded by snakes, scorpions, and spiders, I was convinced that I wanted to sleep in a hammock overnight. It would make my trip! I had been so comfortable in it all day and I expressed my wish to my grandpa, who laughed in his Saddam Hussein way and told me that I would be a chubby little treat for the wolves if I slept outside in a hammock (He’s pretty much like that with everyone.). I don’t know if he described in great detail how wolves would tear me apart, but I sure imagined it in great detail. I watched the window that overlooked the spider-filled wood pile and was positive that wolves were everywhere, just out of my field of vision, waiting. I imagined over and over the wolves bursting through my window.
I hope this post wasn’t too much of a downer. I think it’s pretty funny nowaday. It wasn’t exactly pleasant but I’m sure all these horror stories helped to make me into the twisted, delightful person I am today. So I know how to raise my future kids to be exactly as awesome as I am: Constant fear! Put those imaginations to work, little me’s! By thinking of new ways to not wet yourself in terror.