First of all, I’m warning you that I was a weird kid (surprising, right?).
I think it’s funny that some of my childhood experiences stuck with me only because they involve things that shocked and/or scared the tar outta me. I categorize such experiences as “things that scarred me for life,” because they affected me enough that I can still remember them vividly.
I’m sure everyone has a few memories like the following ten random things that scarred me for life, which by the way are in no particular order.
1. Return to oz
Are you a parent? Do you want to traumatize your young child? If so, show her this scene from Disney’s Return to Oz. I guarantee she will never be the same…
Ok so in retrospect, the Wheelers have no arms and legs so they really couldn’t do too much damage. But what the hell, Disney? Are you serious? At age seven I expected singing, chirping birds and unrealistic expectations of beauty, happiness and love from you. What I didn’t expect were mutants with terrifying tribal masks who maliciously chase cute little girls around. Let’s just say I saw this scene only once and that was enough for me to think the Wheelers were under my bed for the next three years of my life.
2. The wax museum
Speaking of terrifying things. Let’s take the family to the wax museum, and not just any wax museum, but the one in Amsterdam – complete with Hitler, Freddy Kruger and Satan. It’s sure to be a rousing good time for your four-year-old. I know I enjoyed crying my eyes out the entire time we were there.
(But honestly, who would expect a four-year-old to know who Hitler is?)
3. Being peed on by a lion
Speaking of fun, let’s go to the zoo and check out the lions and the tigers and the bears (oh my). Ever notice those signs next to the lion cage that say Caution: Lion Sprays? Well, they’re there for a reason. I found this out at a very young age, and still have flashbacks to that fateful moment. Have you ever been peed on by a lion? Well I have. It was like a freaking fire hose (although the video below does not illustrate this point at all), and it’s not something I will soon forget.
4. My brother shooting rubber bands at me
To this day I freak out if you point a rubber band in my direction. Ugh, just thinking about it gives me the willies.
5. The German Santa
Holy hell! Do you know why German children behave themselves? Because if they don’t then St. Nicholas (Nick-oh-louse) and his pet demon Krampus will visit their house, throw them in a burlap sack, kidnap them to the deepest woods and beat them to a pulp with sharpened sticks. Yet if they do behave themselves they receive a shoe full of goodies. This is how Germans celebrate Christmas.
In case you didn’t know I lived in Germany from age three to age six, and in that time my family adopted a few cultural traditions. Just like many German kinders, every December 6th my brother, sister and I put our little shoes out in hopes that St. Nicholas would visit. One year, however, my pre-school teacher decided she should teach us the true story of St. Nicholas (see above).
…and December 6th was never the same after that. Oh and that night I cried so hard about being kidnapped and beaten that I eventually puked all over the floor. Merry Christmas!
6. Getting “lost” in Disney World
That really sucked the magic out of the day, but I’m pretty sure I got an awesome Mickey stuffed animal out of it. ‘Nuff said.
7. Learning the real lyrics to “Freak Me”
We all have coming of age moments. For me, one of the most memorable was at age nine when I learned the real lyrics to the song Freak Me (if you don’t know the song, I added the video below for your reference). This was after I was running around the house singing, “Let me lift you up and down, till you say stop!”
Everyone laughed at me while my sister explained the real lyrics. It was the first time I blushed.
8. My Period, according to the Broadway cast of Annie
Speaking of growing up, I got to learn all about my period from the Broadway cast of Annie in the rousing movie Growing Up On Broadway. This was just what I wanted to watch after recess in fourth grade. Also I distinctly remember a scene where the girls got measured to ensure they didn’t outgrow their characters. All those who did were booted off the show. So while I was reeling about the prospect of the bleeding, the mood swings, and the acne, I also got the message loud and clear: getting taller means you’ll be kicked off Broadway so stay short as long as you can.
And that’s when I stopped growing.
9. My first (and only) Erector set
Wow! Erectors look so flippin’ sweet! I can build a fire truck that actually runs and lights up.
Oh, but what they forgot to tell you is you need a freaking engineering degree to put them together. I was a complete failure at the only toy I wanted for my birthday that year.
10. Saddam Hussein (pre-Grizzly Adams beard)
During the Gulf War (also during our Germany years) the military base on which I lived was on total lockdown. Among the many security modifications was a new lock with a doorbell/intercom thingy affixed to the front door of our condominium. I couldn’t reach the button, but normally my taller siblings pushed it for me. Except for the day when I ran ahead after school and found myself all alone and locked out. Of course I began bawling my eyes out as was my M.O. for many years. Finally a neighbor heard me, opened the door and asked why I was crying so hard. Between sobs I said, “Because I’m locked out and Saddam Hussein is gonna kidnap me.”
He was a jerk, that Saddam Hussein.
Woohoo. That’s the end of the list. No wonder I turned out like this, right? Now please share some of your awesome childhood-scarring-type-memories so we can all laugh at them.