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A Public Service Announcement

October 14th, 2008 by Minty

Every now and then I feel moved to offer advice in situations where children are involved. I personally don’t have any children, but my own memories as a child occasionally provide insight as to why a particular course of action may or may not be a good idea.

For example, I once told a co-worker that her boyfriend-of-one-month’s reluctance to introduce her to his daughter probably was not a sign that he was ashamed of her. Rather, he might want to make sure their relationship was serious before bringing her into his daughter’s life.

My experience? As a child of divorced parents, I remember meeting several of my father’s girlfriends and really, really liking them, only to be crushed when they broke up a few weeks later.
So, here I am to offer some advice about raising children, based on my personal experience as a child:
Don’t force your very small child to watch a movie that’s obviously scaring the shit of them. Otherwise, your child will grow up to blame you for their bad subculture choices.

And now for my experience, just so you know I’m not talking out of my ass.

To start, let me just say that I love my mother, and at the end of the day, she was a pretty good parent. However, her one major screw-up resulted in me wasting my high school years as a Goth.
When I was a wee lass, my brother visited a friend who lived about an hour’s drive away from our home. Because he lived so far away that they couldn’t hang out more often, the plan was that my mother would pick my brother up late that night. Which meant I had to go with her, because no sane parent would leave their child alone for hours, and my mother was a sane parent (or so I thought). As a result, I got to stay up past my bedtime, since my mother rationalized that it would be easier to let me sleep in the car than putting me to bed, then waking me back up.

Also that night was the television premier of Aliens. My brother, being a stereotypical pre-teen male, really wanted to see it, but, as I said before, he was at a friend’s. That’s no problem in our house, though, because our mother is a SF-Fantasy junkie. (Seriously. She went to see X-Men all by herself not because she was even remotely familiar with the comic books, but because she heard the words “mutants,” “super-powers” and “Patrick Stewart” used in the same sentence). So, my mother decides to tape Aliens for my brother, and then sits down to watch it herself.

About two hours later, I’m that special kind of loopy that only comes from being really, really tired. Light-headed, cranky, maybe a little spaced out. I especially remember feeling that the hallucinations package was an option my brain was considering for the rock-bottom price of consuming another hundred calories of sugar.

Meanwhile, I was also pretty bored. So, I went to check out what my mother was doing.
My mother was in our finished basement with all the lights turned out, sitting—I shit you not—six inches away from the television. It was the scene where the camera focused on the alien queen, her mouth opens, the little tongue comes out and another mouth opens, all complete with slime dripping off every available surface.

This was the most disgusting thing I’d seen in my short life. So much so that I was convinced I was going to puke. I went to run into the laundry room to hurl in the sink, when my mother—without even looking at me—grabs my wrist and jerks me back to her side.

“No, watch it with me,” she whispered in a voice reminiscent of the demon in The Exorcist, her eyes bright with glee from the mayhem on the screen.

In that instant, my beloved mother became about a thousand times more scary than the film itself, the last fifteen minutes of which I was forced to watch, à la Alex in A Clockwork Orange.

Fast-forward about ten years. I am now a teenage Goth, full of piss and vinegar, convinced that I am where Humanity went wrong.

A friend and I decided the best way to freak out the Squares was to wander into the local Sharper Image (also, this was when the Sharper Image carried cool stuff, like little Porsche go-karts, instead of just the Ionic Air Purifiers and “personal massagers”). In the entryway was a life-sized statue of Giger’s Xenomorph, and that’s when it all came flooding back.

The Queen’s little tongue-mouth. Bishop ripped in half, snot-colored android guts spilling out of his torso. My mother’s Regan MacNeil impression.

And that’s when I realized I had been so mentally scarred that my brain and repressed the memory of a goddamn B-grade horror movie.

Meanwhile, I had coped with the trauma by turning myself into a pathetic little wanna-be vampire who really didn’t like herself all that much. I thought it was hormones, and I would just grow out of it like everyone promised, but no, my mother had done this to me.

My obsession with death and black lipstick and leather collars with spikes was all my mother’s fault.
As soon as I went home, I marched up to my mother and laid the accusation. How could she do that to me, her little baby girl?

“Well, I was scared.”

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17 Responses to “A Public Service Announcement”

  1. Von Krieger Says:

    I can trace my geekery and tendancy to hoard things because they are ‘mine’ back to when I was five and my then 24 year old mother threw away my entire toybox full of Transformers. Which she alwasy justified by saying “half of them were broken.”

    But later on in life, when I was approzimately the same age as my mother was then, my grandmother told me that Mom had likely thrown them away because grandma had bought most of them, and that she was essentially competing with me for her mother’s attention.


  2. Gaius Dorkus Maximus Says:

    Back when I was a small child, our neighbor across the street gave my mother a copy of Dr. Spock’s book and it said to never let your children sleep in bed with you. So to that end, I was never allowed to crawl into my parent’s bed whenever I had a nightmare or something. I had to lie next to their bed on the floor and my mother would pat my head as I lay there.

    To this day I still find sleeping on the floor to be a comforting experience and I tend to sleep better when I’m on the floor. My mother still apologizes to me for doing that.


    paula reply on October 15th, 2008 2:41 am:

    Somebody gave my mom the Dr. Spock book too: she said she got to a part where it said to “reason with your toddler”, and immediatly chucked the book in the trash.


    Snyarhedir reply on April 7th, 2011 11:38 pm:

    No one who calls itself “Dr. Spock” deserves much credibility, much like people who use the L-word when referring to homosexuals or the N-word at all. (Oh, and for the record, “Lesbian” is or at least was a nationality.)


  3. Billy Says:

    I get to blame my lack of life on my family moving every couple of years. I’ve lived in new york, florida redneck area, florida new yorker area, then I joined the military, got to see texas, then maryland. Then i got out of the military, and ended back up in new york. And my parents still ask me if i’m homesick when i’m someplace else for any lenght of time.


  4. PFC Barry Says:

    same here with the moving thing, I’ve got to the point were half my stuffs packed up and in my car waiting


  5. Sean Says:

    My mom let me watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula when I was eight; I still get frightened every time I watch Keanu Reeves attempt an accent that isn’t Ted “Theodore” Logan.


  6. Katie Says:

    My mother forced me to watch Alice in Wonderland the Disney version when I was 4. I still can’t look at that damn cat! Then there the issue with falling down the rabbit hole and well just the whole damn trippy ride! It has to be the scariest Disney movie ever! I still haven’t forgiven her for it.


  7. Gunfingers Says:

    Aliens is not a B-movie! How could you say that!? That’s it, we should take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.


  8. the intel guy Says:

    “Aliens” is by no means a “goddamn B-grade horror” movie.

    It is one of the greatest sci-fi flicks of all time.


  9. Minty Says:

    For the record, “Aliens” is one of my favorite SF/Horror movies. However, if you want to be technical about it, yes, it is considered a B-Grade movie by the “powers that be” in Hollywood (and we all know how sharp those guys are) because of its content rather than its budget. Conversely, “Alien” was considered B-Grade because of its budget, but A-Grade because of its content.

    Also, to be fair, at the time I was a little pissed that my brain pulled the Repress Trauma lever because of a movie when other people’s do so over being molested, or seeing a loved one die horribly. I mean, how frickin’ pathetic was I at that age that a MOVIE scared me into forgetting it ever happened?


  10. Stickfodder Says:

    You people are lucky you got fucked up by scary movies I had nightmares for years over E.T.! And it wasn’t the scene with him all white and nasty looking that messed up my sister, no it was just E.T. in general. Although I didn’t repress any of it.

    The weird thing is is that stuff like Aliens or Terminator, movies that my mom tried to protect me from never bugged me.


    Minty reply on October 16th, 2008 7:11 am:

    If it makes you feel any better, I refused to eat Reese’s Pieces for years after ET came out. I was convinced that ET was the filling used in the Pieces, because peanut butter and ET’s skin was the same color, which I only noticed because he was used to promote the product for a few years afterwards.


  11. Billy Says:

    If it makes you feel better, while the movies Alice in Wonderland (disney version) and Who framed Rodger Rabbit would scare the hell out of me as a kid, I had absolutly no problem with Killer Klowns from outer space. Apparently a guy’s eyse popping out or the Red Queen are creepier to a kid than blood sucking clowns that will use your dead body as a puppet. Plus, my older sister laughed at Nightmare on Elm Street when she was little. At least Little Shop of Horrors was kinda neutral.


    Stickfodder reply on October 16th, 2008 7:43 am:

    Oh fuck Killer Klowns from outer space I kind of forgot about that movie. Yeah I did see it when I was a kid and I pretty much forced myself to forget about it and now that I think about it it might be part of the reason I hate clowns.


  12. Lt Ronald Says:

    I hate having sex in tents because of Friday the 13th. Every time I went to summer camps I couldn’t get an erection because I was afraid if I was having sex a machette would pop up through my chest and my internal organs would explode all over the speed bumps of the 14 year old that I was banging.


  13. Snyarhedir Says:

    I have yet to actually see the Alien films, the Predator films, or any like those, but to me, they do not present themselves as straight-up horror films, but more monster movies/thrillers than anything else, kind of like Jaws (of which I have seen the first movie).


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