After yesterday's post, I am feeling nostalgic for my childhood. I have very few specific complaints about my childhood. I harbor a little resentment that I never had a pony. Instead, I got a sister. She has grown on me in the last few years. I used to feed her sugar cubes and carrots and she has adapted nicely to trotting about on all fours. Despite this, when I am pressed, I can come up with plenty of stuff to riddle Mom and Dad with guilt.
I send my parents the bills from my therapy. I don't really blame them for my various obsessions and disorders and the voices in my head, but my parents don't know that and so they remit the payments on time. Eventually, I know that my parents will seek their own therapy and get over their feeling of guilt, but until then, I am enjoying exploiting their parental love for my own emotional needs.
They should have paid more attention. At some point in sixth grade, I started hanging out in the bird sanctuary by the lake. There, I looked for traces of owls. I collected and dissected the furry pellets that they left behind. I assembled the bones in the pellets back into tiny mouse skeletons that I kept in shoe boxes in my closet. I told Dad that Jeffrey Dahmer had done the same thing as a child. Dad said, "I've seen your fridge. There are no body parts in there, just pickles. I think you turned out okay."
I asked Dad why he didn't let me watch TV when I was a kid. "You got to watch all of the National Geographic specials that you wanted to," he answered. I complained that they were all old and dated. He countered by asking me how I could tell that a National Geographic special was old. He has a good point. The people in the programs were mostly naked and didn't drive cars or have cell phones or any other indicator of the year in which the program was produced. Still, I can tell when I am not watching modern bush people. I don't know how, I just can.
Dad could not be swayed wouldn't accept the blame. Determined to find out exactly where things started to go wrong, I called Mom.
I remember going to the lake as a kid. The other children yelled "cannonball!" as they jumped of the dock into the lake during summer vacation. I approached the edge of the dock solemnly and shrieked, "Sylviiiiiia Plaaaaath!" before I jumped in. I asked Mom if she ever thought this was strange. She told me that while the other parents were disturbed by my behavior, it never bothered her. "I would have been worried if you had said that before you stuck your head in the oven."
I didn't ask her what I said when I stuck my head in the oven.