If you’re an adult who side-eyes every plastic bag that comes within so much of an arm’s distance to your face—suspicious that at any moment it could kill you like the demonic toddler in Pet Sematary—then you are not alone. You’re one of many who has been scarred by the traumatic, morbid warnings of our well-meaning, albeit neurotic parents who feared for our lives on a daily basis.
Of course they meant well. It’s basically been proven that kids are essentially always drunk despite chemical sobriety and therefore cannot be trusted when left to their own devices. Give a kid a pair of scissors and he or she will not only run, they’ll parkour off couches and do a whole lot of pointing with it still lodged firmly in hand. There’s a reason Ralphie wasn’t allowed to own that Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock—he’d shoot his eye out. (Even without weapon he managed to injure someone courtesy of a triple dog dare, a tongue and a flag pole.)
But what about the less likely disasters?
One of my friend’s mom used to give us two rules when she left us alone for a few hours: no hardy candy, no showers. You could choke on a butterscotch, or slip, fall, crack your head open and die in the shower. To this day I crunch my Werther’s immediately.
Another friend of mine was told that lying will turn your tongue black and make it fall off. She lied, ate a ton of back licorice, her tongue darkened from the coloring, and a full panic-bordering-hysteria ensued.
Charlotte was told to never go inside the refrigerator. I’ll let that one sink in a minute because why on earth would one CLIMB INTO A REFRIGERATOR? (Again, however, see: drunk toddler. Or hide & seek.) But her parents didn’t warn that she’d freeze to death (which is one of my own personal fears), but rather she would be locked inside there for good. As in, “We’re never opening this fridge up again, Charlotte.”
Parents, guardians, and tigers who develop phantom pregnancies in order to milk baby piglets—they all love their young. And what may seem like a very real danger to them (pinecones, for example. I wasn’t allowed to play with them) may seem like a fantastic idea to us.
In the end, they are just looking out for our best interest.
And now let’s cogitate: what strange dangers did your parents warn you against? Or what reasonable ones did they have that you ignored? Did they scare the shit out of you? Did that fear last for life? Tell us! Tell us! We literally have nothing else to do except read your comments and jab pinecones into our ears.