My top 12 childhood traumas

Published by siroutlier_tt2i6p on

Time to get personal and lean into all those childhood issues my therapist has accused me of avoiding, like her bills. I guess I should’ve been suspicious that her “office” was in the corner of a Rooms To Go. And how she offered me an extended service contract on our therapy sessions that included a one-year limited treatment warranty. But whatevs, the major thing she taught me was to name my pain. So here goes—my top childhood traumas that f’ed me up big time. Or to put a more positive spin on it, molded me into the f’ed up person I am today.

12. All those 80s horror films – I had older sisters who had what they called a “sense of humor”, but Amnesty International might call it cruel and unusual torture. One thing they love to do was coerce me into watching all the Halloweens, Friday the 13ths, and Police Academy movies. This might explain why I’m more skittish than a squirrel on a highway and why I make my own sound effects whenever I turn on an appliance, open a door, and make the intercourse.

This is what comedy looked like in the 80s. We just didn’t know any better.

11. I never finished Super Mario Bros. – There are two kinds of 80s kids—those who completed Super Mario Bros. and those who lead a life full of unfulfilled regret. And it can all be traced back to that mother scratching Mario game. I tried damn it, believe me I tried, but I just could never get over the hump and rescue Princess Toadstool. Because of that, I’m perpetually trapped in a life undistinguished with an endless parade of King Koopas laughing at my failures.

The echo of this defeat has reverberated throughout my worthless life. And it’s why I don’t eat mushrooms.

10. I was abandoned at a mall – And not one of those super cool, fun malls; it was at a dirty outlet mall with stores like Jesus “R” Us, Bobo Shoes, and Cowboy Buckles and Things. My Darth MeMaw claimed it was an accident, that she was shopping for discount medication at Happy Harry’s and suddenly realized she was late for BINGO. There I was, left wandering around the Half-Dollar Store in a daze for hours until the cashier finally called the Department of Defense. Don’t ask me why he called the DoD, I think the poor teenage cashier was more confused than I was.

Outlet malls in the 80s—you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

9. I was bullied by some wild hares – I lived in the burbs and back in the 80s, most burbs weren’t too far away from the woods. My bus stop was a couple miles away from my humble abode which meant I had to walk by those woods. And in that wooded arena hopped my worst nightmare—rabbits with attitude. They used to follow me around, mocking and hissing at me (yes, they freaking hissed). I was just a wee lad, and I didn’t know what to do, so I would throw money at them or my lunch or my mother’s costume jewelry. Whatever it took. This is why I still get creeped the F out by the Energizer Bunny.

And why Fatal Attraction is a feel-good movie.

8. I watched Hee Haw with Darth MeMaw – When Darth MeMaw wasn’t leaving me squarely in a serial killer’s happy hunting ground, she was making me watch Hee Haw. She taped every episode on her Betamax and we’d sit there for hours eating cornpone and watching Minnie Pearl and Roy Clark tell what can only be euphemized as “jokes”. We now know what it really was—redneck brainwashing. It’s no wonder our more rural population loves weapons of choice, the patriarchy, killing animals for sport, and ignorance.

“We have plenty of diversity… in our Western styled shirts and dresses.”

7. I never got a Slip ‘N Slide – I get it, everyone has that holy toy grail that they never got. For most it was something like the Kenner Millennium Falcon, the U.S.S. Flagg, Castle Grayskull, or Teddy Ruxpin, but my sights were aimed much lower: a Wham-O® Slip ‘N Slide. My mom, in her infinite wisdom, thought paying money for glorified trash bags was the absolute definition of stupidity (side note: she did not watch Hee Haw). So instead of the luxurious long yellow plastic slide, I got several Food Lion branded garbage bags stapled together, then sprayed down with a garden hose. Which turned out to be a recipe for a litany of not only physical but mental and emotional injuries. To this day, I have imbedded gravel and permanent grass stains covering 60% of my body.

My mom practically invented DIY and skin rashes.

6. I wore knock-off clothing – And it wasn’t just name brand toys my mother had an aversion for. Oh yes, I got to drink Dr. Perky, eat Cap’n Munch for breakfast, and wear imitation clothing. When kids who wore Kmart Blue Light Special shirts and pants made fun of your outfits, you know you’re at the bottom of the school chain. I still have the marks on my back from being whipped with Swatch watches because I dared to wear a Kasio abacus watch.

Oh, how different my life could have been if only we didn’t shop exclusively at the outlet mall.

5. The girl next door was a real dog – I’m not being misogynistic here, I’m being literal. I lived on the corner and my only neighbors were this ornery old couple who had a Doberman Pinscher ironically named Charity. She was the kind of girl who when you tried to pet her would take small chunks of flesh from your petting hand. She had Ginsu teeth and could rip through a chain link fence as easily as a tomato! No wonder I have such a fear of commitment… and of rabies.

Bitches give stitches.

4. My Big Wheel was an old pair of roller skates – You gotta give it to my mom, she was innovative and the pioneer woman of recycling. She cut off the sides of my sister’s old skates and then used the string to fasten them together, jury-rigging a mini quadracycle. Granted steering was a no-go and it was about as safe as blindly shooting lawn darts from your sweet potato gun, but it did provide me with seconds of fun… before skating me straight to the emergency room.

Let me tell you the woeful tale of little butt-foot.

3. My birthday parties were held at Sam ‘n Ella’s Chicken Coop – Sure, they had the largest buffet in town, but its only method of refrigeration was a 3-Speed box fan. So, if you wanted the cole slaw, cottage cheese, or deviled eggs, you better get their right when they put them out. I’ll give them this, they were consistent—not only was the meat grade F, but so was the health score. No wonder none of my classmates were allowed to attend. Or play with me. Or get within 50 feet of me.

It was the finest restaurant… at the outlet mall.

2. I was homeschooled – My restaurant of (not my) choice, bully rabbits, and bootleg boots led me to being told by my elementary school principal that maybe education wasn’t for me. So, much of my juvenescence was spent being homeschooled—which for my parents who worked/drank too hard to be bothered with tutelage meant me sitting in front of a TV watching Schoolhouse Rock, Magic School Bus, and Mr. Rodgers (that was the local-access knockoff of Mr. Rogers starring Ed Rodgers, a belligerent telemarketer who taught dozens of kids how to smoke, play poker, and never trust any media except for the National Enquirer).

The principal of my homeschool was Darth MeMaw and the P.E. teacher was Charity. Go figure.

  1. I ate Pop Rocks with Coke – I mean, obviously I didn’t die like Mikey, but my point here is that I never learned about nutrition. You probably don’t know this, but in the 80s, health food consisted of chocolate milk, granola bars, blueberry muffins, fruit juice, multi-grain bread, fruit yogurt, pre-packaged deli meats, and peanut butter and jelly. Explains a lot, doesn’t it. Sugar was always the main ingredient because it came from plants, so, of course, we classified it as a vegetable. Just like tobacco. Now, science says most of all that is bad for you, and not only impedes your physical growth, but mental as well.

This might explain why I can never get that promotion at the flea market. Or even a job there.