Jaws (Age 4)
The dad of my neighborhood friend
had a stuffed hammerhead shark
mounted on the wall of his office.
The shark scared me shitless.
I thought it could swim off the wall,
race across the sea-shag carpet,
and attack me.
I ran down the hall
as fast as I could,
my back pressed against the walls,
sprinting past the office
and into the safety of my friend's room.
The entire time we played,
I plotted my strategy,
to back out of the house,
without getting eaten.
I don't remember the friend.
I don't remember the dad.
I don't remember anything else about the house.
But I remember the shark.
And 38 years later, I'm still scared to swim in the ocean by myself.
3/4/2018 06:10:19 pm
So dying to know...is that the real picture of the shark that scared you sh*#less?! Love that it's the one thing you do remember from those playdates. Makes me wonder what my child will remember.
I'm regularly reminded of how many of my earliest memories are tied to some strong emotionally-charged event. I have a memory in which I'm peeking around the side of a chair, not really wanting to see the horror movie flickering in black and white on the TV (okay, now I'm feeling old). Like you, I don't remember the specifics, but I remember the fear!
3/4/2018 07:02:46 pm
Yikes! A shark! I was scared of the clock at the bottom of the stairs to the basement in my grandparents house... it looked like a face and made me think someone was going to get me if I went down there. Your description of the feeling matches.
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About the Author
Brian Kissel is an Associate Professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His focus is writing instruction. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Hattie and three kiddos: Charlie, Ben, and Harriet.