Friday, August 22, 2008

A Big Joke

I love this news story: Bigfoot Hoaxers Say It Was a 'Big Joke'

This is exactly and precisely the sort of thing I might have tried to pull off as a kid, had I access to the proper resources. I remember one time, when I was about eight years old, I woke up my mother to tell her that I had seen a large, axe-wielding man with crazy eyes trying to come through our front door. Concerned, though probably sensing that I was lying, my mother sat up and said we would have to call the police. I remember hopping off the bed and slowly backing towards the door, my hands in the air - I clearly hadn't thought this through. Best case scenario, I had imagined, my mom and I would build a fort in the living room and hide in it until we were sure the axe murderer had lost interest. I did not, however, have any desire to deal with the police. "Now, now," I remember saying, "Let's not do anything rash."

Once, when my older sister was very young and spending a few days at my grandparents' house, she made a bizarre claim when my mother came to bring her home.

"How did you enjoy spending time with Grammy?" My mom asked, giving Julie a hug.

"We had a very nice time." My tiny, frail Grammy said, probably giving a gentle smile as she reached out with her fragile hand to touch Julie's red hair.

"Mommy," Julie said, her little voice growing suddenly loud and impassioned, "Grammy kicked me and punched me and threw me down the stairs!"

Julie and I both, it seems, wanted our lives to be more interesting. I suppose constructing imaginary, dark drama was the most appealing way of dealing with the problem.

I didn't stop there, of course. As a teen, instead of gazing out my window and dreaming that a knight in shining armor would take me away, I wished instead to be swept away by a dangerous but handsome kidnapper - one who would seem crazy at first, but would later fall in love with me and take me to his fortress in the woods where he would train me in post-apocalyptic warfare (inspired, probably, by my longtime crush on Kyle Reese from The Terminator). I dreamed of getting cancer - some form that I would ultimately fully recover from, but not before going to the brink of death and subsequently garnering lots of sympathy and praise for how brave and strong I was. I dreamed of joining forces with whoever my current junior high crush was, just the two of us, rare survivors after the earth had been invaded by armies of aliens or robots.

I even began work on a novel, while in seventh grade, based on the invading alien/robot fantasy. In my story, the character I based myself on survived the attack by hiding in a clothes dryer. After the initial attacks let up, I recounted my heroine's discovery of her massacred parents in the swimming pool with such vivid descriptions as, "The pool water looked like Kool-Aid. Red, red Kool-Aid." I didn't get very far with the book, which was too bad because I had made grand plans for a death scene in which my heroine died bravely and beautifully in the arms of her love interest while they sang the duet "A Little Fall of Rain" from Les Miserables.

Ah well. That will have to be my new great goal in life: to someday write a novel that is every bit as fantastic as I imagined my seventh-grade novel would be.


Miss Kolleen said...

youre obviously my long lost sister-- i used to daydream of being an alien from another planet, being kidnapped and falling in love with my kidnapper, etc.

Anonymous said...

"The pool water looked like Kool-Aid. Red, red Kool-Aid." --This is the finest descriptive sentence you have ever written.

joopers said...

just to clarify - she kicked me and punched me and threw me down the CELLAR stairs.

joopers said...

also - i TOTALLY got Angela Chase (Claire Danes) in one episode of My So-Called Life, where the teacher asked her to use one word to describe Anne Frank - and Angela said "lucky?" Of course everyone looked at her like they were horrified - but i totally got her. what girl, in some twisted way, didn't imagine themselves locked in an attic with their crush, when they read Anne's diary?