The 8-Year-Old Skeptic
I was a typical gullible kid.
At least I think so. I’m sure at some point I believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, although I can’t remember when. I certainly remember pretending that I did, since my parents told me quite sternly that kids who don’t believe in Santa (or who ruin it for their baby brothers) don’t get any presents.
But I figure when I was really little, I must have truly believed – since I believed enough in King Kong to have some pretty scary nights when I was sure I saw the Kong’s big paw reaching into my bedroom window. Yeah, right after the Empire State Building, I was sure he was heading for 58 Center Street in Bristol, Connecticut.
But on the other hand, I had some strong inclinations toward a healthy skepticism. One of my favorite expressions was “Really?” (which was the 8-year-old version of “Bullshit!”)
There were a bunch of things that kids often believed that earned my scorn:
Noah’s Ark. A big Ark Park is opening in Kentucky, and that is what brought all these memories back in the first place. Bible or no bible, I never thought this story was anything but a fairy tale. If God is all-powerful, and can destroy the world and all the evil in it, why couldn’t he just kill all the assholes, and not have to kill all the animals except 2 of each?
And how about the fish? How come they got a break?
On the other hand, I did believe that Jesus changed the water to wine at that big wedding. Even by 8 years old, I had been to a couple of weddings and saw that grown-ups needed wine in order to loosen up. But they didn’t need much. It was almost like they just needed the suggestion of wine. I was betting that Jesus simply TOLD them it was wine, and they had a much better time and were much better dancers.
Salem witches. Those townfolk thought witches had great magic, and so they threw the accused in the water, all weighted down, figuring if the witch was real, she would save herself. So when these poor women died, didn’t the townsfolk ever start to think….”Uh-oh. We are killing a hole bunch of innocent people here, so maybe this system isn’t really working”?
And how about if they had a real witch, and she stepped out of the water? With her witch powers still intact? Wouldn’t she be a little mad? Wouldn’t that be a little dangerously awkward?
So the conclusion was obvious, some poor ladies died, but there were no witches, or the good townspeople would have given up that activity real fast.
On the other hand, I wholeheartedly believed in ghosts. I may never had seen one, but they were out there as surely as King Kong was about to put his foot through my windowsill. I believed that ghosts liked to jump out and scare people. If you believed in them, you wouldn’t be quite so terrified, because you would sort of be expecting them, and that would spoil all the ghost-fun, so ghosts saved their jumping out for people who DIDN’T believe. They’d get more bang for the buck that way. So believing was a kind of insurance.
Superman. Oh, It wasn’t so much that he could fly, and lift up buildings with his finger and all. What I thought totally ridiculous was that no one recognized him because he put on a pair of glasses. Come on, Lois, doesn’t Clark remind you of someone?
And how about that cape? Clark Kent had his Superman costume on under his clothes. What the heck… (I didn’t say WTF until I was a teenager… and every moment since)… did he do with the cape? Tuck it into his underpants???
On the other hand, I could believe that Superman had x-ray vision. I have x-ray vision. It’s called imagination.
Your face will freeze that way. My Grandma used to warn me about crossing my eyes or making funny faces. I loved Grandma but I knew that was just nonsense.
And how did I know?
Channel 3 on Tuesday nights.
Nobody made more faces than Red Skelton. Not even all three Stooges put together. And yet, at the end of the show, when Red got all sweet and serious, his face went back to a regular face. Grandma watched that show. How did she not notice?
On the other hand…
Oh my God, for the last year or so, I wake up in the middle of the night and I can’t move my eyes. Sometimes it is just the right eye. Or sometimes just the left. Once in a while it is both. They are just STUCK. Takes me several minutes to get them out of whatever corner they are stuck in, and free them to look in a different direction. Sometimes I have to pee with my eyes looking away from where the toilet paper is.
My husband says I am dehydrated. He’s big on hydration. He might be right. I maybe need to lubricate my eyeballs better. But I’m 65 years old. I am already up in the middle of the night peeing. I don’t necessarily want to do that more than once (or twice) a night.
My eye doctor said she never heard of such a thing. She doesn’t see anything wrong with my eyes or the muscles that move them, and I can roll them easily enough in her office, and all the time around certain acquaintances, so I shouldn’t worry about it.
But Oh Grandma! I’m sorry. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.