Monday, May 10, 2004
My father took me to see Jaws at the tender and inappropriate age of 7, which, as you can imagine, left an indelible impression on me. Not only do I have an unreasonable fear of swimming in the ocean, I am tormented by nightmares of sharks, saltwater crocodiles and other giant aquatic maneaters. I suffer from one recurring nightmare in which I find myself stranded in deep, black water. Knowing that there is nowhere to swim to safety, I just tread water as I slowly am overcome with helpless, horrible, expectant dread. When I feel something begin to tug at my ankle, I wake up.
This is why fathers left in charge for the day should never be allowed to take their children to movies – either they just have no judgment about the enduring psychological trauma these movies will inflict or they just don’t care. Their aversion to suffering through Pippi Longstocking Sails the South Seas or The Apple Dumpling Gang overrides any sense of parental responsibility, and so they just go to whatever movie they want and drag their charges along, which is how I saw Jaws at seven and A Clockwork Orange at ten.
One time when Elizabeth’s mother went to New Orleans her father took Elizabeth (10), her brother Dan (9) and her brother John (4. 4 years old!) to both Alien and Animal House.
Maybe in space no one can hear you scream, but if your children’s bedroom is right next to yours, you can certainly hear their screams, so don't get cranky when you will be woken and disturbed repeatedly throughout the night be them like you so richly deserve to be.
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