I got thinking the other day about things I used to think when I was a kid, and realized I thought a lot of weird things. I hope other people thought of just as many. Then I’ll be able to say I’m not weird.
Where do I begin? I remember sitting at the table once and my older brother laughing and saying, “I remember when I used to think that a bank kept all of our money in a vault in little self-contained compartments and they’d go in and get some from the compartments when you asked for it.” I sat there so bewildered thinking, “Isn’t that what they do?” I seriously thought they had all of our money in cash at the bank. Granted this was before bank machines, telephone and online banking and all that good stuff. But I remember feeling too stupid to ask, “well…what do they do?”
Speaking of money, I was even confused by the expression “making money”. What a literal child I was. Since it seemed that every time my parents came home from work, their pockets jingled with money, I thought that at the end of my mom and dad’s workday, they actually crafted the bills and coins that they had earned. I was so amazed by my mom especially. I remember staring up at her and thinking, “She’s a nurse. So she’s busy taking care of everybody else, and then she still has time to go make money! Wow!” I remember asking her one day how she made money. I meant how does she create the bills and coins and stuff. She said something about cheques and cashing them, and I couldn’t even begin to understand what language she was speaking.
And then there were the things that I’d always want to do because I thought they were super cool and I wanted to say I did them. I could never understand why mom was so confused about why I really really really wanted to do these things. Like mailing stuff. She’d take me with her while she did errands and part of that was sending mail. Every time we’d have to send mail, I’d want to put the mail in the box because I thought the slot was magical and could read where it was going. In my mind, it would grab the mail and suck it through a strange tunnel to somebody’s mailbox. Now, if I was really smart, I would have figured this wasn’t true, because if it was, why would we have a mailman? But I was 4. So every time I’d put an envelope in the slot, I’d try to feel the suction. I remember asking mom, “What would happen if I stuck my finger in there? Would it try to mail my finger somewhere?” Mom laughed and laughed and then promptly burst my bubble about the mail. I remember still thinking while she explained it, “Why do we need people sorting the mail if it just gets sucked to its destination?”
And then there was the vacuum. If mom had been smart, she would have let me believe this crap longer so I’d keep vacuuming for her. I actually thought the vacuum had some kind of power to completely wipe out the dirt it found. Not just suck it into a bag for you to empty into the garbage. No no no. I thought the vacuum would declare war on the little dust bunnies. Again I was so sad when I figured out that nothing in this world is ever destroyed completely. It just changes form or location.
Then I’d sit and listen to Raffi and wonder what made him cry. Seriously, in every song, it sounded like he was ready to fall to his knees and bawl his eyes out…it was just a matter of time. I would sit there and think, what’s so sad about this song? I think it’s happy. Am I missing something? I remember thinking, come on Raffi, be happy! Then I thought, “Somebody should come and take Raffi aside and talk to him and find out what’s wrong!” Ah, that’s why I have the psychology degree now.
Some of his stuff really confused me. Like the song he’s got the whole world in his hands. I’d sit there and sometimes roll a tennis ball in my hands and think, “So he’s always holding the whole world in his hands? How big are his hands? How strong is this man? What if he has to do something else with his hands? Does he never get itchy? What happens if he drops us?”
Then I’d sit and listen to “All I really need” and go, “Man, he needs more and more stuff. First he says all he really needs is a song in his heart, food in his belly and love in his family and then he starts talking about clean air, clean water and the list keeps growing.” Maybe that’s why he was so sad. He didn’t get enough stuff.
And there was this one song that would scare the hell out of me. I couldn’t explain it to anyone, not even myself, until years later. Does anyone remember “Something in my shoe?” There were these jugs and kazoos that would play together, and every time I heard that, I would run screaming from the record player. Mom would ask me over and over again what was it about the song that would scare me, and I’d just cry. Grandma would get so mad at mom and ask her why she’d play a record that I hated. Poor mom, I put her through such hell. I eventually figured out what it was. The kazoos and jugs sounded like a swarm of bugs to me. the kazoos were like mosquitos and the jugs were like flies or bees. And I hated bugs! Why couldn’t I explain this to mom then? I guess I was too busy bawling like Raffi.
So…am I alone? In the words of REM, oh no I’ve said too much. Hope not.