Thursday, October 18, 2012
Childhood: The Thing Under the Bed
They caused us to keep the light in the closet on, a night light burning by the bed, and brave stuffies on your pillows. They forced us to cower with the blanets pulled over our heads and to try to jump the ten feet or so from the light switch to the bed.
Even though I review horror movies and books, I wasn't immune to this fear as a child. I would close and block the closet door with stuff so The Monster couldn't open it; I would get Teddy (dressed as Superbear) to check under the bed to keep The Thing at bay; I would build a fort of pillows around me in case the blanets got pulled off.
But then, I discovered a point of logic that allowed me to confront and defeat The Thing Under the Bed.
Once in a while, we would stay at Grandma and Grandpa's. Mom and Dad would sleep in the Guest Room upstairs, while my brother, and I would sleep downstairs... In the large unfinished basement... The large, shadowy unfinished basement. The beds we slept on were old fashioned beds with lots of room under the bed. Perfect for The Thing.
Night time in the basement was a scary time for a kid of seven or so. Shadows flittering across the walls, creaks and groans and popping sounds... and rustling... from under the bed. It was like that one night when I was sleeping in the basement by myself. While laying there with the blankets wrapped tight around me and shivering with dread as I imagined The Thing's tentacled hand slowly dragging me under the bed into his gaping, toothy maw like I was a kiddie burito, I realized something.
Even at that young age, I knew just enough about Physics to understand that two physical objects could not occupy the same space at the same time. My child's mind reasoned that The Thing was limited to inhabiting confined spaces under beds- it couldn't exist outside the boundries of that space. Therefore, if I occupied that space, The Thing could NOT occupy that space. Thus, as my developing chain of logic dictated, if The Thing could not occupy that space- and could not exist outside of that space, it could not torment me.
So it came to be that the next morning, my Mom came down to wake me up... and found me sleeping quite happily under the bed. Although she couldn't help but laugh, she admitted that my logic did have some merit.
To this day, I still make sure that the space under my bed if filled with stuff in order to deny The Thing a place to hang out. And I sleep with the blankets over my head... just in case...