Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scare Tactics

When I stepped into the shower this morning, the water was much too hot.  I stood off to the side while I adjusted the temperature until it was cool enough to get under.

I smiled because I remembered my naivete when I was in grammar school.  It was during the cold war and the Russians were the big bad wolf.  We had "duck and cover" drills, where we practiced getting under our desks for when we got word that an atomic bomb was going to drop on San Francisco.  How innocent that all seems now.

Somehow, I got it into my head that the Russians would capture me and torture me.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe to tell them the secrets of Pagan Babies.   But I got it into my head that they would torture me by subjecting me to freezing cold water and then plunging me into boiling hot water, so I decided to prepare for that and whenever I took a bath, I would get into a warm tub, then turn the hot water on until I could hardly stand it, then drain it and refill with cold water.  I don't know what I did to our water bills, but I was ready for those mean Russians when they abducted me.

We had a nun who was famous for holding "health class" right before lunch.  Each class consisted of some terrible story about something horrible that had happened to a child because they didn't follow good health rules.

There was the girl whose bladder burst because she didn't go to the bathroom when she felt the urge (which seems strange in a day when you had to raise your hand, #1 or #2, in order to be excused--and even then, your "excuse" was at the whim of the nun teaching the class.  If she felt you had gone to the bathroom too often, permission was denied!)

There was also the story of the palm tree whose palm fronds drooped low enough that kids could jump up and try to catch one.  Only the hero kid of the day jumped up at such an angle that the palm frond imbedded itself in his head and began to work its way into his brain.  (Yes, these were legitimate health classes!)

The last one I remember was about the two girls who decided they were going to take diet pills.  They found an ad in a magazine and sent away for pills.   When the pills came, one girl took hers right away (it seems to me there was only one pill each, but I may be wrong).  The other girl left hers on her dresser overnight and when she woke up, the pill had become a tapeworm.  The first girl died.

We believed this crap because Sister would never steer you wrong, would she?  Some of the lessons were a bit more graphic and we often went to lunch with queasy stomachs.
My father was also a good one for scaring you.  It was years before I could go to a movie theater without spending half my time wondering if the man sitting two rows behind me was going to suddenly leap up, jab a hypodermic needle in my neck and turn me into a drug addict.

But now I shower in comfortable water, I don't duck down when I come to a palm tree, and I can actually watch a movie without worrying that I will be a drug addict before I leave the theater.

I have also never been tempted to order pills by mail, which is probably the most helpful thing I ever took away from those health classes!

Report from the family indicates  that they are becoming aware of the extent of the effect of Bob's stroke on him.  He can sometimes answer their questions, though his speech has been affected, as has the right side of his body.  The plan is that he is going to be moved to a stroke facility, if they determine that he can be rehabilitated.  It is going to take a long time, they realize now.  It must be very scary facing an uncertain future, but I know that Peach is a very strong person and will rise to the occasion, though I know that it is going to be difficult for her and for everyone.  Fortunately, there is lots of family around willing to offer physical and emotional support.  We'll help them all get through this, somehow.

For some reason today I have been craving ginger cookies.  I think because I keep seeing commercials of people eating a gingerbread house, and my Sentsy warmer at present has a ginger cookie scent coming from it.  It is terrible for me to make cookies because we never have drop in guests and Walt is not big on sweets, so it ends up being me who eats them all and I need cookies like I need another hole in my head.  I purposely chose a recipe of ginger cookies because though I like them, I don't like them as much as rich butter cookies or chocolate chip cookies or brownies.  But they turned out just great and I've already probably had more than I should.


Harriet said...

When I was in fifth grade, we discussed Russia and bombs, but we never had "duck and cover" exercises, though we were certainly in a zone. (35 miles from New York City.)

I always thought it was a terrible thing to scare kids. We had been taught to believe grownups in general and teachers in particular. It takes years to unlearn that stuff.

It was why I never let my kids watch tv without an adult present.

Mary Z said...

Damn! I LOVE anything ginger, especially homemade ginger cookies. I got a mix for some at Aldi last week, and made them yesterday. I hoped they would be horrible, but unfortunately, that was not the case. I'm trying to keep them at one a day.