Monday, April 16, 2012

Some Stories From My Childhood

I re-shared this first story with my RinkChat friends this past weekend, then again on Facebook, and now I've decided to re-print it here, along with some of my other favorite stories about weird things I did as a kid. Because... yeah, I was kind of a weird kid.

* * *

We have this big black canning pot that we mostly used when cooking corn on the cob or popcorn for the whole family. When I was nine or so, I decided it would be hilarious to rename it, so I started calling it the "hot patch boiling pot." Somehow this caught on. Not only did my siblings all start calling it this, but my parents did too.

A few years ago, my sister Bethany, who was eighteen or so at the time, found out for the very first time that that wasn't its real name. "Wait, what? What's it actually called?" "A canner."

I kind of wish she'd never found out, because it would have been hilarious to see her try to purchase one as an adult. "Excuse me, can you tell me where the hot patch boiling pots are?"

* * *

I have a tendency to lie to my siblings if they ask me a question I don't feel like answering, because making up an answer is so much more fun than giving them the real one. However, I then usually forget that I did this.

When the Lord of the Rings movies first came out, I was watching them with my siblings. It was at the part where they were trying to figure out which way to go, and one person says, "We can't go (whatever way) because it takes us too close to Isengard!" Bethany (who was probably eleven or so) asked me what Isengard was. I apparently told her it was a theme park and they didn't want to get distracted riding all the rides.

Note that I don't remember telling her this AT ALL.

Five years later, she was rewatching the movies and suddenly yells at me, "Hey! Isengard isn't a theme park!"

"...I know?"

"You told me it was!"

"What? Oh. Um. I'm sorry."

* * *

Growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money to buy toys for us kids. We were also homeschooled. As a result, my siblings and I spent a lot of time making up games to amuse ourselves.

I must have been about six when I made up The Queen Game. At the time I only had two siblings, but I made them both play it with me, and then as other kids were born into the family, I taught it to them. And our friends. And our neighbors. I was twelve or so when my mom found us playing it one day and told us we weren't allowed to play it anymore, and my siblings and I were all very upset. Looking back on it now... I get why she was weirded out by it.

It was a 3-person game. Each person got to be either the queen, the prisoner, or the guard. (Guys were allowed to be the queen as well, but they stayed the queen rather than turning into the king or something.) The guard captured the prisoner, usually for picking the queen's flowers, and threw them into prison. The queen then came up with the three most disgusting things they could think of to eat (one creative answer that became a popular recurring option: "dried eggs with buffalo hair on them"). The guard took all these foods to the prisoner, who promptly rejected them because they were pretty disgusting.

Finally, the guard simply serves the prisoner chocolate milk. The prisoner drinks the chocolate milk, but it turns out it was POISONED OH NO and the prisoner dies.

In the final act of this game/story, the queen and the guard "freeze the prisoner into coffee" and drink them. This gruesome ending somehow made sense to me when I was six and then was never questioned once it was put into place. It just became part of the game.

I'm kind of surprised it didn't get shut down before it did. We played this regularly for six years before Mom told us we couldn't play it anymore.

The other game I created as a child that we played a lot was less gory and more silly, but it still had a dark ending. It was called Tanya and the Chocolate Pudding. The basic idea was that we'd jump off the basement stairs onto an air mattress, but there was a storyline involved. The air mattress was a giant vat of chocolate pudding, put there by a witch, and once you fell in the chocolate pudding, you became enchanted and never wanted to leave.

The name "Tanya" came from the fact that we would take turns being different characters from movies we watched all the time, and my favorite was Tanya from An American Tail and Fievel Goes West. Each character would approach the vat of chocolate pudding and accidentally fall or get pushed in, and then they'd be stuck in the pudding forever. So we'd roll around on the air mattress as if we were swimming in a vat of chocolate pudding, and then when we'd all fallen in, we'd get out and do it all again as different characters.

When we ran out of characters or got bored of the game, we'd end it. The witch pulled the plug at the bottom of the vat, and we all went down the drain, landed in her dungeon, and died.

As you can see, my appreciation of morbid storylines started young.

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