I am a wuss.
I don’t really know the reasons why. And I’m not at all interested in psychoanalyzing my formative years to figure it out. Just suffice it to say, my “wuss” symptoms are sundry. To wit:
1. I get freaked out by mice. The ones caught in mousetraps are the worst, but any mouse that has made its way into my domicile will unnerve me. (Strangely, pet store mice, while altogether unappealing, do not elicit this reaction.)
2. I am quite blood-averse. (As explained in an earlier post.) The closest I want to get to wounds or nursing duties is a hard bound edition of A Brief Biography of Clara Barton.
3. Roller coasters frighten me. First one I went on was with my husband. We we had just started dating and I was hoping he’d fall in love with me. And for this reason alone, I got back in line with him for a second ride. After the big “I do,” I (somewhat fraudulently) stopped riding them for the next 35 years. And then one day my third son, a young teen at the time, asked me to ride one with him. He said it would be a special memory of our family day at the amusement park if we all rode a roller coaster together. I guess I’m a sucker for the old “family togetherness” pitch. In a momentary lapse of judgment, I would suddenly find myself next in line to board the Batman at Six Flags. I survived the ordeal by squeezing my eyes tightly shut from the moment we left the platform until we came to a complete stop. Afterwards: “You liked it, didn’t you, Mom… you had fun, right?” Let’s see…how many ways can I say this? No, non, nein, nyet, bu, hapana! The end.
4. I don’t like scary movies. Unfortunately, this rules out a whole lot of blockbusters for me, since my definition of “scary” is broader than Paul Bunyan’s shoulders. I blame my parents for this neurosis. It all stems from being quite small when they took me to — please don’t judge — Disney movies! Which utterly ruined me for normal viewing in the future.
The first animated Disney film I remember seeing was the timeless classic, Bambi. Our whole family got dressed up, rode the bus downtown, and watched the matinee. You know the plot — the one in which a hunter shoots and kills the focal character’s mother! At the tender age of five, how was I not supposed to identify with such a very scary prospect? I was so shaken up afterward that I left my little purse sitting on the ledge of a department store picture window when we boarded the home-bound bus. Shaken, indeed.
Next in the line-up was Snow White. Remember that story line? The one in which an evil queen first puts out a hit on the fair damsel and then, upon learning that her scheme has failed, takes matters into her own hands and dupes our heroine into tasting a poison apple? (These guys weren’t called the Brothers Grimm for nothing.) I was afraid to eat apples for months.
And then a couple of years later I saw Sleeping Beauty. This film showcases the evil Maleficent, who morphs into a monstrously terrifying dragon and attacks Aurora’s beau, Prince Phillip, in a murderous rage. How’s a kid supposed to sleep at night after viewing such hair-raising scenes?
Luckily for me, the Disney Studios decided to stop releasing animated feature films following Sleeping Beauty’s tepid performance at the box office. It would be thirty years before The Little Mermaid‘s release in 1989. The conniving Ursula, in my opinion, wasn’t nearly as scary as the former villains. Well, unless you consider that maelstrom at the end where she becomes terribly huge, threatens to sink the hero’s ship, blah, blah, blah. Okay, so it was probably just as scary as the earlier films — the difference being that I was thirty years older.
So now I’m wondering… exactly why did I take my little kids to the theater to see it?