Friday, December 23, 2005

Signs of Old

As a kid I used to love playing with bugs. I suppose most kids are like that. My friends and I had a blast playing with insects, worms and other creepy-crawlies. I even got a bug collecting kit for Christmas one year. Today I'm scared to death of bugs. I'm such a wimp that if I see one in the house I yell for Sera to come and kill it. And I have the feeling I'm not the only one who went through this transformation. So when did the moment come in life when bugs went from fun playthings to frighteningly ugly monsters?

I've often pondered this question and am still debating about whether to include this little idea into my book. It's not like one day I just decided to be afraid of bugs. But when did I go from having fun with them to being terrified? I have no idea. Is this the definitive point when your childhood is officially over...the moment when fun becomes fear?

Christmas was obviously my favorite holiday as a child. (If you read my last post you're probably wondering why a Jewish kid was celebrating Christmas--it's just another part of how crazy my whole life is). I'd make a huge list of things I wanted and count the days until the big day arrived. I didn't sleep more than a couple of hours on Christmas Eve. When family ask me today what I'd like I reply, "Nuthin'." And it's the truth. There's really nothing that I want. Is this another sign of getting old? My parents always get frustrated with me at this time of year.
"There must be something you want," they'd say. But why must there be something I want? Maybe what I want can't be bought at the mall. I want to travel. I want to experience other cultures. I want the world to be peaceful and happy. I want those I love to be healthy.

But in the end I acquiesce, if only to appease them, and tell them clothes. Clothes! That was every kid's nightmare gift. And now that's what I ask for. It's even a struggle with Sera. I told her today to get me some books--Charles Bukowski and Doug Coupland. I guess it's a good sign when there's nothing material that I want.

But all this goes back to my original question: when did I start getting old?


Blogger Stefanie said...

I used to torture bugs when I was little. I've heard it predicts violent tendencies in adults, just bad stuff. So, not something I broadcast. But I did do it and I loved it.

12:38 AM  
Blogger exley said...

I never heard it predicts violent tendencies. I would think most kids tortured bugs--you're young and just having fun. Your mind hasn't developed enough to think it through. All my friends would poke them with sticks, cut them up--one friend would fry them alive on the stove. I used to build model rockets as a kid--one type had a clear plastic nose just for the fun of sending bugs into space. The rocket would return with a big splatter of blood--the bugs exploded somewhere during the flight.

2:27 PM  

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