Who would have thought…
After writing about the movie “Them” the other day I haven’t stopped thinking about my terrifying “Blob” experience. I still don’t know why that movie frightened me so badly. I mean it was just a glob of red glutinous goo that sort of resembled Silly Putty. Can you imagine, I was afraid of Silly Putty from space! Who am I trying to kid, I wasn’t just afraid, I was scared shitless! But then I was only seven, still a kid. So then why wasn’t my little sister afraid? She was only four! Except for the times she came out to check on me in the lobby she watched the whole damn movie!
I’m still not sure why “The Blob” scared me so, I just can’t forget the damn old man poking at the Blob with a stick. It’s one of those images that has stayed with me. In the first place, who in their right mind goes out to investigate a meteor crash in the middle of the night all alone? Duh! And who pokes at an alien substance with a stick? Stupid old man.
I tell you, seeing “The Blob” or actually a few minutes of it was one of the scariest moments of my youth, second only to the infamous “cowhide wallet incident.” And what, pray tell is the cowhide wallet incident? Well it’s one of those golden moments of childhood when your too young and ignorant to realize your parents are messing with you. You know like when they used to tell us that we if we ate a watermelon seed you’d grow a watermelon in your stomach. What? Your parents never did that to you? Mine did!
I was probably about four when the wallet thing happened. I had gotten this cool western style wallet for my birthday. It was a light tan color with dark leather thong stiching on the edges. I was sitting at home one late afternoon watching cartoons, when for reasons unknown, boredom I guess or maybe hunger, I picked up my brand new leather wallet and began chewing on it. Strange huh? Well a little while later my dad came home from work and sat down on the couch behind me and began reading the newspaper. Truth be told, I think he was really watching the cartoons.
So we were sitting there watching Deputy Droopy, Bugs Bunny or maybe even the Mickey Mouse Club, when out of the blue my dad asked me what I was chewing on. I turned around and showed him the wallet with a few chew marks on one of the corners. He asked me for it and I handed it to him. He proceeded to look it over, got a very concerned look on his face and then looked down at me. “How long have you been chewing on this?” he asked. I told him I didn’t know, hell the concept of time was meaningless to me then.” I asked him why. “Well, do you know what this wallet is made of? I shook my head no. “It’s made of genuine cowhide,” he said matter of factly and pointed to something imprinted on the inside of the wallet. I got up and went over to have a closer look. It said something for sure, for all I know it could have said “made in Japan”, hell I couldn’t read!
My dad sat there quietly staring at the wallet, looking very concerned and that worried me alot. “What’s the matter?” I finally asked. He looked over at me. “Nothing’s wrong,” he answered, “but turn around just in case. I didn’t hesitate or ask why I just turned around so my back side was facing him. He moved me closer to him and pullled on the waistband of my shorts. ” I don’t see anything,” he said gravely. The whole time I was looking back over my shoulder straining to see what he was looking at. “What are you looking for Dad?” I asked nervously, Tell me! please!”
With that my dad turned me around, looked at me and said, “I told you this thing is made of genuine cowhide and you’ve been chewing on it for quite a little while right?” I nodded my head. “The thing is you probably swallowed some little particles of cow leather while you were chewing and -,” he hesitated as if looking for just the right words.
By this time I was so afraid of what he was going to tell me, but I had to know. “Tell me Dad! Please, Tell me!” I begged excitedly. He looked at me and said, “Now don’t let this scare you, but there’s a good chance you ate enough cowhide that you might grow a tail!”
“AHHHHHH!” I ran crying from th room, grabbing at my behind, searching frantically for my tail! “It probably won’t show for awhile,” my dad shouted, “it usually takes a few days, but don’t worry, the doctors can cut it off!” I was in shock! Did he say doctors and Cut it Off in the same sentence? I ran to my room and cried even harder.
I can only imagine the good laugh my parents were having at my expense. For days I ran around the house with my hand plastered to my tailbone waiting for the first signs of my tail. I was so afraid. It was awful! I prayed to God every night to please not let me grow a tail. I could only imagine the horror of being the only boy on earth to have a tail! My dad told me I could learn to swat flies with it the way cows do! Can you imagine the humiliation and embarrassment of life with a tail? But how could I hide it?
Well, after a few days my parents finally let me off the hook and I felt really dumb for having believed it. I just couldn’t understand how they could do that to their own kid! How they could toy with me that way. But then I grew up and had kids of my own and realized just how much fun it is to “play with your kids.”