Monday, September 26, 2011

The Weather Girls and Other Liars

It's just water.

When I was little, I had a pretty healthy fear of the dark and couldn't sleep without the bedroom door open and a nightlight on.  I was pretty embarrassed about the whole thing until my mom told me The Story of Daddy's Nightlight.

As the story (originally) went, my parents met at the playground when they were about three years old.  My dad was sitting on a swing Looking Sad, so my mother went over to him and asked him what was wrong.  He was scared of the dark, he told her,  but he couldn't leave the light on because his brothers would make fun of him.  So, my mother told my wide-eyed self, she went to the local pharmacy and bought my father a nightlight. He could put it on without his brothers being any the wiser, and my parents were best friends from that day on.

I was so ecstatic, so relieved.  My daddy, the strongest man in the world!, needed a nightlight when he was little.  All was well!

One problem.

Not butter.

 It was totally not true.  Not only did my father never need a nightlight, but my parents didn't even meet until high school.

But I believed that story for waaaaay too long.

Which could have also been fine.  Except that my mother also told me that she was 38 for about ten years in a row, while my dad continued to age.  So it made that first meeting look a little more suspicious on my dad's end.

I attributed "Twist and Shout" to Ferris Bueller for years.
Okay, so we know who history's big liars are: Hitler, pretty much all modern US presidents except Jimmy Carter, Tiger Woods, Bernie Madoff, the FOX news network, James Frey, a whole bunch of journalists, Pinocchio.  I'm not saying that my mother is one of them, but I am saying that I was a pretty naive kid and that maybe she should have been a little more careful.

Along with the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and my father's nightlight, I also believed that the 4th of July fireworks were for my brother's birthday and that the restaurant down the street burned down because A Little Boy Was Playing with Matches.

Of course the girl didn't get caught.

FACT: There was a restaurant down the road from my house.

FACT: When I was about five years old, there was an extensive fire starting in the kitchen and the damage was thorough enough that the owners knocked down the building and started new.

FACT: My mother told me that the fire started because a little boy was playing with matches.

FACT: I believed her.  Completely.

FACT: Fifteen years later, when I was in college, I was showing my roommate around my  home town and pointed to the restaurant, and said, "Hey, that's the place that burned down a couple of years ago because a little boy was playing with matches."

I will never be cool.

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