For those new to the blog, The Think Tank is a weekly feature that allows us to gather as a group and really get the Deep Thoughts working. After a week of silliness, this is the time that we put on our Deep Thinking Togas and really earn our Philosophy degrees.
I don’t know how the weather has been where you are, but Maine has been under attack from the rain gods all week. Governor LePage has ordered that all residents wear a life jacket when they leave the house, and lifeguards are on duty at most major intersections.
It has been a dark and stormy week, with thunderstorms expected this evening. The night has a very creepy, dank feel to it, so I thought I’d build a campfire for us to gather around for our meeting.
Since this is Memorial Day Weekend, this week’s topic should focus on memories. As long as it’s dark and stormy and we’ve got the campfire going, I thought we’d put a Modern Philosopher’s spin on it and talk about frightening memories.
This week’s topic: What scary childhood memory still haunts you and makes you lose sleep at night?
The wet weather has reminded me that I’m still not a very good swimmer, and that my fear of water is one of my strongest phobias. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with that time I almost drowned as a child…
I was probably about eight. It was Summer, and we’d gone camping up in Lake George, which was in upstate New York. It was a very hot day, and it was decided that a great way too cool off would be to go into town and spend the day at the water slide.
I mustn’t have been very scared of water at that point because I remember being very gung ho about going down the slide and being able to do it by myself. As I climbed the stairs to the top, I watched the other patrons slipping and sliding their way down. Everyone was having fun and it all looked perfectly safe. I couldn’t wait to take my turn.
When I got to the top, I noticed that the kids ahead of me went down the slide headfirst. Silly me figured I could do that, too. So, I threw down my mat, dove onto it headfirst, and down the slide I went.
There were no radar readings along the way, but I’m sure I was going upwards of 100mph (remember, I was 8 and already had a wild imagination). Since I can barely swim now, I’m certain my swimming skills were much worse at that young age. What was I thinking going down headfirst? Where was my adult supervision? What plan did I have for when I reached the pool at the bottom of the slide?
I hit the pool, immediately lost the grip on my mat, and went under water. There were so many kids standing around in the pool, and they all seemed to be right around me, impeding my path to the surface. I can still remember clawing for my mat, but not being able to find it. Bodies bumped against me and the force sent me back towards the bottom of the pool. I hadn’t thought to take a deep breath when I hit the water, and now my lungs were burning and in need of oxygen. I reached again and again for a mat that wasn’t there.
I’d never been so terrified in my young life. Legs bumped against me. I tried to scream, but no one could hear my pleads for help from the depths.
Somehow, I exploded to the surface. I ran the hell out of the pool and over to the lockers where we’d left our towels and clothes. I didn’t go near the slide, or even look over in its direction the rest of the time I was there.
All I kept thinking about was being underwater, with no clear path to the surface, and thinking I was never going to take another breath.
That was the end of water slides for me and the beginning of my paralyzing fear of water. I still won’t go into a pool that’s deeper than I am tall. I’ll never go near a diving board, and it’s really got to be a special occasion to get me to go out in a boat.
What about you, Modern Philosophers? What scary childhood memory do you want to share? Remember, there are no wrong answers.
I look forward to reading all your comments. I might just have to wait until morning so that the nightmares don’t keep me up all night…