Remember when this was a BIG deal as a kid? Or at least it was for me and my cousins. Knowing that a Friday the 13th was coming up, there was serious planning going on in our little slice of the world. There always had to be an outdoor “sleepover” in a tent in the backyard that involved scary ghost stories, staying up all night and inventing stories to make your skin crawl and the youngest among us cry (and maybe pee) then go inside to Mommy. Which meant stockpiling snacks,soda, flash lights, baseball bats (hey- had to make sure we weren’t defenseless against zombie hordes, serial killers and child molesters) and the other myriad of things that pre-teens needed to get through the night on their own in the scary out of doors.
I can still smell the pungent odor of “something wild” that only multiple kids in close quarters can create, coupled with the burning odor from the campfire and if we were lucky, S’mores. (This is something that I would never let my 8-12 year old kids do on their own. Fire? HA! Sometimes I wonder if it was just a different time, or if our parents actually loved us.) I always had a pretty good talent for scaring the ever living shit out of ALL of us with my stories – back then I was obsessed with the old movie monsters. Frankenstien, The Mummy, Dracula and my favorite (who knew, right?) The Wolf Man. He shredded so many unsuspecting village children in my stories, it would shame him. And oh man! Do I feel sorry for the younger kids once I discovered Freddy Krueger. The game was ON, and the ante was up! My poor younger sister and our younger cousins were terribly abused back then. I had this glove that I kept hidden. I had jammed some nails through each of the finger tips and would walk by the trailer scraping the nails along the siding to petrify them after they had been particularly annoying. Could be why she isn’t that well balanced as an adult, come to think of it. I should probably apologize for that…Hmm, no- I am going to blame my parents. I mean, why in the HELL would you let kids watch that? Anyway, moving on…
Today these memories are very funny, because I can’t stomach horror movies. AT ALL. Especially if they have damned zombies in them. EEK!
Never one to suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, even as an adult I have always rather enjoyed Friday the 13ths- and on occasion have had some good, but odd luck happen. The year that I turned 16 (think was in April 1990), I had an unfortunate accident at a grocery store. I had been leaning too heavily on a sink while waiting for my friend. The sink broke and exploded. Ceramic shrapnel caught my arm and resulted in 31 stitches. Being an idiot at 15 and worried that I would get in trouble, my friend and I wrapped my gushing arm up in toilet paper and tried to walk the mile or so back to her house. Luckily for me, a pregnant lady in the store saw the trail of blood from the bathroom and literally grabbed me and sat on me until the paramedics came. By the time they got there to bandage up my arm and send me with my extremely livid parents to the emergency room I had lost a lot of blood.
Even though I almost bled out, I learned a couple of important things: The reason that women are so attracted to firemen must have something to do with a combination of the “Hero Complex”, lack of blood and- I won’t lie- muscles. Getting scooped up like you weigh nothing and carried across a parking lot to a fire truck can make your heart beat a quick little pitty-pat in your chest. And two- “faulty sinks” are a bit of a hazard and insurance claims can be a nice thing. I was able to have my first vehicle paid for thanks to the bloodletting on Friday the 13th. I wish I could say that the check came before my 16th birthday on another Friday the 13th- but that would not be true.
On another Friday the 13th I found a $20 bill stuck to some gum on the front tire of my car. At the time Jim and I were dead broke and that bought us enough Ramen noodles to survive until payday.
I guess you can call me an optimist that these silly memories make me eager to face the day every Friday the 13th, but I would rather look for the fun and silly than to focus on gloom, doom and worry.