Monday, 26 May 2014

Kids of the 70's and 80's had weird death fears


Kids of the 70's and 80's had weird death fears
26 May 2014

I REALLY feared death as a child.

Now when I say I REALLY feared death as a child, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I fear death any less as an adult.  Because perhaps in some ways I fear it more. 

For one thing, my responsibilities have tripled, as opposed to when I was a child.  As in I’ve got three kids.  Having me offed would really have an impact on their lives.  Could shape who they become, and leave them feeling bereft for ages.  Having a mom when you’re growing up, is really important.  Though to be fair, I’m an adult, and having a mom when you’re an adult is equally important too.

Perhaps what has changed is my approach to death.

I firmly subscribe to the Woody Allen school of thought on death – “I’m not afraid of death.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens”.  His philosophy kind of works for me too.  Very much so.

So how has my approach to death changed now that I’m an adult?  Well, chances are – if you’re a child of the 70’s and 80’s you’ll have the same fears about death that I had.  In terms of how it would all go down.  How you’d sing your final swan song.  How your light would be dimmed.  Exactly how you’d snuff it.  How you’d fall of your perch.  How you’d kick the bucket.  In which way you’d……  You get the point right? 

And thus, having a ridiculous fondness for lists, I thought I’d compile one:

  • Quicksand:  For years and years I really feared quicksand.  Even though I live in the suburbs.  In South Africa.  With no quicksand in sight.  No recorded instances of quicksand.  No mention of quicksand deaths either.  And to be truthful, when I googled it, there have been no reported instances of “death by quicksand” - apart from baddies in Cowboy movies.  It quite simply can’t happen.  Death from exposure due to being stuck in quicksand on the other hand, does occasionally happen.  But not in the suburbs of South Africa.  And while we’re at it – I blame my dad for this one.  It’s all those Cowboy movies he was so mad about, that we’d occasionally watch with him.  In addition, Hollywood has really promulgated the phenomenon.  With cartoons and kiddie’s movies and shows promoting “death by quicksand” too.  And let’s not forget those old Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill movies.  It was a recurring theme in those.
  • Shark Attack:  I have banned my kids from watching “Jaws”.  Ever!  The movie “Jaws” ruined great expanses of water for me.  And I must confess, I’m not really discerning.  It killed the sea, rivers and dams.  Even the humble swimming pool.  And I’m 41.  Logically I know that the average Great White won’t fit into a little swimming pool.  Much less an inflatable one.  Still, I think of “Jaws” every single time I swim.  And I still won’t swim on my own.  Safety in numbers.  If I’m swimming in the pool with my husband, maybe the shark will go for him instead.  He’s bigger after all.  Sure to be more worthy of effort, if that shark is looking for a meal.  As I’ve said – logic doesn’t enter into it at all.  And furthermore, I’m not alone in this fear.  I’ve spoken to many of my friends and peers – lots of us feel the same.
  • Failing brakes:  This is the easiest, neatest, and most convenient way to off people in movies.  And let’s be honest – it happens alarmingly often.  A safe away to avoid this horrendous death is to avoid hills.  Downhill slopes.  And people with murderous tendencies, that have an unusual knowledge of the inner workings of cars.  Brakes in particular.
  • Rattlesnakes:  I can successfully and with 100% accuracy identify the sound a rattler makes.  Once again – those darn Westerns.  Why do I have this skill?  Of what use is it?  Once again, I have found a successful and fool proof way to avoid “death-by-rattlesnake”.  I stay in a suburb.  In South Africa.  Clearly this is working for me.
  • Earthquakes,Tsunamis, Twisters, Volcanoes, Avalanches:  To the best of my knowledge, I don’t live on an earthquake fault line.  Nor is there any geographical evidence of volcanic rock or material where I live.  So all safe on the volcano front too.  We don’t have falling snow or snow-capped mountains, so I manage to steer clear of avalanches.  We are not in a hurricane belt or twister hotspot.  And though I live in a coastal town, due to the fact that I’m not close to an earthquake fault line, I have yet to encounter a Tsunami.  Now I’m not saying it can’t happen.  But so far, so good.
  • Meteor Strikes:  If the movies are to be believed, meteor strikes only happen in America.  And to be truthful, as an overseas holiday destination, America is looking less and less attractive.  I mean seriously! 

I’m sure, that if I gave it some thought, I’d come up with a few more strange and bizarre death fears.  Like collapsing floors down into the ocean bottom – worthy of any good James Bond movie.  The odd electrocution.  Falling off very high buildings.  Death by lightsaber.  Tumbling into a snake pit (very Indiana Jones), etc.  But I prefer not to dwell.
And to even up the odds on me living a long and healthy life, and eventually dying of very old age in my sleep, I have a pretty solid plan in place.
       I’ll stick to my little suburb.  In South Africa.  Just saying.

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  1. Sigh!! When I was little, Oupa read us a newspaper clip of a boy who had died of a button spider in the Malmesbury area, I think it was..................
    Climbing into bed at night, was sheer hell!! Nothing about them living only in wheat fields helped me at all!!
    I totally understand your fears!!
    Only this evening on our walk, Rob and I were talking of puffies and rattlers, and how we would recognise that noise immediately...because of the movies.
    You are so brilliantly perceptive, and then can turn it in to a story!! Brilliant.!

  2. Flip, fear of being eaten vby a great white while swimming alone the pool.....that's me! Jip, also known to have worried about driftsand.......tried not to play outside my grandpa's house in Kammieskroon, just in case!

  3. Fear of the creepy crawly turning into Jaws...and yes..Quick sand!!

  4. I really enjoyed this blog!! So true! I must admit to fear a tidal wave at Kleinbaai. Mommy told us WAY before we heard about a Tsunami - how the sea draws back......... RUN AWAY AND UP THE HILL!! What if it happens at night when you sleeping????
    And I feared war......... and I can remember being grateful for no hurricanes and tornado's. Not to worried about earthquakes even though we experienced tremors in Somerset West that damaged the gable on our house.
    My kids were mortified every time it rained after hearing about Noah's Ark at school ... thanks A LOT!

    Apparently I was a real bang broek! What a waste! Could have been worrying about real things like not getting my pocket money! Not likely to kill me, although I never knew that!