Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some Things Affect Your Whole Life

The year was 1982. Ronald Reagan (the actor?!) was president. Some of the world was at war. There would be a recession. But I was four years old. I didn't care about such things. My life at the time was mostly spent in a small home in Southern California and consisted of learning how to read, watching The Price Is Right (I discovered how to cross my eyes while watching Bob Barker), going swimming or to the beach, and playing with my toy kitchen on the back porch. I was also in love with Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

Throughout my childhood my family would take trips every summer (or more often) to visit my grandparents who were alive in the 80s. On one such trip, we were visiting my grandmother and ended up going to see a movie in the new movie theater that had recently opened on the outskirts of the town where she lived. The movie was E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Do you remember the first time you saw E.T.? E.T. phone home? Reese's Pieces? The movie that portrays a child who was somehow intoxicated by an alien drinking a beer? (Weird.)

Well, I do. I don't remember most of the movie, but I do remember being a little freaked out by E.T. And then during the part when everyone's wearing those space suits and they're all in that clean environment and not looking very human-like? That just totally did it for me. I decided that I couldn't handle all of the scariness of the movie. So I cried. I was four years old, after all. I remember having to sit on my mom's lap, and being a little embarrassed by it because my younger sister, Cash, didn't appear to be bothered by it at all. But me? I was weeping like a child. I was a child. My family adopted this saying "E.T. died, and Cardine cried," only replace "Cardine" with my more common name. I didn't mention this often when it was brought up, but I wasn't crying because E.T. was dying. I was crying because it was so freaky!

Now years later, I can look back on this experience and see what I learned:

1. Puppets are scary, even the animatronics ones. E.T. was no exception. I have always thought they were scary. I used to have these nightmares that the puppets from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood were coming to kill me. The popularity of the Chucky movies in the 80s did not help this attitude of mine at all, and I could write a whole post about how I think subjecting children to the Chucky movies is child abuse, but I shall not diverge any longer on that topic. Puppets are scary! And if you're out there and you think you have a talent as a puppeteer, put that puppet away! You're terrible at it, and it's totally freaky! Stop scaring the children!

2. Reese's Pieces are really good. If people make cookies and put Reese's Pieces in them, I can eat the whole batch. Seriously tasty, those Reese's Pieces.

3. I now live less than a mile away from the very theater where I cried during the viewing of E.T. Little did my four-year-old self know, I would end up in the future living and working within walking distance from the location of my earliest memories of puppet-induced trauma. I guess you never know where you'll end up and what paths will be crossed and re-crossed in the future!


Ruth said...

I do remember when I first saw E.T. We were living in West Valley City and we saw it at the mall. Reese's Pieces are yummy! Happy New Year!

Mellissa said...

Hmmm...I don't remember the first time I saw E.T., but I'm sure I didn't cry. Having three older brothers will do that to a person. And Reese's Pieces are okay, but there's not enough chocolate in them for me to eat a whole batch of cookies with them in it. Now M&Ms on the other hand... :)

julie said...

I don't remember the first time I saw ET, but I do like the show, except for the part with all the scientist and stuff. Freaky!

I like Reese's Pieces but prefer the pb cups because there is more chocolate. Mmmm.

Happy New Year, Cardine! I hope to see you soon!!

Anonymous said...

So funny! Great post, Cardine.

I remember my brother couldn't open his closet for a long time, but I don't remember my own first impressions of the movie.

Dana Cheryl said...

Yes, I do remember the first time I saw ET. It inspired within me a love of Reeses Pieces which remains to this day. Just bought some last week.

Oddly enough ET is just about the only alien that didn't scare me. I still have a serious alien phobia which stems from the TV mini-series V also a product of the 80's as well as the War of the Worlds series. As a little girl I was really, seriously afraid of helicopters especially if they were black.

Sorry that you've had to face a life of puppet induced fear. I, myself, struggle with clowns and for many years Santa Claus. Sad I know. My folks did eventually have to break down and confirm my belief that Santa wasn't real because he freaked me out so much and the thought of this guy coming down the chimney was horrifying.

Oh and Mary Poppins. I was SO afraid of Mary Poppins. I was convinced that with her big black umbrella and her long black coat that she was actually a witch. Also I just knew the "medicine" that she had to force them to take with a "spoonful of sugar" was actually a wicked potion and that they'd end up like Hansel and Gretel.

I think that maybe I have trust issues. :)

tearese said...

this thing has lost my comment three times. Poo.
I just want to say, I used that Ronald Reagan reference in a phone call just today.

Cardine said...

Dana - I was scared of the mini-series "V," too, only it kind of turned into an odd obsession. It scared me, but I wanted to watch it. And then they canceled it or whatever, and I lost my freaky attraction to it.

The only part of Mary Poppins that consistently scared me was when her umbrella thing moved and stuff. Scary.

Yeah, clowns are scary. It's pretty much a fact. Sorry about the Santa fear, though.

Cardine said...

Tearese - I hate your computer or internet, whichever one is causing these problems!

Dana Cheryl said...

I shared that obsession. I was scared of it but I really wanted to watch it and I did. I remember being absolutely horrified at the "Lizard baby".

Although I recently watched both V mini-series and the TV series via Netflix and I didn't have quite the same reaction to it. However, the original mini-series concept was still really, really good. The second mini-series and the TV series got progressively worse.