I was commenting on a blog post last week and related a tale of my childhood fear of the toilet.
Yes, the toilet.
See, I was afraid to use the bathroom in the dark because of the alligator. I was convinced that a horrible alligator lived in the sewer underneath my Grandparents’ house (no, there wasn’t actually one there) and that if I used the toilet in the dark, the alligator would somehow know I was there, come swimming up from the depths of the sewers, and snap my naked little butt off.
I have no idea why I thought that. It’s probably because of some ridiculous story one of my uncles cooked up to scare me. That’s my best guess.
And then I got to thinking…alligators popped up in more than one of my childhood nightmares.
First, there was the one where I was sleeping in my crib and I heard big sloshy footsteps coming up the steps in our apartment, through the living room, and into my bedroom. As I looked out through the slats on the crib, a big old alligator looked at me and said “I’m just going to bite you a little bit right here in the neck.”
Yeah, that woke me right the hell up. Pretty sure I never slept with the lights off again.
I also had a strange recurring dream as a child. My Grandfather (dressed like a newspaper reporter in a 1940s movie) and I were walking outside of my elementary school building when suddenly we heard large stomping feet approaching. Everyone in the immediate area screamed and ran for cover; my Grandfather and I ducked behind a bush in the front of the school. We all cowered there, watching the sky just over the houses on the other side of the parking lot across the street from the school…and then he appeared.
The Tin Man. (You thought alligator, didn’t you? Nope, not this time.)
The Tin Man approached, stopped, and his funnel hat popped off. Out of his head came a yellow slide, much like the slides in the game Chutes and Ladders. Down the slide came every person I ever knew and we all stood up and talked and hung out for a while.
End of dream.
However, I know that there was also an alligator in that dream. In some versions, he was just bopping around the parking lot hanging out with everyone. In others, he was sort of there waiting for the Tin Man to arrive – kind of like a sidekick.
So…toilet lurking, neck biting, and Tin-Man sidekicking alligators clearly had some significance in my childhood fears. I have no idea why.
And today? I think alligators are awesome. These guys are much less menacing.
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