my mind is a carnival; the carny is my brain.

i'm really starting to realize what a bizarre childhood i had. the longer i spend talking to the people on the psych unit, the more i realize that it was totally abnormal. the fact that i thought it was normal, at three years old, to go to work with my dad everyday and basically just inhale chemicals until it was time to go home. (this is one of the reasons i was happy to start high school. i got to smell formaldehyde in bio lab.) or the austerity i handled life with. people were amused because i was saying things like, i can't smile right now, life is serious business. and i meant it. but i've been having flashbacks of this video i used to watch religiously, along with sesame street and barney. i decided to look it up, slowly piecing the fragmented shards of my memory together. i finally fucking remember it.

it was a mr. know it owl video. he's actually a brilliant but completely under-appreciated bird with this firefly named phineas. i loved it when i was a kid. i thought it was the best experience i could have within a half-hour. the weird thing is that i don't actually remember what he was teaching. i can only remember a scene from the video where these children are playing and they find a dead bird. they stand around for a bit, get a rock and write something on it, and then they bury it. there's a weird sort of emotional undercurrent at this point in the video but they get over it. suddenly they're playing again. and then i think it's back to mr. know it owl. i'm not really sure how this fit into this video or why it was there or why someone thought oh hey, this would be a good thing to insert right about now, some kids burying a dead bird. it was actually a really touching scene but it totally messed me up.

i think about a month or two after i first watched it, i was in the backseat while my dad was driving down the street. pigeons are always hanging out in the road. it was nothing new. i had always seen them. they sat there. cars came. they flew away. the cars passed. they came back. but for some reason, while coming home from school one day, i was suddenly gripped with the fear that maybe one of the birds couldn't fly away. then what? would i have to get out of the car and bury it? would i need to find a stone and chalk to write here lies a bird that is dead like the children did in the video? would my father even stop so i could bury it or would its corpse lie in the street indefinitely? so i yelled stop at the top of my lungs, my dad steps on the brakes because he thinks something terrible is going on, and then i tell him he can't run over the bird. 

he was so pissed. i can't even explain. (we could have gotten into an accident, the way he stopped the car. so it's understandable.)

i don't know why i was watching this. the scene is actually from the book the dead bird by margaret wise brown. maybe it's the reason i had an odd preoccupation with cemeteries, death, and corpses while i was growing up. or maybe all the cemeteries, death, and corpses i encountered were the reason i understood the video so well. or maybe i was simply touched by the children's care for the dead bird. i don't know. 

this is just a snippet of the kind of thing that goes through my head. i could sit and process this for hours before coming to a conclusion that i accept. and that in itself is definitely not normal. it's not just my childhood that was bizarre, it's my entire life thus far. but i can only say childhood because i'm not old enough to reference anything more than that. don't even get me started on beat the clock with guy smiley and cookie monster.

all of this being said, i need to find this VHS and watch it. weird or not, it's a great scene.



Faye said...

The interesting thing I've learned since getting into funeral service is that most people who go into the business had encounters with death that were "abnormal" or repressed when they were children, because they were under the opinion that its "weird" to think these things.

But honestly, it's not us that's abnormal, it's just that usually people go to such lengths to conceal mortality from children, so it seems shocking when a child goes to such lengths to acknowledge something or someone will die.

I mean, you're still totally weird, but all of the best people are. :D

Ashley Nichole said...

Don't lose your speech! I have faith in you!

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