Sunday, 23 March 2008

Childhood Fears

Apropos of nothing in particular... when I was little I used to be terrified of these imaginary monsters. They were egg shaped, and could shape change. One had a purple bump on its butt. They didn't have mouths but could eat people by sliding over them and absorbing them. Acid secreting maybe? Anyway. Terrified, I tell you.

I decided to have a bath last night, and idly picked up a book my daughter had left lying around while it was running. I may have mentioned my compulsive reading habit? They have all inherited it and there is barely a surface in the house that isn't littered with books. They make me proud.

The book was Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, by Roald Dahl. I love Dahl, the man is a genius. I read loads of his stuff as a kid, and have bought several for the girls now. I don't remember this book, although I know I have read it, and I enjoy flicking through. Dahl's wordplay is hilarious, his situations macabre and fascinating, and I enjoy reading about Grandma Georgina and Mr Wonka and the bed in space.

You cannot imagine my horror when I turned a page and there, right in front of me, were my monsters! Vermicious Knids! My knees went weak. My stomach churned. A flash of adrenaline left me shaking. I read in dread about these terrible creatures forming letter shapes with their bodies to communicate, then attacking and consuming the humans and going after the Elevator and Ship...

And I realise that I spent half my childhood paralysed with fear by the sick imaginings of an old man. Thanks a lot, Mr Dahl.

I tell you, the man is a genius!!

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