Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dune, Toilets, & Summoning Aliens

Have you ever been reading a book but somehow you feel like you missed a page, or there was something the author forgot to tell you? I just got off the phone with my younger sister and she shared with me an incident from our youth, that at the time made no sense to me. Now I get it and to be honest, feel a little bad about. It illustrates a couple of points, the least of which is how very weird my family is. My sister is not going to thank me for telling this story, but in my defense anything you tell a writer is fair game, that’s just the way it is. Love ya, kiddo.

Like most of my stories you need a little background material. My life story has footnotes. If I tried to tell the story without the footnotes, we’d never get to the punch line. Okay, my mother’s favorite book in the entire world, galaxy, and universe is Frank Herbert’s Dune. If you haven’t heard of it or seen the movie, don’t bother because it’s too late for you (or consider yourself spared). I’ve been reading and re-reading this book since my early teens and I still can’t fathom half of what it’s about. Second, my sister is eight years younger than me, so there were a lot of things that I was reading and watching that she probably got exposed to a little too soon. We like to warp young minds in my family - call it a hobby.

As a kid, Annie had this inexplicable fear of aliens. Many was the night that she stumbled into my room afraid that the aliens were going to get her. And I let her sleep with me, even though she kicked the crap out of me and I ended up in the floor. I let her sleep with me because I remembered being scared of stuff, and, as big and bad as I tried to be, there was stuff that still scared me – like zombies, but that’s another story. Anyway, Annie also had another issue. She didn’t like to flush the toilet (this is the part where she starts hating me). Many was the morning that the teenage Mrs. Fox would trudge out of bed only to find "unpleasantness in the facilities" (there, I tried to soften the blow). Like any good older sister I’d scream at her and call her names, but I never thought to ask why.

Today I learned why. See in the movie version of Dune (which was watched religiously in our home) they use these devices called thumpers to draw the giant, man-eating sandworms away from wherever the hero or his comrades were (I know I’ve lost a lot of you, but I swear that’s a pretty good layman’s description). Somehow, because of this, my poor little sister got it in her head that there was a specific sequence of noises that would summon the aliens. And of course, the loudest thing in our house was the toilet. So, poor little sis was afraid that if she flushed the toilet the aliens would come and get her.

I know! I feel like such a jerk for yelling at her!

So there, in addition to compounding her childhood fears I’ve published them for the world to see. Aren’t I the best? You know what’s worse? My mom’s gonna be mad that that’s all she got out of Dune.

If you've survived this far through my story, let me say thanks to all you beautiful people who responded to my last post. Thank you for your support and kind words and understanding and all-around divinity. You are jewels without price.


Sherry said...

Oh not fair! I am quite sure I told both my lovely daughters that not taking the time to read all 6 books in the Dune series before watching the movie would lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
You should be thankful that your Granny Pat put her foot down when I decided it would be a good idea to put my nonconformity plan into action. I never did like excepting things at face value. Just who decided a table was a table. It was my plan to see what would happen it I decided to teach my dragonettes that a table was a sock and a chair a toad. I think it might have been interesting when on the first day of school you told your teachers that you didn't have a toad to sleep (sit) on. She was not so good at talking me into heating baby bottles unfortunately. Do you know how much time it takes to cook and then chill mashed potatoes, peas, and ham. Take my word for it warm the baby bottles in the long run that bit of conformity is worth the effort.
So you see you are not nearly as warped as you might have been.

Love your Ama

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

Oh dear - I'm sure your sister is very glad you have not included her surname here!! :-)

Little darlin'

Casdok said...

Ive never read the book or seen the film. Am intrigued now!
Hopefully your sister wont be too mad with you!!

the mother of this lot said...

One sister scared and the other one shouting at her?
That NEVER happens in this house!

And I think Mr. Fox was very cruel regarding desktop wallpaper.
(I did smirk though). Just a little.

Anna Lea said...

Holy crap angie, (no no pun intended, ok well sorta a little) I thought it was funny when I told you and the rest of the family, but i almost peed my pants! I can distinctly remember nights when I would debate if I had made enough noise for the aliens to come or not, and weighing the possiblity of the aliens coming to get me, or you getting up and being even more mad at me for not flushing. There were a few nights, (probably post wet-barbie-in-the-bed mornings) where I would poise myself to "flush-n-run" because the thought of wet barbies in the bed, AND a "Why Can't You Flush" lecture all in the same day was worse than the aliens coming to get me. Man! Some movies just shouldn't be shown to small children.

Oh yea, and if I remember correctly you were the one who fought with mom about having a right and left sock now weren't you? :)

Maggie May said...

Poor little sister! Reminds me of when I was about 10 & after seeing the film Count Dracula could only get to sleep with a cross which I held against my throat to stop the vampires from sticking their teeth into my neck! This was supposed to be the antidote! We had no garlic in those days!

Linda said...

I remember reading Dune when it came out and being mildly impressed. I hated the movie. My daughter was afraid of the toilet for a long time but she sure didn't mind dumping expensive medications or other objects in it.

Jennie said...

I used to be scared of the sound of the toilet for no reason at all. (Obviously I was very young). And then I convinced myself aliens had implanted a chip behind my ear. Not so young that time I'm afraid, possibly about ten years ago :O
Hopefully your sister won't feel so bad now ;)

the mother of this lot said...

Hope you're OK kiddo. Thinking of you.

Liz said...

Too funny. Dad did a similar thing to Rebecca involving 'swinging tree top men' but that's another story for another time.