Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Life Lesson #1: Smurfs are Evil!

One of my earliest childhood memories was at Hanna Barbara Land. I have no idea how old I was at the time. I don't recall any sound. This is one of few memories I have without it, which leads me to believe the memory is before '85.

I remember the rainbow as we entered the gate and children everywhere, smiling. My mother had given us the okay to watch the Smurfs perform live. This was a BIG deal! 

You see... our church proclaimed that the Smurfs were little devils, and they were evil. We were forbidden to watch them at home and had to sneak episodes in the basements of friends. 

Today was special. We were on holiday and today we would watch the Smurfs perform live!

I sat knock-kneed on a cold bleacher in the hot humid air. The Smurfs took stage-much larger than I had expected. 

I don't remember the performance, but I remember the balls of lint on their arms. I had similar balls of lint on my sweaters at home. This baffled me. 

How did their skin have lint balls? Did they wear blue sweaters in the heat? Odd creatures:  Smurfs.

The performance ended and the Smurfs made their way into the croud. They greeted parents and patted the heads of children like politicians. I wasn't interested in meeting any of them. Actually, they creeped me out a little. 

My interest:  ice cream. After the performance my mother made good on her promise to treat us to Smurf ice cream. I could hardly wait!

The concoction that the worker scooped out was blue and sparkled in the sun. I imagined that the ice cream had magical powers, like berry juice on the Gummy Bears! It would empower me to leap across high buildings and halt evil doers with a single bounce! Perhaps it would change my size like in Alice in Wonderland. Would I be small like the Smurfs on TV or huge like the ones that lived in Hanna Barbara Land? Or, maybe... just maybe... it would turn my tongue blue! That would STILL be amazing!

I remember that first scoop of ice cream as it hit my mouth. Blueberries. The best, most amazing blueberries you could ever imagine. 

More! Faster! 
BRAINFREEZE!
Damn, brainfreeze. 
Perhaps a little too fast? 

I squeezed my head with my right hand trying to stop the pain. Squinting through my eye lid with my left eye, I examined my left hand as my spoon dangled out of my lips. 
Was it larger? No. 
Smaller? No. 
My eye caught the corner of the metal side of the ice cream cart. I could catch my reflection.

I darted over to the cart without a care in the world. My heart felt like it was in the Indy 500 as it raced with excitement and anticipation. Catching my reflection on the corner of the cart I stuck my tongue out and squinted to examine what was in front of me. 

Blue! My tongue was blue. SCORE! Suddenly the brainfreeze no longer mattered.

I paced myself to finish my ice cream. I managed to stick my tongue out at each and every person who walked past. Finally, the last bite. I savored it. 

My eye caught the bottom of the bowl. There were words. I recognized the letters; however, I was still too young to read. I could feel my heart rev up again with excitement. 

Did I win a prize? I must have! I won a prize! What could it possibly be? The checkered flag was waving.

Mom. I needed Mom. Mom can read and she will tell me exactly what I've won. Quickly I put one foot in front of the other, darted towards my mother, and pushed every obstacle out of my way. I cornered like a dream and was first to the finish line.

"Mom. I won! What did I win? What's my prize?" I jumped up and down waving the bowl and spoon in front of my mother's face. Splatters of blue were flying everywhere.

Mom grabbed my arm, and the bowl along with it. She read the manuscript diligently.

Her face. I knew that face. I had seen it before and it wasn't a positive thing:  eyes big with a look of concern, lips puckered trying to form the right words, eyebrows close together creating that bubble you get when deep in thought, and she had her head cocked to the left anticipating my reaction. Right was empathetic. Left was judgement. Hers was left.

Mom put her hand on her hip and pushed the bowl into my face. She was moving it in front of me as if to show me the words. I watched her lips and the world froze in time. What was she going to say to me? I was ready to read their motion. 

"Sarah, you didn't win a prize, see." She waved more. 

This is the first memory I have of feeling patronized. If I could read you wouldn't have the bowl in the first place, now would you? 

"It's not a prize." She scoffed. "It's a warning. For parents." The dramatic pause.
"It says to not be alarmed when it turns your pee and poop blue."

Oh my ___. My chest. I can't breathe. I can't even read yet and I'm having my first panic attack. Who does that? What type of people, things, do that to you? Lure me in with ice cream and promises of magical things and than this? No control. It's too late. I already am deathly afraid of going to the bathroom. I'd not pee for three days if I had anything to say about it. But to turn my pee and poop blue? Sadistic!

I could see my little sister laughing in the corner of my eye. I shot her a look that would kill, and she stopped. Oh, yah. I could do that already. These green eyes can turn into a monster like that. *snap. Stupid baby.

Mom always moved past things quickly. She was ready to hit the next area of the park yesterday, and I was still trying to understand what had just happened. Mom snatched my wrist and pulled me out of the arena. As she dragged me away my head was turned back. My eyes glarred at Papa Smurf with the death gaze. I know he felt me. I never would watch the Smurfs again.

That was the point in my life that I knew for certain that Smurfs were evil. The church was right. 

As I've grown older and lived my life I still encounter a Smurf now and then. The only difference is that they don't always wear the blue sweater, but they are out there...