#1.) Fire Safety Week: five instructional days dedicated to teaching school children what to do should their house burst into flames or they begin to spontaneously combust. Many of America’s youth reflect on this week and recall activities such as:
- Mapping out fire escape routes in your home
- Deciding on a meeting place for your family once escaping the fiery place of residence
- Perfecting the ‘Stop, Drop & Roll’
All classic memories of this week in school. The week ended, we took our maps and plans and knowledge home to share with our families (along with the death sentence to our furry friends whom we were instructed to leave behind), and continued with our lives.
Except for me.
I, Miss OCD, did not get on and merrily continue with my life. I lived in deep fear day and night. Horrific scenes haunted my dreams as I lay, apparently not so safe in my twin sized bed. Images of becoming trapped in my second floor bedroom flooded my mind. I even once begged my parents for an escape rope ladder. (They declined this request. After a bit of research it turns out said ladder would have been a greater hazard to a child than a fire.)
Denied my one remaining hope for survival, I cowardly climbed into bed each night hugging my most beloved stuffed animal, Ernie tightly to my chest. “But don’t worry,” I thought to myself, “you can’t take him with you either: no toys!”
I was most distraught by this thought. I could eventually learn to cope with leaving my photos, blankets, pets, and all of my other possessions to set ablaze in the fire. Fine. You win fire safety marshals. But not Ernie. Ernie was pushing it too far.
It was at this point I began to desperately search for a loophole. The lovely men at the local fire department didn’t want children burning to death in their homes whilst searching for Mr. Potato Head amidst an array of a toy-covered floor. That made sense. But Ernie wasn’t cast off into a vast sea of toys, nor did such a pile exist in my mother’s household. Ernie slept with me each night; he couldn’t be that hard to find. Except, sometimes he did slide down and get wedged in between the mattress and the wall or other tricky hiding places.
I had to devise a method to quickly and easily locate my beloved friend should my house erupt in flames. Running out of options, it dawned on me. The only items that made it out of my room in such a catastrophe were myself and my pajamas. If Ernie was in my pajamas, I wouldn’t be breaking any rules. Just as your pajamas made it out safe and sound simply because you just so happened to have them on your person, Ernie would just so happen to make it out as well.
Thus one day my mother walked into my bedroom to the following site: me, crawling across the floor in my pajamas with Ernie stuffed down my bottoms, head sticking out above my waistband. (I had to practice. Duh.) She must have thought I was crazy, or clearly was already messed up in some weird, sexual manner. I like to hope she recalled the rope ladder incident months before and connected the dots before phoning a psychologist.
*This post inspired by Genesis Meranda