Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ax Murderers and the SWAT Team: Isn't Childhood Fun?

You know when I said nothing interesting happens around here? I forgot to mention the attempted murder.

Yep, attempted murder. A student woke up Saturday morning to find a man standing over her with a butcher knife.* Her roommates, the observant people that they are, assumed that the screams heard coming from the girl's room were a result of a horror movie. The man, an employee with the university food service, was arrested and later confessed to the murder of man in West Chester a few days earlier.

This, coupled with the strange stories of random people ending up in random rooms on campus, does little to make me feel safe. In fact, it brings back some disturbing memories.

My father was a police officer for a good portion of my life. Early on, I was aware that his job put him at great physical risk. I also knew that, because of his job, our family was listed under my mother's maiden name in the phone booth. With the implacable logic of childhood, I figured the reason for this subterfuge was that I, personally, was in danger.

I don't know when it first started, but at some point, I began taking precautions against the ax murderers that had it in for me. I always slept on my side, figuring that such a position presented a smaller target. My stuffed animals were carefully arranged on my bed in hopes that their lumpiness would distract an inept psychopath in the dark. Finally, I never, ever slept with my back to the door. If I was going to be chopped into little bits, by G-d, I was going to see it coming.

Sometimes, however, all the precautions in the world couldn't allay my fears. At that point, I would gather up my blankets and shuffle into my parents' room. Did I feel safer in the presence of my mother and father? Sure, but the instinct to prevent my own death by hacking was still quite strong. I would set up camp on my father's side of the bed, secure in the knowledge that I was close to the family protector and as far from the door as possible. If a serial killer were to tramp up the stairs, I would be the last person in his path. He would have to contend with the rest of my family first. And while the carnage was taking place, I could simply roll under my parents' bed (Yes, I fit-- one of the first things I checked).

Based on my memories, I can conclude that most of my fears didn't focus on malevolent, but imaginary, monsters (although there was that vampire skeleton on the other side of my bed, but that's another story entirely). My monsters were quite real. I'm happy to say that I have grown out of this fear, but the vestiges still remain. I only recently began sleeping on my stomach and facing away from the door. Also, the first thing I'm going to do upon moving into my own place is get a very large dog, preferably a drop-out from the K-9 program. Better safe than sorry.

I recently wondered aloud to my brother about whether other people had such strong and realistic fears in their childhoods. To my surprise, he shrugged.

"I used to think that the SWAT team was hiding in my closet."

"SWAT team? In your closet?"

"Why do you think I put all my weights in front of my closet door?"

Well, then.

Ewww, even writing this little entry is giving me the willies. Looks like before I sleep, I'll be locking the door several times and peering out of my window to the two-story drop below to make sure no one is out there. Just in case.

Better safe than sorry.


*She received only minor stab wounds, in case you were wondering.


  1. Only started checking blogs again. I told you about my inate fear of ax murderers. This came from my living in the woods. This is the setting for many a horror movie. So if anyone was going to be killed it was me. There was a sliding glass door outside my bedroom door that i would have to lock. And i always faced the wall. I did this for two reasons. The door to my room was at the foot of the bed on the same wall that my bed was against. There was a door to the bathroom on the other side. But for anyone to be at that door they would have had to first go through my parents room then through the bath room. Also i had a fear of aliens. And i had watched a show that said that they could walk through walls. I figured that if i was facing my wall i could run away before they came all the way though. But that presented a problem when i wanted to go the the bathroom in the middle of the night. Because they wouldnt have to go through my parents room before they got to the bathroom. I would have to listen at the door first and make sure that there was no aliens rummaging through our bathroom cabinets before i could enter the bathroom. I also had a plan for when the ax murderers came. Because in horror movies the girl always runs off through the woods, trips over something and the slow walking ax murderer catches up and kills her. I made the plan to get out side but to hide in the bushes right ourside the house. They are very big and dense. So any ax murderer who was coming for me would instinctively take off into the woods when he exited the house while i was already hiding in the bushes. This doesnt even include the short period of time when i was afraid that there were deadly ninjas living under my bed. But that one was easy dispelled by checking under my bed to make sure nothing was there. Ax murderers and aliens though, you never know when they will show up.

  2. Jen, this story made me giggle. I'm so glad that I didn't know you when I was a kid, or I would have been up worrying about aliens as well.