Nightmare-Inducing Candle Carousel!

Despite my happy childhood, I am not without my childhood traumas. Since my upbringing itself was relatively uneventful, I used my active imagination to create dangers and drama where none existed. They ran the gamut from the obvious character-building traumas (i.e my parents never let us buy a pony and keep him in our suburban garage, due to some wild injustice they called "zoning laws") to things known only to myself. I reveal some of them them here for the first time.

Some are shared by many—circus clowns, of course, which soon morphed into clown dolls and from there to Evil Clown Dolls That Strangle You In Your Sleep. I also had an intense dislike of Raggedy Ann and Andy (the only difference between the two was Andy apparently wore a kicky sailor hat). I did not like Raggedy Ann because I was given a book of her stories and the illustrations had these dolls walking around interacting with real things (animals and whatnot) in a manner I found most unnatural and spooky. (My concerns proved to be well-founded when I got older and read of that famous evil ghost-hunting husband and wife team who had a demon-possessed Raggedy Ann who apparently tried to strangle her owners in their sleep. You see? They are Evil, I tell you! Eeeeeeevil!)

Lots of food traumas. Oatmeal, which is just too disgusting to even contemplate. Anything soggy or mushy, for that matter. Like soaked bread. Ugh! My husband says this is due to my being anosmic (more on this later), and my anosmia has turned me into texture girl instead of smell girl. But I much prefer MY theory, which follows Occam's razor is beimg much more simpler. My theory states that I am right and people who disagree with me are sadly delusional.

Oh, yes—and the Face. Every late spring or early summer (mid Juneish, wherever that falls) my family would take a day trip out to a state park which had great bunches of mountain laurel, which is the Connecticut state flower. Mountain laurel flowers for about two weeks in June. Huge towering masses of pink bushes along this dirt road out in the middle of nowhere. And beyond the laurels, the dirt road continued in a loop my father always took to get back to civilization. And along this loop was a large rock on the side of the road, with two drilled holes from (I guess) when it was quarried or moved. And every year (or every so often) the local kids (who apparently have nothing better to do with their lives) painted a new face on this rock, using the drilled holes as the eye pupils.

Every year we would drive past and Mom would say, "Oh, look, kids, there's a new face painted on the rock." And every year Dad would pretend that he was inclined to turn around at the end of the laurels and we kids would plead for him to keep driving. Our primary argument was we had to see what new face was painted on the rock.

This was actually a happy childhood memory for many years, until one evening we saw the rock at dusk and then still had quite a long car ride home. So I was laying there half asleep watching the moon follow the car and it weirded me out that the moon was following us. Typical young child thinking, at least when one is sensitive and caring and perhaps not-too-bright like me. And then I got to thinking, what if the Face on the rock was following us, too? (Probably the Face looked particularly clownish that year. There's just so much teenagers can do with spray paint.) I don't remember, but the image of this ghost rock Face following the car like the moon freaked me out.

My mother, if she bothers to read this, is now saying, "Why, Mojo never told me she was scared of the Rock Face". Yes, Mother. That is because even when I was a little little kid I knew it was stupid, and I was sparing you the shame of having a stupid daughter afraid of an imaginary rock face following the car around. It was something I kept private lo these many years until eBay coaxed it out of me.

Why has suddenly eBay become a psychiatrist's couch? Because of this item. Sure, it sounds innocent enough. It's a "candle carousel". You light the candles, and the heat makes the carousel part spin and the light from the candles projects little shapes and colors on the walls of the room. (Incidentally, the little stick-thing in the middle holding the spinning shade seems to be a ball-point pen insert. No ink, though--I tried. Fascinating!)

My, a well-adjusted person such as yourself might think, doesn't that sound nice. Oh, sure, maybe if you're psychologically healthy it does! But how about ME? If my mom put this in my room when I was a kid and I sat there in the dark and watched shadowy flickery images spiral around me, heaven only KNOWS what sort of nightmares I would have. I'd be in hysterics. Some sensitive, imaginative young geniuses are much better off with a flashlight and a book under the covers than a candle carousel. At least a book you can close if it gets too scary, and you can always hold your hand over the flashlight and tell your friends "oooh, look, you can see the insides of my hand! It's just like an x-ray!" without worrying about third-degree burns.

And speaking of burns, don't even START me on the childhood trauma incurred as a result of the Junior Fire Marshall program in school growing up. In first grade they tromped all of us to the gymnasium to watch a fire safety film. It began with an animated flame named Sparky with little stick arms and legs safely behind bars. The narrator said something like (remember, this is being filtered through a six-year-old's brain, so it might not be entirely accurate), "So, Sparky, it looks like we've caught you again!" and Sparky turns to the camera and says, "Maybe for now! But one of these days I'm going to ESCAPE! And when I DO, I'm going to sneak over and BURN THESE CHILDREN'S HOUSES DOWN WHILE THEY SLEEP! Bwah-hahhahhahhah!"

Which was not a very nice thing to hear when you're six years old and you might still have difficulty differentiating between cartoon fire and real life. My mom was rather annoyed, expecially since I sobbed hysterically at bedtime and demanded to sleep with the light on for several months thereafter. Somehow I don't think the little red plastic fire hat we got as part of the program was really worth that. As if that were not enough, the Junior Fire Marshall people made us fill out questionnaires about how fire-safe your house was (and trust me, back then they were ALL deathtraps) and asked you questions like "If you woke up in the middle of the night and smelled smoke, what should you do?"

The proper answer, of course, was to crawl out of bed and feel your door to see if it was hot, but the reality is this: I am congenitally anosmic—I have no sense of smell—and there was no check-off box on the questionnaire for "go back to sleep and ASPHYXIATE IN YOUR BED" which is what I realized would happen to me. Ditto the natural gas commercials on when I was a kid: "If you smell gas, don't turn the lights on or off. Don't strike a match. Instead, head for the nearest exit!" I watched these commercials on TV and thought to my wee self, good heavens, I'm DOOMED.

Yet somehow I survived, and I am here to sell this lovely candle carousel to some more emotionally healthy person. Could it be you? Not if you don't bid, it won't, because in addition to being emotionally healthy you have to be intelligent enough or at the very least proactive enough to bid. These stringent demands are what keep the Craptacular's standards so impeccably high, to ensure that only the smartest go-getters on eBay participate.

And I tell you now, be careful with open flames and all that stuff when that one lucky winner decides to actually use this candle carousel. Because if you're not careful, Sparky might escape his cage and find me—even though I've moved about ten times since that day—and burn my house down as I sleep. And nobody wants that. Well, except Sparky, who seemed rather jazzed about the whole prospect, but c'mon, he's just a cartoon. I deserve better in life than getting "offed" by the likes of HIM. He wasn't even lip-synched! Just a series of still frames and cross dissolves! If I MUST be killed by a cartoon character, please let it be something animated by Hayao Miyazaki or Frederic Back, not some bad late-Sixties Junior Fire Marshall tripe! Please!

To make this gift even more craptacular--I just politely thanked the giver and threw it in the corner and did not look at it until just now when I wished to rid my house of it. And guess what! It's USED! Yes, indeedy, as you can see by the candle wicks, they are burned. Not much, perhaps, but it's been lit. Maybe they were burning it in the store. Still, whenever I receive a gift that is obviously used it warms my heart like nobody's business. TRULY craptacular. It fully deserves the Certificate of Craptacularity that will accompany it to its new home.

So bid early, bid often, and watch it with the candles with this thing. Stop, drop and roll. And keep low and feel the door handle before you go dashing out into the house. And don't store your old paint cans and oily rags in a pile in the garage or they may spontaneously combust. (That really DOES happen!) And if you think you want to commit insurance fraud by burning down a building you own (like some idiot guy I read about years ago in the newspaper), don't go down in the basement and splash gasoline around the place and forget that the furnace and/or the hot water heater might still have a pilot flame lit. Otherwise while you're merrily shaking the gasoline around the basement and dreaming about your settlement check the fumes might reach the pilot flame and WOOF! Darwin in action yet again.

This is eBay's own self-designated Junior Fire Marshall, signing off!