Monsters to the Rescue

by Michael Channing

When I was a little kid, my dad took me over to my uncle's house, and we had a movie marathon. We watched the first three Friday the 13th flicks back to back to goddamn back. If you watch Scream or if you play enough trivia, eventually you'll hear the question, “Who was the killer in Friday the 13th?” And you'll say, “That's easy, it was Jason.” And the questioner will say, “No, it was Jason's mom, ha, gotcha.” Well I acquired that knowledge when I was seven. Along with how far your eyeball might fly when your skull is crushed. This is information a seven-year-old should not have.

My uncle had an obsession with pausing the tape right at the goriest parts, such as a hatchet in the face. Then he'd go make a sandwich.

All I can say is thank god for the wavy lines of VHS. Had it been the crystal clarity of DVD, I would have just shit my intestines right there.

Nevertheless, I was on the couch, next to my father--whom I used to trust--while my heart, my brain, and urine all tried to escape my body.

Obviously I did not die of fright. But I learned that whoever was left alive in one movie did not survive the sequel, so during the ride home I was a little on edge.

When I made it home that night, there were two things I did not do. One was sleep. The other was say my prayers. Because I was fairly certain, based on what I had just experience, that nobody was listening.

Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling with visions of disembowelings and beheadings dancing in my head, I tried to convince myself it was only a movie and it wasn't real. But if you followed that logic far enough along, that would mean Santa and Kermit were also fake, and that is not a world I wanted to live in.

I decided if there had to be bad monsters in the world, then there must also be good monsters. What are good monsters? Chances are you already know plenty. Sesame Street is full of them. Oscar might be a little mean, but he's not gonna slit your throat.

I figured if I was going to be stuck with Jason under my bed all night, then I would position my army of good monsters around the room as my guardians. Swamp Thing checked the bathroom. Godzilla took the closet. Grover stood guard at the end of the bed. He didn't have eyelids, so there was no reason he couldn't watch my toes all night long. And if Jason should crawl out from underneath the bed, Cookie Monster would be there to eat his face.

With that elite force in place, I managed to drift into a sound, dreamless sleep.

Friday the 13th movie poster
Friday the 13th part 2 movie poster
Friday the 13 3D movie poster

Sesame Street Monsters musical record

Childhood Can Be Difficult

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Chokes and Warbles
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Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing