There's a "Six Strange Things" meme going around at the moment. I was going to join in, but I couldn't think of anything to put. Following Mel's example, I asked Mr Bea.

"What about me is strange?" I said.

He thought for a moment. "Nothing, really," he answered. "You're a thoroughly unremarkable person."

"But all the other bloggers can think of lots of strange things!"

"Well, maybe your lack of strangeness is, in itself, strange." This met with a flat, unimpressed stare. "What are the others putting?"

"One of them used to get freaked out about changing her earrings, and another once punched a girl in the eye because she wanted to know what it felt like to punch someone."

"That is strange. Well, haven't you got any strange tales from your childhood? What about the dragons?"

Ah yes, the dragons.

I used to share a room with my sister. But there were dragons in the cupboard. Our parents explained to us over and over again that they were imaginary, but this did nothing to lessen our fear. So there were imaginary dragons in our cupboard - they were still dragons, weren't they? Night after night, upon hearing our wavering calls, our father would make the trip into our room to switch on the light, throw open the cupboard door, and proclaim, "Look! No dragons! Now go to sleep!" And we'd sigh with relief, because obviously he'd made the dragons go away, for a short while at least. Sometimes we'd get to sleep before they returned, sometimes not. But this was the problem - we both agreed he'd made the dragons go away, but we disagreed as to how.

My sister surmised that our father's presence was the key. Only he scared them off, and unless he was there, the cupboard doors should be kept firmly shut to delay their inevitable attack until we could call for his backup. I, on the other hand, after performing a number of controlled experiments under strict laboratory conditions (ie broad daylight) and later, in the field (ie just before bedtime), concluded that even I was able to make the dragons go away - by opening the cupboard doors. To me, the solution was clear: the doors should remain open. Thus began a series of escalating bedtime arguments based around the fact that my sister would not sleep with the cupboard doors open, and I would not sleep with them closed.

One particularly bad night our long-suffering father burst into the room brandishing a broomstick, a look of fury in his eyes. "Where are these dragons?" he demanded. "I'm going to slay them with my sword!" The next ten minutes were dramatic. With a curdling battle cry, he threw the cupboard doors open and immediately fell back as the dragons descended upon him. Holding up his imaginary shield, he steadied himself for his attack, thrusting forwards into one dragon's vulnerable underside as it descended upon him. It recoiled. "Help me!" he cried. "I can't see them because they're imaginary! What are they doing now?"

"There's one to the right above your shoulder!" we cried. "Careful! The second one's about to lift you up in his talons by your hair!"

"Hah! Hah! Hah!" our father grunted, thrusting his "sword" this way and that. "Did I get them?"

"Yes!" we squealed, delighted. And so the fight continued, out of the bedroom, through the hall, and down the stairway until at last our father booted them into the garage with his foot and slammed the door, shouting, "And stay out!" at their retreating forms. And from that night on, we slept comfortably in our beds, without fear of dragons bursting out of our cupboard.

But we refused to go into the garage for anything.

You guys know about the letter-writing media campaign, right? Well, Jules has put together a media contact list for those in Australia. More about it on her blog.

I've just realised what the moral of this story is. No matter how "imaginary" you think someone's problem is, you're not helping until you give it the validity they think it deserves, and agree to tackle it with them accordingly.

Shit, this writing things down really works sometimes.

Actually, now I've realised that moral makes it a lot like Smarshy's post about infertile women being like toddlers. Except my version has better choreography.


Dramalish said...

Bea.. I think you're strange and wonderful... in the most delightful ways.
Don't change.

Aurelia said...

Oh, Bea, I love your story, what a great way for your Dad to handle it!
And the moral of the story is true, we do need that validation don't we?

BigP's Heather said...

Your Dad sounds amazing!

Anonymous said...


Your moral really touched me. It gave me a right to think that my fears, however unfounded, were valid because I have them and that the only way to deal with them is to make people understand that they need to recognise that I have them.



Serenity said...

Oh Bea, what a fantastic story - I wish I could have been there to see your dad fighting with those imaginary dragons.

Though I can imagine the scene. Fantastic.

And yes, too about the moral.

But the vision of your dad slaying imaginary dragons... then kicking them into the garage... now THAT'S the best part. What a great dad.

Anonymous said...

Where are the other 5 strange things about you? I would love to hear them!

Your dad sounds like a true hero to me. Protecting you from imaginary dragons - that is what being a parent is all about.

Baby Blues said...

Your Dad is every child's hero!

Thalia said...

What a wonderful story! And thank you for interpreting it for us. Just what we needed.

Thalia said...

PS, Is there a reason why I'm not on your list of infertiles? Did I disqualify myself in some way? If so I humbly beg forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic story! And your moral is spot-on. Validation is so important when we're feeling anxious and vulnerable.

ak1908 said...

That was the cutest childhood story ever! The moral: even better!

I received an email from a Bea a few days ago about not being able to read my blog because it's password protected. I accidentally deleted it. If that was you, email me at knox1908 AT hotmail DOT com and I will send you an invite.
Your dad sounds like the type of dad I imagine DH would be.

Kir said...

oh I loved that story and how it relates to you and us in this Land of IF.

I hope the dragons are gone for good.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

It is a fantastic story!

But what are the other 5 strange things? :-)

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