Well, as a very small child, it seems I repeatedly attempted to embrace death. On a pony ride, the saddle cinch broke and flipped me beneath the pony, which then went a little berserk, and broke my collarbone. Oddly, I’ve no memory of it at all, but have inherited a kind of false memory from hearing my father relate the story so many times. A few years later, I was run over by a car on a dirt road. The dirt had been freshly replenished and oiled down, and the car, driving over me, just pushed me down into the dirt without harming me. Again, while I remember bits of that, blinked moments, some of it has been filled in by hearing the tale told.
And strangely, the one I remember vividly occurred even earlier than the pony ride. I’d been left on a fold-out bed on our screened porch. I was maybe two and a half. There was nothing on the bed, just bare, striped and slightly mildewed mattress. That particular smell is so powerfully evocative now that it can snap me back in time to that day.
Lying on the bed I became fixated upon the wall socket in front of me, and so reached out and stuck one finger into it.
The next thing I remember was lying on my back, with my mother standing over me, and she was crying. I’d given myself electroshock therapy and she seemed to have concluded I was dead rather than merely rewired.
I’d like to say that there was no long term damage, but then how would I know? Maybe my bent toward the fantastic is a result of that moment. Or maybe I’ve shifted between parallel universes. Not that I’m complaining.