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Don’t Lock Me In

When we see small children, a lot of us have a tendency to swoon over them and idealize their every action and word. Heck, the French Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau even made children’s behavior the basis for his view on the perfect state of humanity.

But let’s face it: pretty often children’s ideas can be pretty stupid.

I can prove it. Just watch a five year old eating dinner in a restaurant. No Billy you cannot drink the mayo, saccharine, pepper, coffee mix you just made.

This goes for fears also. Monsters aren’t real, go back to bed.

Speaking of fears, when I was a kid I had a fear that was really stupid – store closings.

For as far back as I can remember, I really hated store closings.

If we were in Macy’s or the local mall, or Payless, seeing the workers begin to pack stuff up would fill me with dread.

The worst part was the announcement could come: “Attention customers: Caldor will be closing in 15 minutes.”

Oh no!

My heart would race. I would fidget.

And the sound of some security gate rapidly clanging down would be enough to make me think the end was coming.

I would be locked in K-Mart forever.


I have no clue why I go freaked out like that. Maybe store closures symbolized mortality at an age when kids are first learning about it and becoming freaked out by it.

Maybe I was too stupid to realize that a store will open the next day.

But the fear was real and it lasted until early adolescence.

How did I get over the fear?

Having a job.

Being responsible for closing a store and pulling down the scary metal gate.

Having the basic knowledge that death and store closures are two different things.

But every now and then when I’m at the mall waiting for my wife and the announcement comes on – “Bed, Bath and Beyond is now closing,” my still heart twitches a bit.

That’s remedied when then I quickly remind myself to grow up and not be so stupid.


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