US President Donald Trump was safely escorted to a secured, judgment free zone after suffering from a severe bout of reality exposure upon seeing the warship named after his late critic, John McCain.
The Navy Chief of Information has confirmed that the name of the ship was not obstructed per the president's request, severely triggering Mr. Trump at the sight of the vessel which will undoubtedly see more military action than he ever has.
While Mr. Trump has denied that any such request was made to obscure the USS John S McCain's name during his visit to Japan, his visibly shaken behaviour upon discussing the ship was noted by several members of the media.
At the time of publication, Mr. Trump was reportedly watching a ten-hour-long ASMR video on YouTube while playing with a fidget spinner.
SWIFT CURRENT, SK- Citing the conclusions of both HBO’s Game of Thrones and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, fans of Dexter are in jubilation as their favourite serial killer is no longer synonymous with the worst series finale of all time.
“It’s great knowing that Dex was finally able to redeem himself without a ninth season,” said Jacob Longfellow while wiping away what was presumably imitation blood. “I mean, it’s still not that great but at least it wasn’t the punch in the balls that Thrones was.”
While last night’s Game of Thrones finale was good news for Dexter and all fans of vicious murderers who are allowed to escape any sense of justice, How I Met Your Mother was less lucky and was not moved at all by the completion of Big Bang.
At the time of publication, Chuck Lorre has confirmed that he is personally sending a letter simply stating “Bazinga” to each of Mother’s producers on a plate of solid gold.
It’s been nearly a year since I went to court to file for protection against my stalker. Since then, I have been subjected to character assassinations, death threats, and a resurgence of phone calls on my new phone number that pushed the total to a point over 1200. I stopped counting and I changed my number again.
For the majority of this year, I have been in contact with various websites that distribute personal data such as Spokeo and Been Verified to have any and all information pertaining to myself and my family removed for privacy concerns (and because they have no business sharing my private information without my consent). As I have no social media profiles, these conglomerates were the last bastion where my stalker could obtain my information and continue her assault. Since writing to the various white pages of the internet, the calls have stopped and I have not received any further unwanted contact since April.
In two years, I have written much about the torment I have been going through since late 2011 with this individual, but never detailed how we met or the abusive relationship that I was trapped in with her throughout high school. As I have been writing about my school experiences and because I have been an advocate for victims of abuse most of my life, I feel that it is time for me to share that, hoping that it will help others.
This situation began at St. Nard’s. I was not well liked in high school as I wasn’t a jock, wasn’t overly religious and wasn’t involved in any clubs. I sat alone at lunch for four years straight. I was into prog-rock, Magic: The Gathering, and high fantasy novels so it was easy to see that I was a dweeb. I didn’t even perform in school talent shows and never told anyone that I played the piano. Because I lived 45 minutes away it was hard to make friends, and the highly conservative hierarchy of the school guaranteed that I’d never fit in. I even had a teacher as a freshman who bullied me to the point where I was ready to drop out, but I’ll talk about him another time.
Before I continue, I want to state that for privacy purposes I am not going to use my ex’s name or the name of the girl who set us up. So, I looked up a list of the worst names for girls in 2019 and decided to call my ex Diesel and her BFF Chlamydia. Yes, this is what the first result of my search yielded.
While I was a social outcast, I did manage to catch the attention of Chlamydia in Spanish class. (Oh, this is going to be fun.) To say she had a crush on me was an understatement; this girl openly told her friends that we were dating even though I had never asked anyone at St. Nard’s out before, she would force her way to sit with me at assemblies and hold hands with me whenever she got close. And no, she didn’t sit with me at lunch. While flattered, or at least as much as a 14 to 15-year-old could be, this girl did not interest me at all. We had nothing in common, she was failing all of her classes, and her clingy behaviour was creeping me out, especially after she signed my freshman yearbook with “I Love You!” alongside several hearts and a massive lip gloss kiss. She didn’t even know how to pronounce my last name correctly, so the idea that she “loved” me was really off.
This changed a year later, as she was the only person in the entire school who seemed to show the slightest interest in me as a human being, I kept Chlamydia close as a friend. (This is going to be awkward so just deal with it.) Her clinginess was still an issue but I just bowed with the wind. That was a red flag that I should have paid attention to.
Anyways, as a sophomore, a rumour started going around that I was gay, which was grounds for immediate expulsion from a Catholic school. Now, I am openly bisexual today, but not when I was surrounded by holier-than-thou ultra-conservative bigots, and because of the curriculum that clearly stated that both homosexuality and bisexuality were not real and just “wrong choices,” I thought I was flawed in some unforgivable way. This made being a social misfit who already had low self-esteem a lot, lot worse. In order to hush the rumours and to stay closeted to my family and friends until I could either “cure myself” (there’s no such thing) or come out as bi on my own terms, I made the horrible decision to ask Chlamydia out on a real date.
To my surprise, she turned me down, and said that she would much rather go out with another guy whom I’ll call Gary because it’s the first male name that popped into my head. Then she told me that she had already been dating him, while telling the rest of the school that we were an item. Now, a normal person would look at this situation and back the hell out of it, getting as far away from that tangled mess as possible. So, what do you think 15-year-old me did? I asked her if she had any friends…
I’m going to let you scream at me through the computer now, maybe break a mouse or something. It will make you feel better after reading that.
Chlamydia immediately told me about her best friend Diesel, who thought I was nice and cute (she never saw a picture of me before that) and gave me her email and AIM name. For the young ones here, AIM was the AOL Instant Messenger, it’s how we used to “chat” in real time before Facebook or Skype existed. Yes, this makes me feel old. Within a couple of days, Diesel had already written to me before I had even gotten up the courage to send her a single email.
We seemed to be relatable, at least we liked some of the same music though I was the only one who knew that Rush was a band and not a lunatic political commentator. I asked if we could have lunch together the next week, and that’s when I found out that she went to a different school. I didn’t see it as a major problem, but it was definitely trickier to make a relationship out of it in the late '90s and early ‘00s. When I passingly mentioned this to Chlamydia and that I was a little disappointed that she was setting me up with someone who lived over an hour’s drive away, she swiftly told Diesel behind my back and I was soon subjected to her “crying” over the instant messenger that I was dumping her and that she wasn’t good enough for anyone.
This should have been another red flag as Diesel was already beginning to abuse me with a technique called gaslighting, and was creating a false reality in my own mind where I was hurting her feelings just by having some doubts about making a long-distance relationship work in an era before teens even had their own basic flip phones.
Diesel immediately got to work setting up a list of rules and a schedule for me to follow. I had to be online from 4pm to 10pm every weekday in case she logged in to chat, and if I wasn’t there she would get quite peeved with me. Keep in mind that she never told me when she would be online and that this was before you could message someone while offline. Also, AIM did not save messages automatically, you had to manually save them as a file if you wanted to reread an older chat log. I had to send her at least two love poems a week, I had to call her my girlfriend even though she hadn’t even told me her last name yet, and I was required to complement her looks in every chat even though I hadn’t seen a picture of her yet. She had gotten a scan of my sophomore class picture and restated that I was cute, while hiding her own image from me behind a list of strange excuses (for example; she had no disposable camera, her makeup was running, she didn’t have a computer even though she was telling me this over the internet).
My sister Hannah absolutely hated Diesel. They had never met each other, but in one chat Diesel had asked for me to say hi to my sister for her, to which Hannah gave the computer monitor the finger. Hannah could see that I was being manipulated and abused, and it infuriated her that I continued to talk with someone who was hurting me. Diesel’s ridiculous rules also made it hard for Hannah to use the computer for school or to talk with her friends, and because we had dial-up, it meant that the phone was inoperable while the computer was online. I gradually moved away from my required schedule as Diesel and I both worked after school and this freed me a little from her grasp. Hannah seized this opportunity to try and get me out of that pseudo-relationship and would desperately talk with me about asking one of her friends out, mainly those who were secretly crushing on me. She even tried to arrange a date between her best friend and I, hoping that it would break Diesel’s spell.
Nothing seemed to work though.
In one instance, Diesel became irate with me for not being online during her designated hours. She had told me the night before that she would be working the next day until 10pm and wouldn’t be home until 11. I didn’t bother going online and let Hannah have her fun with the zany websites of the era and group chatting with her friends about which 1980s rock star they thought was the hottest. I didn’t hear from Diesel for nearly a week after that, and found out from Chlamydia that she was angry with me for breaking her rules. Diesel had lied to me about working just to see if I was online during her schedule, and seeing that I wasn’t sent her over the edge. After discovering this from Chlamydia, I was sent a long and seething email from Diesel where she claimed to have been in the hospital for a suicide attempt, and threatened to cut herself or worse if I ever disobeyed her again. She claimed that I was being unfaithful and that she couldn’t trust me at all if I wasn’t willing to follow her instructions.
All of Diesel’s claims were false; this was her continuing to gaslight me and attempt to gain further control of my emotions and psyche. A different mutual friend of ours had later told me that she had never been hospitalized and never had self-harmed.
It was only by dumb luck that I was finally able to meet Diesel in person during my junior year of high school. All attempts to convene in the past had been turned down by excuses (“I got a bad haircut!”) despite that we’d be meeting alongside both of our parents and in public spaces to ensure our safety and to put our folks’ minds at ease. Just before St. Nards’ winter formal, Chlamydia and Gary broke up, and Diesel and I decided to go together as a group since Chlamydia was now going to be alone. I purchased two tickets to the event and a corsage for Diesel, and everything was put in place so we’d meet in the lobby of the Best Western where the dance was taking place. This time there were no trite alibis and things finally seemed to be going well.
I was waiting in the hotel lobby for an hour with fear in the back of my mind that I was going to be stood up before Diesel and Chlamydia arrived. We introduced ourselves to one another and this was also my first time ever seeing Diesel at all, and she was very pretty, maybe not what I had pictured, but at least this wasn’t some sort of weird joke out of a crappy Paris Hilton movie. We went to the dance, got a snack and took our seats while we got to know each other better and everything was going great. I also have to add that this was the first real “date” I had ever been on, so I was really nervous and awkward. After about seven or ten minutes, Diesel excused herself to use the restroom and never returned.
I sat alone at our table for over an hour with the DJ’s speakers right next to me, before I was told that Diesel was sick and was going to be leaving early. I helped her out of the hotel while and she left without saying a word to me. I had been given my dad’s cellphone, the only one in the house, and swiftly called home to get a ride. My parents and sister had just arrived at the house from going out to the mall, and my mother was furious when I told her what had happened. She was under the impression that Diesel was a no show, but she was angry at the entire set of circumstances anyways given how much I had paid for tickets and flowers (nearly $150 in total), and for all of this to just backfire in my face after waiting so long to try and meet Diesel face to face.
Hannah was livid but happy at the same time. She was a little envious that I was going on a date to a formal dance and that she hadn’t been asked by anyone herself. She was a freshman and I knew of a lot of guys who had crushes on her but they were too afraid to ask her out either because they were freshman themselves and thus timid by nature, or were in my class and were concerned that I’d be upset if they had asked my sister out, which I wouldn’t have been but they just made that assumption without even talking to me. As a consolation prize, Hannah gave me an early Christmas gag gift of David Lee Roth’s greatest hits (an oxymoron), which we listened to in her room with a dance off to cheer me up.
Despite Diesel’s apologies for what had happened, I later discovered that she was not sick from a bug, but that she and Chlamydia had been drinking before the dance (hence their late appearance) and were wasted by the time they had arrived. Diesel had passed out in the ladies’ room while vomiting and was taken back to Chlamydia’s house so her parents wouldn’t find out that she was drunk.
This was the last straw and I stopped following Diesel’s rules and maybe chatted with her once a week, just staying friends with her. I considered myself single again but didn’t go on the dating circuit as to give myself some much needed “me time” after that whole kerfuffle. I was feeling good and was more confident that I had been in ages. But things would soon take a very different change of course.
On 3 May, I was involved in a multi-vehicle wreck on the highway while being driven home by a livery service. Hannah was seriously injured, but due to confusion and some sketchy 911 calls, it took over 20 minutes for an emergency response. Hannah passed away from her injuries, with details that still have never come to light fifteen years later.
I lost my best friend and half of my entire person.
I was incredibly vulnerable. I had been seriously injured myself, but mentally I was in worse shape than any part of my body. I couldn’t and didn’t know how to react correctly, I bottled everything up, and I considered suicide on several occasions.
My classmates provided an outpouring of support with sympathy cards and interaction that I had never experienced before, but it also opened me up to the worst of the abuse I’d receive from Diesel.
Using this vulnerability, Diesel immediately swooped in and tried to make herself my saviour. She visited my home the day after the wreck and became involved with my parents and myself on a more personal level than ever before. She actually seemed like a real friend for the first time in our relationship. She wasn’t just an internet friend now, and she would visit our home at least twice a month and even showed up as a surprise on my birthday. After about six weeks of this, I slowly and unknowingly found myself following Diesel’s every command, even resurrecting her controlling schedule for online chats without realizing it.
At this point, Diesel became the only friend I had. Even though my oldest and best friend from kindergarten was visiting me every day, and she and I would go out for drives and just talk about shit, Diesel was still the star that I was guided by and was orbiting. Going out with some new friends had to be cut short so I could talk to Diesel. Visiting with Hannah’s friends for mutual support, each of us stricken with insurmountable grief, had to be scheduled around Diesel. Visiting my grandparents had to be worked around Diesel. She had me by every cell of my body and every part of my fractured soul.
By the summer before senior year, Diesel dictated who I could and could not speak with. She demanded that I only stay within her and Chlamydia’s circle of friends and that everyone else, including my aforementioned best friend, was excluded. I still spoke with them, but had to hide that from Diesel. It reached a point where even Diesel’s mother was involved in controlling when and where we would speak or meet. Diesel’s mom even tried to control my parents and used that to schedule dates or get togethers around her work and interests.
My mother hated Diesel’s mother. She was an illiterate, self-absorbed asshole who had no empathy for my family (or anyone). During our last get together, Diesel, her mom and Chlamydia all decided to come to my family’s house for lunch. When my mother told Diesel’s mom that she was doing poorly (as it was just four months since Hannah’s passing), her response through chewing a wad of gum was a sarcastic “Still?” which turned her as red as a can of Coca-Cola. That would be the last they ever spoke to each other.
We had a tense lunch, but Diesel, Chlamydia and I got along despite everything. Diesel’s mom had made some disgusting noodle salad that I feel obligated to bring up for its sheer nastiness, but other than that, it was just a cookout. Afterwards, things got even stranger. Diesel decided to use the family computer to instant message some of her friends despite deliberately coming to my house to visit me, and she was fixated on the computer for the rest of the afternoon before she had to leave to go to work that evening. She didn’t even hug me goodbye like we usually did. This would be the last time that I ever saw Diesel willingly.
After that lunch date, things became worse. Diesel and I were up very late online one night and I had casually written “Love you” as we were signing off. This made her very angry and she refused to speak to me for two weeks. That two word sign off also enraged her father, whom I had never met, and he decided that I was some sort of drooling villain prowling remote hamlets for maidens to have the nerve to say “love you” to his daughter.
Once my senior year began, Diesel was again demanding that I be online all evening to talk to her even when I knew she was working, and she would randomly give me the cold shoulder and refuse to respond to messages before accusing me of being mean or angry to her when I knew for a fact that I never was. Again, this is gaslighting and she was a master of using that abusive technique. I’d write a simple “Hi” to her and she would type back absurdities like “Why are you so mean all the time?” or “How could you have done that to me?” without specifying anything. I started to doubt myself and had to save all of my chats with Diesel just to go over them later and see if maybe I did have a temper or did say something out of line. I didn’t, but I felt like I was going crazy every time I spoke to this woman.
I started to question reality because what I knew and experienced was never the same thing as what Diesel was telling me I had done or said.
This reached a breaking point when Diesel decided that I was not to call her on the phone anymore. She randomly messaged me with those disheartening words: “We need to talk” and proceeded to leave the chat for over three hours before coming back, watching me nervously squirm the entire time in her mind’s eye. Her reasoning was that I was “an unstable person” for having told her “Love you” back in August. This was October and this reasoning was inane. But Diesel had so much control over me that I still obeyed her. While she didn’t want to speak with me by phone, she still insisted that I speak with her online daily, and demanded that I give her my AIM and email passwords so she knew what I was “really up to.” And I did. I didn’t even question such a brash and unreasonable violation of my own safety and privacy, I just gave them over.
Because Diesel had asked me to never call her on the phone anymore, I didn’t call her for her birthday and instead sent her a Hallmark card. That did not go over well. She tore into me that I was “over the line” in sending her that simple card (which I only had signed with my name because I knew “love” was about as bad as a certain c-word with her). A few days after she called me every name and slur in the book over AIM, she apologized saying that it was just the stress of senior year getting to her, and that I was “lucky she still loved me.” It’s okay if she said it but if I said it, oh boy. And that right there was a massive red flag amongst all the smaller ones that I still had failed to see.
Everything came to an end on Christmas Day. My parents were not doing well, I wasn’t doing well and everything in our lives and home was off. After our dinner, with a special plate set at Hannah’s seat with an offering of yams, her favourite vegetable, my mom asked if I was going to call Diesel and wish her a Happy Christmas. I was hesitant as she had told me to not call her on the phone but it was, after all, Christmas. With a lot of anxiety, I dialed her number and was confronted by her father almost immediately. I’ve mentioned this before, but after I asked for Diesel, he responded with something along the lines of “Don’t you ever call here again you goddamn k*** or it’ll be the last fucking thing you ever do! That’s all over now, Chanukah Boy!” in a thick, nearly unintelligible Boston accent, and with an obvious hint of drunkenness.
I never again spoke to Diesel and I never saw her after that (on purpose). I was devastated at first, but once I began talking with my real friends, I slowly started to understand what a blessing I had been given. I started to see through the fog and realized just how manipulated I had been, and how clouded my judgments had become due to her constant abuse. I had even slumped in my grades and in my musical practice during that relationship because I always had to make time for her which meant less time for studying and less effort in my essays. I comprehended that I had more friends than I had previously thought, as she had controlled who I could and could not see or speak to. After making arrangements with my companions and colleagues, I soon deleted my email and AIM name and created a new one as Diesel had my passwords and I didn’t want her to know how to contact me ever again.
Of course, she would later go on to stalk me with her mother’s assistance, but I’ve already discussed that and have had police intervention to make sure that she stays as far away from my family and I as possible.
Given the weight of this very long story, I want to again provide my readers with information on how to leave and heal from an abusive relationship, alongside suicide prevention hot-lines from around the world. Stay strong, and know that you deserve to be treated right and with respect and dignity, and anyone who fails to do so is not deserving of you!
Domestic Abuse Hotlines
United States: 1-800-799-7233
United Kingdom: 0808 2000 247
Suicide Prevention Lifelines
Canada: 1-866-277-3553, (514-723-4000 in Montreal)
United States: 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom: 0845 7909 090
International Suicide Hotline List
The cool, dewy air of late summer greeted my cousin as he awoke to begin his daily chores. It was a relief from the musty confines of his cottage and a rare chance to enjoy the privacy away from his brothers and sisters in the pale, pre-dawn hours. As a young man in his mid-teens, he both revelled in his emerging freedom and loathed the responsibilities that came with it as he began to tend to the land. He was the first to wake, and thought it appropriate to begin work as soon as possible to limit his time in the afternoon sun. As he laboured, the small home began to stir as it usually would, the younger children quickly disturbing the rest with their games, and his mother beginning to cook the day’s meals. It was amidst this ordinary routine that a very unordinary sound drew the cottage and the entire village to a standstill. A growing roar fast approaching from the west had halted all activities and had awoken the remaining sleepers. Men, women, and children alike watched in horror as they saw the German Luftwaffe flying overhead, on their way to bomb Kraków in the opening hours of World War Two.
Over the next seven years, the family in that little cottage, my family, would be forcibly relocated to ghettos and concentration camps. They were shot, beaten, raped, starved, tortured, and ultimately murdered as part of the Nazi’s Final Solution. A little girl barely past the age of ten was beaten, skinned and turned into a lampshade for German consumers. A young man was shot in the head and his body sent for rendering to be made into soap. The elderly and infirm were killed outright if they had not already starved or succumbed to typhus. Of the entire household, there was only one survivor. One man who lost everyone and everything he had ever loved. He immigrated to the United States in 1946, and lived out his days reminding us of the atrocities that he had experienced in Poland. Reminding us of his three-day long torture session in a dark cellar in the ruins of Warsaw, where he had been chained in a bathtub and endured gallons of ice water poured over him for the amusement of the German soldiers. And to remind us to never let this happen again.
I am sharing my family’s Holocaust story, or as much of it as I know, because the world has once again decided to go headlong into that abyss of hatred and the United States, Italy, Hungary and Austria are leading the wretched pack of diseased wolves into the darkness. I have long held my tongue on political issues, especially in regards to the US, out of fear for my family’s safety if I dared to criticize the so called “alt-right” or “white nationalists” or whatever else these hatemongers are using to make themselves more marketable to the gullible talking heads of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. But I can no longer be silent as I see more innocent people being shot while attending synagogue, or individuals being beaten by unmasked Klansmen at Nuremburg-esque rallies held by the sitting president because of the colour of their skin, or the continued atrocities occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border as children are ripped away from their families to sit in cages within makeshift concentration camps where a psychotic paramilitary group both creates and enforces its laws within these centres.
I have seen so many people proudly declare “I am a nationalist!” on social media, blind to the inherently xenophobic nature of the ideology and the hatred, brutality and genocide it has been directly responsible for over the past century. I have seen now former friends and even relatives declaring their love of nationalism, carefully stating how different they are from the “white nationalists” so as not to come off as racists themselves. However, I have yet to see a single “nationalist” who isn’t white, or who doesn’t engage in the exchange of racial slurs in casual speech, or who doesn’t promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in Facebook posts laden with the red, white and black homages to Nazism complete with archaic Jewish caricatures. The absence of that one word gives them the illusion of non-responsibility when a counter-protester is run over in Charlottesville, or a mass shooting occurs within a synagogue or mosque, or when a war veteran decides to drive into a crowd in order to “target Muslims” while chanting “thank you Jesus” as he is arrested. That absent word allows for deniability in statements such as “he/she wasn’t a real nationalist” or “what he/she did was wrong, but doesn’t speak for us as a whole.”
Alt-right, nationalist, white nationalist; the term does not matter, each is synonymous with the other. One may not approve of the methods of another label, but in the end, they agree on their principles. After the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, there may have been nationalist voices decrying that act of barbarity, but there was not a single tear shed nor a memorial service held for those lives lost led by any proclaimed nationalist. And while they did not seem to rejoice in the outcome on the surface, the social media postings and memes that came afterwards by these radicals certainly showed that they have little or no sympathy for Muslim victims of white supremacist violence.
The willingness of modern people, especially in the United States, to tolerate such carnage is identical to the “none of my business” attitude that prevailed amongst average German and Italian citizens during the Nazi and Fascist years. It becomes easy to ignore the consequences of radical opinions when one’s own hands are not sullied and it does not interfere with their day-to-day living. After all, they are still receiving a paycheque and any of that dirty business is secreted away in covert prisons or facilities in the middle of nowhere. How soon that assertiveness changes when the hidden horrors are exposed to the world and that they had been living directly beside it for years without uttering a sound in protest.
The atrocities that are occurring today must not go un-protested. They must be revealed to every citizen of the world as they happen so that they may not be perpetuated and that the soul of a nation does not perish, and that the perpetrators are punished to the full extent of the honourable law. And the nations where these crimes have occurred must acknowledge their part in allowing such brutalities and seek to come to terms with that reality in the aftermath.
I will not be silent and, as Victor Klemperer said, I will bear witness.
What is the most terrifying movie you have ever seen? For me, it’s 1984’s Threads, a film about nuclear war that I watched in the same week that the United States threatened a pre-emptive attack on North Korea in 2017, thrusting humanity into a worldwide panic. But before that, there was another movie that kept me awake at night for months on end. Technically it was The Day After, but let’s creep away from atomic holocaust for now and go way back, all the way to kindergarten.
Kindergarten in this old timer’s generation was a lot different from what it is now. Classes were half days, we mostly played games and sang songs, and we were introduced to the awesomeness that was The Letter People reading series. Those songs were great, Mr. J’s (The Jumbled Junkman) was my favourite. There were no bullies, everyone got along with each other and it’s the only time in my life as a student when I can honestly say that I was happy. Nostalgia aside, there was one pivotal moment that came as a kindergartner that led to years of anxiety, and it involved Fire Prevention Week.
When I was a child, I attended a four-room schoolhouse and my mother was a teacher in the same building. The school itself was a dilapidated mess with bats in the upper floors and massive hornet nests in the windows. The bathrooms were in the mould encrusted basement and the preschool in the cellar was infested with ants, hornets or mice depending on the season. I actually attended a different preschool because of that, but that’s another story. The building itself was abandoned and the kindergarten classes moved to the elementary school in the mid-1990s. It was torn down in the early 2000s to build the town’s Parks and Rec building, but some say you can still hear the rats shrieking in the night, haunting the grounds beside Fuller Field…
Getting back on topic, all was well until October and the safety week began. We had a local firefighter visit each class, and we got to have plastic helmets to play with while we evacuated down the fire escapes in the back of the building. They were in such bad shape that only two or three people at a time could use them; the second story classes had to evacuate down the main stairs and then out the fire escapes in the ground floor as the second story escapes were rusted to oblivion and unable to bear any weight. I can understand why this place was demolished.
Each day was a new lesson on fire safety because, as I mentioned before, classes were only half days and there just wasn’t enough time. The lectures ended on Friday with the showing of a short movie. My class was one of the first to ever see this particular film, and everyone I’ve met born between 1981 and 1990 has seen it at least once. This movie is called Don’t Play Games With Fanny Flame and it was the most horrifying thing I had ever seen at the time. I first wrote about this on my now defunct comedy blog Krowness Chronicles, and quite a lot of people contacted me regarding it, thanking me for sharing my story as they had remembered the film giving them nightmares but nobody believed them that it existed.
I am not going to spend my time describing or analyzing the movie, as I was finally able to find it online after eleven years of searching, and have embedded it at the end of my story for all to see. What I will do is detail how this short completely ruined my five-year-old brain. We watched Fanny Flame with another class in the basement as it had the only television, and we were so quiet after the viewing that you could hear the invading insects scurrying beneath the rug. Our teachers then gave a short, oral quiz on the movie and proceeded to pour loads of misinformation into our heads.
We were told that if we rubbed our hands together for too long, it could start a fire and they used the warmth that such friction creates as proof that we were all little bits of walking kindling. We were told that quickly flicking a light switch or flashlight on and off could spark a fire, and that batteries could make our toys explode if we didn’t use them correctly. Over a quarter of a century later, I see that the real reason for these lies was to keep us behaved in the classroom or to not try and “fix” the class toys. But as impressionable little things, and being from a generation that was told to always obey our parents or teachers, we took this as fact for months or even years.
My dad would give me an allowance of $0.50 a week in the form of two quarters that he would place on the bookcase in my bedroom. As I slid them off to put in my orange piggy bank, I’d blow over the coins and over the shelf out of fear that their movements would spark a fire. I honestly performed this ritual until the 2nd grade. I distinctly remember my dad chuckling about it until he finally had to lecture me on the realities of fire safety to wash away the bullshit that I was still lathered in.
I only ever saw Fanny Flame again while in the 1st grade. We had a last-minute indoor recess at the elementary school due to a pop-up thunderstorm, and we were all sent to the auditorium/gym to play. That movie was put on and I remember slouching behind the girl sitting in front of me on the dirty floor to try and not see the TV. I even remember that that girl was my classmate Rebecca.
I never saw Fanny Flame again in its entirety until a couple years ago, and looking back, I can’t believe how cheesy and stupid this movie is. As a kid, I thought “how could any grownup have approved this!?” but as an adult now, the difference is quite noticeable. Sometimes, what we feared in childhood is often exaggerated by our own imaginations, and turns something ordinary into something surreal that an adult just can’t see.
So now for your viewing pleasure, here’s Don’t Play Games With Fanny Flame! The video starts at 9:10.