Childhood baggage

Okay, this isn’t a post about dire happenings from my youth. I had a happy childhood–apart from an unrequited affection for Mr. Rabbit and the terrible discovery that, unlike Samantha, I couldn’t just twitch my nose and Make Things Happen.

I read a lot as a child, and I’ve come to realize that there are certain things you pick up from reading–usually pronunciations that are WAY off–that you believe are true when you’re a kid, and they are VERY difficult to get rid of when you grow up. Here are two of the things I still tote around:

*Static. I always have to think about what this word means. The visual it conjures is the fuzzy picture on a black and white television set. Since the programming isn’t actually moving, it makes sense that the word means “having little or no change”. But then I overthink it and remember that the fuzzy bits always jump around and that’s movement and change and OH MY GOD, WHAT DOES THE WORD ACTUALLY MEAN? I generally avoid using it for this very reason. And when I encounter it while reading, I always have to stop for a second and process it.

*Rivers. In my head, they always flow south. I blame the Mississippi and the Rio Grande. On the maps I saw as a child, they were the most prominent–it’s a Texas thing–and they were always flowing “down”. Therefore, all rivers flow south, right? I can’t begin to tell you how fully the Nile discombobulates me. You sail south to go upriver? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS? It’s a ridiculous mindset and I fight it constantly. (See also Beaches: Must Face East.)