The Bad Babysitter

I love going to the zoo. I love feeding sugar water to the pretty birdies, I love admiring the clumsy turtles, I wish I could pet the cute monkeys. But when it comes to the aquarium section, I really have to suppress a shudder. At the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Wa., the aquarium is set up so that when you are walking on the upper level, you can look down into an “ocean setting” which includes a big huge fish and maybe an octopus or squid. I skirt a wide path around that area because I’m always worried that I’ll trip, fall in, and get eaten. Ridiculous, I know. But we can blame it all on The Bad Babysitter…

My three sisters and I had several babysitters growing up. Most of the time, I enjoyed having a babysitter. It meant we could have a casual dinner, play all night, and maybe even watch a movie. I’m not really sure what inspired our babysitter this evening to tell this particular tale. Maybe she was trying to be the Cool Babysitter Who Tells Scary Stories. As many of you are probably aware, there are octopi living underneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (also in Tacoma, Wa.).

Fact: some of the world’s largest octopi do live underneath the bridge

Myth: they are as big as a house

But I didn’t know that at the time. So The Bad Babysitter who was trying to be the Cool Babysitter Who Tells Scary Stories told us that huge, ravenous, predatory octopi lived underneath the bridge. Some of them were as big as our house. Note: I grew up in a very large, three story house. Her story was kind of like a big fish story, the tale gets bigger as you go along. By the time she finished describing the long tentacles with the hundreds of little suction cups, the image was cemented in my head. It probably didn’t help that around this time, I saw an Armageddon type undersea movie that involved a dangerous octopus.

I think this is why I’ve never had any desire to go scuba diving in the ocean (maybe someday in shallow waters where starfish are the most dangerous thing out there).


2 thoughts on “The Bad Babysitter

  1. Nicole says:

    Ha, ha. To this day, when I swim in the ocean, the movie Jaws comes back to haunt me. It’s amazing how things that scare us as children can come back to haunt us as adults!

  2. Michael Fritz says:

    I recall all the scary movies that I saw as a child and a scary story or two that I heard. I used to have terrible nightmares. Well, I quit watching those kinds of movies. They are much worse now than they were then because they are so much more realistic. Perhaps the scariest monsters are the ones we create in our own minds.

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