The other night at dinner with my basketball team, we were discussing the things people tell kids to make them behave. Someone remembered being told that if you piddled in the swimming pool, a bright red ring would form around you and everyone would know what you had done. No one likes swimming in a pool populated by little kids, and this seemed like a brilliant and effective ploy.
One day in grade one I was sitting at my desk, staring at the twinkly effect of sunlight reflecting on the tip of my lead pencil. The teacher told me to stop doing that because I could damage my eyes. Of course I stopped! I imagined that some kind of beam of light could suddenly zap into my eye (like a laser! I don’t think I knew what lasers were back then).
I idly pondered this for years, wondering what she could possibly have meant. I even wondered if it was actually a danger associated with real LEAD pencils, not the graphite ones we now call lead pencils.
It really wasn’t all that long ago that it finally dawned on me, I must have been holding the pencil pretty close to my face, and she thought if I was bumped, the pencil might poke me in the eye. How mundane, compared to those dangerous beams of twinkly light.
When you’re a kid, people tell you things and you only remember part of it, or they tell you things that don’t make sense. Even though you don’t have a great understanding of the world and how things work, you do have an active imagination and some sort of logic system going on… and that can lead to funny results.