Seeing fictional kids in fictional peril now freaks me out

It’s a bit banal to talk about how you get transformed when you have children. If you already have kids, you know exactly what I mean. If you don’t have kids, you’re sick of hearing about it. Regardless of which category you’re in, you get to put up with this blog post anyway.

Steve Lacy on BayDad made a nice list of ways in which his life has changed after having two small children. I have one thing to add.

Recently on Lost there was a scene where Kate was in a grocery store with Aaron. She turned her head and suddenly he was gone. For a few minutes she looked around for him, growing increasingly frantic. (I won’t spoil anything further; you can just watch the episode “Whatever Happened, Happened” for more.)

A few years ago that scene would not have had much of an impact on me. Now? I was extremely affected. I could absolutely relate to her fear and panic. My blood pressure rose. I got agitated. In short, I was freaking out. Compared to scenes where people get shot in the head, or hit by flaming arrows, or run over by VW buses, or tortured — no comparison. The missing kid is way scarier and real for me.

Years ago, 1997, before I had kids, I wrote a story called “Cynthia,” which was about a young girl who went missing. I submitted it to Xian Crumlish and Levi Asher’s book of net writing, Coffeehouse. Xian (with no kids) wanted to publish it, but Levi rejected it, in part telling me because (having three kids of his own) it was too disturbing to him. I couldn’t relate then. I can now.

My friend Sam stiffens whenever he sees someone on screen get injected with a needle. He can barely watch. “What a wimp,” I always used to think. Now I’m even worse.

2 Responses to “Seeing fictional kids in fictional peril now freaks me out”

  1. Stephen Says:

    “Cynthia” is still online but its gimmick is not working. Need to fix that, then I’ll link to it.

  2. Geoff Mitchell Says:

    You are far from alone in this. I too lived for some time with little/know real attachment to such things, but now, just a scene like that in Lost can be impactful, let alone some of the far more dramatic and ultimately tragic depiction’s in TV Shows. I can no longer watch those, let alone consider it ‘entertainment’ in any sense.

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