Offbeat – 18 January 2013


There seem to be two accepted ways of dealing with children’s exposure to violence. The first is to shelter them from it by insisting that they watch ‘My Little Pony’ until they are earning their own way. The second seems to be to just hand over the Rob Zombie version of ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and let them get on with filling their receptive little minds with gore.

I remember clearly the run for the bed when I was really small, and jumping on it in terror. Every decent bed has a monster under it. The AmaXhosas even have bricks under the legs of the bed so that the monster doesn’t bump his or her head.
We weren’t exactly wealthy, so that bed was a good old steel divan, a fancy name for one of those things with the hard, cold iron sides, painted natty iron grey, and the saggy metal chains. It lasted about forever, in its sensible, economical way. I was well into my teens before the money stretched to a wooden bed.
The monster caused a major amount of pain, always to my knees and shins, and sometimes to my head, when the jump went wrong. I inflicted my revenge on that monster by only tidying under the bed every now and then, and by nurturing dust bunnies in the hopes that it would get asthma.