I’ve often praised my parents for the excellent job they did raising me, and for the lengths to which they were willing to go to humor my geeky interests. My father, for instance, would take rated-R movies like Predator and Aliens and, using two VCRs, make me PG-rated versions of the movies by cutting the really violent scenes.
However, every parent makes the occasional mistake. Fortunately, I could be bought.
One of my favorite childhood toys was a Pegasus from Mattel’s Clash of the Titans line. (Fun fact: Clash of the Titans and Raiders of the Lost Ark came out on the same day–June 12, 1981.) But the story of how I got that Pegasus is one of those epic adventures of childhood.
The year? 1984 (I think). I’m around five or six years old, and my baby sister and I are in the car with my dad. He’s driving to a hotel a few towns over from our apartment; the idea is, he’s going to surprise my mom with a weekend getaway. Away from us kids, you see. He just wants a brochure so he can review the room prices.
So he pulls up in front of what he thinks is the lobby of the hotel, figuring he’ll run in, grab a brochure and be back out within sixty seconds. He leaves the car running with my sister and me in the car.
Unfortunately, it turns out that what he thought was the lobby wasn’t the lobby. He turns to the nearest bellhop or whatever, and the guy makes it sound like the lobby’s just down the next hallway.
Turns out this isn’t the case, and soon my dad is lost within the labyrinthine halls of the hotel. He swears he was only gone five minutes, but knowing my dad as I do, I’m sure it was at least ten.
However long it was, by the time he got back to the car it had been more than enough time for me to panic, roll down the window, flag down a passing policeman and tell him I didn’t know where my dad was (it should be noted that while I did call the cop over, I refused to unlock the door or get out of the car); and then for that policeman to call my mother at our apartment and ask her if she knew where her kids were, then threaten to charge my dad with child endangerment when he showed up.
Fortunately, my dad’s able to explain everything to the cop’s satisfaction. I’m sure my sister was too young to have any idea what was going on, but I’m now a nervous wreck (apparently I’ve been anxious my entire life). To make it up to little Poe , my dad takes me to a department store–it was probably Zayre or Caldor, both long gone now–and lets me pick out a toy. I choose the Pegasus from Clash of the Titans.
I do vaguely remember the incident, though not much beyond a few images–the rolled-down window, the cop’s uniform. But the event remains indelibly tied to that Pegasus toy (which I later replaced, as soon above, via eBay), and whenever I catch Clash of the Titans to this day, I remember the time I almost got my dad arrested.