Growing up Hippie, Second Installment

My dad told me a lot of stories when I was a kid. I'm not sure why. Probably just because it was fun. When I say "stories," I guess I really mean, "lies," but they were all pretty harmless lies, so I'm not sure they were really lies. Can't you lie to kids now and then? What about that Santa Claus thing? (I don't lie too often, but Little Z may currently believe that she came from an egg, like her favorite penguin.) He told me so many stories about so many things, that when he told me that wood came from trees, I absolutely did not believe him. Who could believe such insanity?

Many of my dad's stories had to do with the city around us. Among other things, he told me:

* If the bridges were ever out, we could go across the bay in either my Grandpa's or Uncle David's car, because Volkswagens float.

* Those trees over by city hall are actually planted upside down. They raise them, then dig them up and turn them over.

* There are no cemeteries in San Francisco, save the military one. (This is actually true!)

* A dinosaur guards the San Francisco Mint.

That last one is really embarrassing. I mean, how could I ever believe that? I would always try to find the dinosaur, whenever we went by there,
"Where is the dinosaur?"
"Oh, he's off around the other side."

I fell for that crap!

I still believed in the dinosaur even after we moved to the suburbs, when I started school and we went on a field trip to the San Francisco Mint. I still remember the bus ride, when we road through the neighborhood that had all the racy movies. The first theatre's marquee said, "X RATED MOVIES!" And all the kids on the bus said,

"Oooooo...." The next sign said,

"XX RATED MOVIES!" And all the kids on the bus said,

"OooooHooo......" The next sign said,

"XXX RATED MOVIES!" And all the kids on the bus cheered!

Anyway, they gave us a great tour of the mint, but the whole time I was wondering when they were going to show us where the dinosaur lived. Surely it would have to be a big sort of room or something, right? Luckily, I was too shy to actually interrupt the tour and ask out loud where the dinosaur was kept. It was partly because I was shy, and partly because I actually had this nagging dread, the sort of sinking feeling that maybe, just maybe...

There was no dinosaur guarding the San Francisco Mint.

Dad also told me that they took "gullible" out of the dictionary, on account of that indian chief named "Chief Gullible" being so offended.

I'm not the only one in the world, right? I mean, you've fallen for something once, haven't you? Anyone? Anyone?


  1. My dad once drove me past an oil platform off Pacific Coast Highway and told me it was Hawaii. I believed him, too, and when we got home I told my mom that Dad took me to Hawaii.

  2. Everything I told you is true. Well, except for the dinosaur story.

  3. When I was about 10 I asked my mother where pink lemonade comes from, and she told me pink lemons. Sounds reasonable, right? Fast forward about 7 years...we're in the grocery store together and I asked her why the grocery store never has pink lemons. She laughed so hard she had to stop pushing the shopping cart.

  4. Well, Holly, chocolate milk comes from brown cows, right? At least that's what my dad says...

    Gina, your story made me feel a lot better.

    b0b- you're still full of it!

  5. All the cemeteries are in Colma, which wasn't strange to me, but I worked with people who avoided Colma for this very reason.
    My mother started every story about her childhood with: "When I was a little boy..." I honestly believed that I would grow up to be a man and my brother would be a woman. Maybe it was the seventies and all the "new age" parenting styles, but a lot of my friends parents would tell them crazy lies as well. My mom wasn't a hippie, but she was very new age-y. And my word verification is "kooke", which probably sums it all up.

  6. Pinga(Pingu)is sort of disturbing in an Eraserhead kind of way.

  7. Love it.

    Mostly I developed insane theories of my own, which my parents failed to persuade me weren't valid. Like that people aged backwards and I was older than them, or that if God could send a baby to Mary even though she wasn't praying for one then all of us were at risk.

    The best one was my uncle's friend with the giant port wine birthmark which he told us was a daddylonglegs bite.

  8. Christina: I'm so sorry your mom convinced you you would grow up to be a man. (You aren't a man, are you?) It's no wonder that Gen X people are all so disillusioned and skeptical. I think our parents believed they were teaching us to "challenge authority". Ha.

    Lou: I think Pingu is wonderful and Eraserhead was some sort of torture. It's interesting how different people's tastes can be!

    Glory von Hathor: The Mary/ baby impregnation theory is genius, in its own way. I'm really glad I didn't think of that! I would have worried a lot!

  9. My dad told me that when archaeologists discovered King Tut's tomb, they found Twinkies inside his sarcophagus. And they were still good!

    Totally believed him and bragged about new-found knowledge to my whole 3rd grade class the next day at school.

    You can guess how that went down :-/

  10. The submarine at Disneyland. I was really amazed to think how they must have engineered that deep, deep hole so that the s. could sink 50 fathoms undersea ... so on our Senior H.S. trip, on probably my 10th trip to the Happiest Place On Earth, was I disillusioned to find out ... THAT THE SUB TOOLS AROUND ON THE SURFACE OF A LITTLE POND.

  11. The lies, the lies. They just never end, do they?