Stranger Danger and Other PSAs

I’ll always remember the excitement when, usually on a cold winter’s morning, the whole school would be summoned into the assembly hall to watch a video about safety; be it stranger danger, railway safety or any other form of safety we should all be observing.

If my memory serves me well, I used to sit in awe at the videos. They used to intrigue me, but not in their desired manner. I used to fantasise about how it would feel to get a blast of power-line strength electricity, how it would feel to set fire to something so dramatically, but my all time favourite were my fantasies about being the child offered the sweets from the shady looking stranger. I used to almost get turned on about the idea of being kidnapped and whisked off into the unknown by a complete stranger; I used to try and imagine the horror my parents would go through in my absence, the new life I would have if I wasn’t murdered or raped by my kidnapper, and then there was the fantasy about actually being raped and murdered. I guess all of these fantasies were early markers of my disturbed mind, but they certainly kept me warm at night.

So did the videos have a profound learning effect on me? No, I still went on to start fires in two churches, I still have the urge to jab a mental coat hanger into a plug socket, I still smoke and take drugs, and in glorious fulfilment of my ultimate fantasy, I still got into a car with a complete stranger. I guess luckily for me, the car I chose to jump into as I was running away from home at the age of six was driven by an upstanding member of society and I was soon reunited with my panicked mother, but I still got the buzz I’d desired. My six year old mind running wild with blessed fear that any minute I would be on the motorway being rushed away into the unknown, without knowing if that unknown would be kind or cruel. I repeated the action years later when I was older and in my twenties, and that did have the frill of being whisked onto the motorway and ending up in a complete weirdo’s house, but that is a different story.

I still have all these fantasies as an adult, only the chances of fulfilment grow weaker with each passing day, so at the end of the day, all I have to say to these Public Safety Announcements is: Thank you for the pleasure you gave me as a child.

Stranger Danger and Other PSAs was published on author Dennis Cooper’s The Weaklings blog, originally titled: Dom Lyne presents… Stranger Danger and Other PSAs.

Copyright © Dominic Lyne, 2012

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