Go Forth & Nerd! Ep. 44 - The Time I Was Kidnapped
The Time I was Kidnapped
Welcome back to Go Forth & Nerd! My name is Jesse Bray also know as Mr. Bray and I am you’re resident nerd.
So Today’s podcast is somewhat of a intense subject since it deals with a very real and scary issue. And it’s not my intent to freak everyone out with some sorta nightmarish encounter. My hope is in this podcast to have a real conversation about the nature of fear. And I wanna talk about how a He-man toy got me kidnapped.
I’ll jump right into it to alleviate any anxiousness you’re having in listening to this story playing out. Firstly I’m still alive and secondly nothing icky happened to me, thank God!
The Time I was Kidnapped
I have to pause here.. telling this story is 11 out of 10 on the icky creep-o meter! But this story does have a happy ending.
When I was 4years old, my parents, still together at the time took me to the mall. At one point I somehow got separated from them. So here I was a 4yr old fair skinned kid with curly red hair clutching a He-Man action figure lost at the mall. Then along
came this guy that saw me and said “wanna come with me and I’ll give you more He-man toys?” Being 4yrs old I didn’t know any better and my parents hadn’t instilled in me the whole stranger danger mantra. So I took this man’s hand and we walked around the mall for maybe a good 20-30mins. Then eventually we got outside. As we were approaching his vehicle the “nice guy that was gonna give me a He-Man toy” got handcuffed and I was given back to my seemingly upset for no reason parents. This was an extremely close call. And as frantic as my folks were I was too young to understand the fear in there eyes at what just happen. Little did I know that every parent’s worst nightmare was taking place and that I was immensely fortunate to be returned safe and sound to my parents unharmed. When you’re a child you don’t know any better nor that evil incarnate maybe disguised as a friendly voice.
Interesting enough 4yrs old was an incredibly important time for my education in the world. Though I was never scared during the whole mall incident around the same time I did encounter a event that rattled my cage forever and began my life long fear of snakes. The story goes like this I had to go potty. I was a big boy and I didn’t need any help so I went to the restroom by myself. I lifted up the toilet seat to go pee pee then out from behind the toilet was a massive snake! It leaped out to bite me and I ran out of the bathroom with my pants around my ankles screaming in terror! My Grandpa and my Dad took care of the snake and my Grandmother comforted me. It was here that I clearly understood FEAR! I remember even having nightmares for quite sometime afterwards. This is not an uncommon story. Many people will encounter a spider or snake, or creepy crawly as a child and that fear will carry itself far into adulthood. Yet to me I find these two stories an interesting parallel: as a 4yr old I had no sense for the “snake in the grass” so to speak of the creep guy at the mall trying to lure me away with a He-Man action figure yet there were no scales on my eyes when faced the terrifying encounter of the monster snake trying to eat me behind the toilet.
Fear is a powerful motivator - it can drive us to smother our love ones that lack the wisdom of the perils of the real world or it can haunt us for decades from our experiences. I remember one time my Grandfather would sit us kids down and we’d watch these animated bible stories and one particular episode’s story always struck me as odd. It was the tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adman and Eve we’re told not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil or they would die. Most people are aware of this story. Adam and Eve ended up eating this fruit and realized they we’re naked, then it was party’s over dudes as the G-man boots them from paradise. However the part of the story that always puzzled me as a kid was the point when Eve spoke with the Serpent that deceives them to eat the forbidden fruit. In my young mind I couldn’t understand why anyone would not completely freak out and run for the hills at the sight of a talking snake! NOPE! I’m out! This freaking snake is talking! There’s another origin tale from the Greeks about the first human woman named Pandora, it also has a sorta blame women for all the woes of the world message like the bible story. Yet in this story Pandora was responsible for a box she was told not to open. When she inevitably opens this box death and pestilence are released. She finally shuts the box concealing that last remnant of good - hope is still left in the box.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to a cross road in my life we’re I’ve asked myself some hard questions. Why am I afraid of something? I’ve shared colorful stories of stomach ailments and homelessness and all sorts of other ups and downs of life but I realized FEAR is an unpopular topic. People don’t like talking about it. But fear is a real part of our everyday life. Some of it rational and some of it irrational. Yet I truly think there is a confident line you can walk knowing the potential danger of a thing yet not be consumed by the fear of it. I like to believe that is called Wisdom. I also see myself in Eve as in the Eden story that perhaps that story is about the braveness of ignorance like myself not questioning the motives of the predator at the mall when I was 4yrs old.
So this week I wanna challenge you to have a real conversation with someone you know, love and trust about a fear you have. That could be of fear of snakes, bees, blood, Clint Howard or a plethora of potentially other obscure things that trouble you. As silly as this sound I have a fear of bees too. Not at old as my fear of snakes - I’ve just discovered for me that is that gingers and bees don’t mix. But this spring I’ve decided I’m not gonna let bees ruin my picnics and enjoy time outside with Katie as rare as sunshine is in Portland. The point is that if we’re brave and openly talk about our scary stories we can grow to not keep reliving them in our minds and perhaps have the wisdom to prevent future events instead of becoming prisoners.
I understand this is a heavy stuff and I thank you for being brave and listening to this episode! I want to thank you all so much being apart of my awesome orbit of friendships! Please do take care and remember to Go Forth & Nerd!