My mother used to be terrified I'd one day join a cult.
Sounds ridiculous, but who could blame her, really? Back in the 70s the media fixated on Satan worshippers, Jonestown, and the Manson Family, not to mention all the teenagers high on Angel Dust hallucinating roaches crawling all over them. It probably seemed like weirdos would creep into your window at any moment and carry your kids away.
All that percolated in her brain throughout my childhood and heightened when I started wearing a lot of black and listening to the Dead Kennedys. Definite proof of my cult activities presented itself as a cassette tape on the passenger seat of my '68 Mustang:
What could all those symbols mean? Nothing good, god knows!
So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that she flipped out in front of all my friends at the public pool when she caught me sipping a Dr. Pepper and reading Dianetics in 9th grade. Remember those mysterious volcanic TV commercials about "discovering the answer to it all?" I just didn't want to miss out.
She should've sat down, slathered on sunscreen, and waited for me to lose interest--it only took about four pages or so. Bor-ing. Instead, she screamed DON'T YOU KNOW THAT'S A CULT? I FORBID YOU TO JOIN A CULT!
OMG. Time stopped. Some girls laughed. The cute boy who'd been checking me out abandoned his flirtation with Crazy Mother Cult Girl. I could never return to Fassnight Park Swimming Pool ever again.
And mom? Just so you know--no cult activities to this day. Although if I had to choose one, it would be the hare krishnas. They seem fun.
That was her deal: cult fear. I wonder what's going to be my phobia? 'Cause you know it'll be something once I have two teenage daughters to stress over. Any bets? Maybe I'll have nightmares about them starring in a reality show?
Has your mom ever embarrassed you?