Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Day I Killed my Childhood Hero

I’m a murderer of dreams. Not just any dreams, my own. I first came to this realisation at four years old when I found myself responsible for the assault and death of my, then, life long hero.

We were in the Killarney Ryan Hotel: one of those grey Irish establishments that promise you family-fun in the middle of nowhere. We were minding our own business eating dry-pizza or some other delicious cuisine deemed “fun” for under sixes, when the heckling began.

There were ten year olds near by and they were shouting abuse at an approaching figure.

I sat with my mouth hanging open as Barney the dinosaur shuffled forward, waving at everyone. It was like having a dream come true. My mother told me to go up to him but I was terrified that he wouldn't like me, shy of this giant dinosaur that cavorted across our TV screens on a daily basis.

He was making his way towards some steps. The restaurant was on two levels with a small set of steps dividing them. As he approached the step the ten year olds got louder and louder. Shouting insults at the poor dinosaur,

“You’re so big and purple.”

“Ha ha – I’m barney and I think I’m so cool.”

I was needless to say very upset with this behaviour so I decided to show Barney that someone still loved him. I raced forward and threw my arms around his legs to give him a reassuring hug. Only thing was that he reached the small step just as I hit his legs and went toppling over.

We both sat in the middle of the restaurant. I was blinking at a man in a purple dinosaur suit. The fall had caused Barney to lose his head.

“You’re not Barney,” I cried. Sitting in shock and wondering if Barney was all a lie. To make matters worse I was surrounded by ten year olds laughing hysterically and telling me how funny I was. I cried for a considerable amount of time. My parents would later explain that this was a pretend Barney, but nothing could take away the feeling that some part of my belief in that childhood hero had died.

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