The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN: My Ghost Friend
Spooky title, huh?
Well, this isn’t about the dearly departed that comes back to haunt.
Even though this is partly about Casper the ghost.
I can’t remember if it was because there was a cartoon I watched or because my dad would tell me stories about him but my very first imaginary friend was Casper the friendly ghost.
Casper would go with me anywhere I went. To school, to the store, outside when I rode my bike with the training wheels, everywhere. He was my constant companion. Sometimes he would just sit and listen to me as I sat on the front porch or in my bed after my bedtime came. I could tell him anything.
Then, one day, Casper went away and never came back. I guess I just lost interest in my friendly friend. I hope he went to some other kid that needed him.
After Casper, I had different imaginary friends. There was the Monkees, the cast of Gilligan’s Island, Mork from Ork, the cast of Star Wars, Indiana Jones (bet you didn’t see that coming), Rick Deckard from Blade Runner (only after I saw it for the first time on a local TV station when I recorded it on my VCR), the cast of Smokey and the Bandit, the A-Team, and various characters of G.I. Joe. Depending on what I was in to at that moment would dictate who I would have around and going with me to make me feel more comfortable.
Oh, yes. I had a vivid imagination but I always felt more comfortable with my imaginary friends than I did with friends of flesh and blood.
I would talk with them and, yes, they would answer back. I even got pretty good with voices because of these imaginary interactions. Sometimes they would be with me even if I was around a bunch of people. I would talk to them mentally but ever so often, I would get caught making a face from a reaction one of my friends said and somebody that was actually sitting with me, one of those flesh and blood humans, would think it was being directed at them. I would think of something on the fly to explain as the imaginary ones laughed at me.
They were good-natured laughs. They even knew how ridiculous it all was.
As I got older, they all went away….mostly.
Every now and then, an imaginary pal would show up when I was feeling lost and alone. I would drive around and they would be sitting next to me to keep me company. Conversations were kept at a minimal if it was daylight. And if there was a conversation, it was just a lot of mumbling.
Unless, of course, I was driving on the interstate or out in the country. Then the shame and embarrassment would slide away and conversations would become more ‘normal’.
This may all seem a bit crazy, that a full grown man would admit to having imaginary friends. I get it. I do. It seemed to make more since when I was a kid, to talk to my ‘friends’ than just talking to myself (which I did that, too…and still do).
But, try and wrap yourself around this one. I think it made me a smarter person. I think it helped me in real social interactions with real people. I believe it helped me understand things quicker and accept things with more ease. And it helped me problem solve.
I’m a man in my mid-forties and I still talk to myself. I occasionally have conversations with, not just to myself, but an imaginary friend. But now, it’s not just for companionship but to figure out how to go about doing certain things or having certain conversations with somebody. And sometimes it’s about living a dream I want to have. One is telling certain people that I finally made, I’m a published author.
Or winning the lottery. There’s that one, too.
I know it’s more accepted when we’re children to have these figments of our imagination pals and to have them involved when we played. There are some who will look down on me for saying this out loud. It’ll seem crazy. Maybe you’ll wonder if I need to invite myself to the local mental physicality.
Or you might be just like me and glad that somebody said it. Maybe you talk to buddies and pals of an imaginary substance.
It’s OK. Keep it secret if you want to. Talk to them in the car on the way to work early in the morning when it’s dark. It doesn’t make you crazy.
But, to be honest, now there are fewer of those conversations. Sometimes it’s just an imaginary camera and I look at it with a Jim-from-the-Office look when I hear something outrageous. I give the wide-eyed or roll the eyes look to that camera and the millions of imaginary people on the other side. I am on my own sitcom. And sometimes it’s my own depressing drama. Sometimes a little of both. I wonder who’s on the other side watching my life. I bet it’s full of all of those imaginary friends I had that moved on. Maybe it’s their way of keeping in touch with what’s going on in my life.
One last thing I’m going to say about it is this. If you have kids and you catch them talking to somebody that isn’t there, don’t call them out on it. Let them bring it up to you. What they are doing is showing an intelligence in social interaction. They’ll be better functioning humans in the world.
And maybe Casper will be there, being their friend.
Just don’t tick him off.
He is a ghost, remember? He knows how to do things.
Or, at least, that’s who I might have blamed some things on when I was little.
Maybe that’s why he left…..
October 5th, 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.