I was going to post this in “Creepy Random Stuff” or “Very Vaguely Creepy, The Sequel.” But it’s more than vaguely creepy, it was downright terrifying. I thought real raw naked fear deserved a thread of its own.
I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. It was the mid-1960s. There was a public information campaign warning kids away from blasting caps found at construction sites. (Does anyone remember that? Didn’t anyone ask the nincompoop construction workers why they went home at the end of the day leaving blasting caps lying around for kids to find?)
There were TV “spots” (commercials) like the one with Flipper, thrashing himself up onto the end of his tail in the water going “Ook! Ook!” or whatever Flipper used to say. A couple of kids poking around a construction site looked up. The announcer says, “That’s right, kids! Listen to Flipper! He’s warning you away from the BLASTING CAPS!”
There were full-page ads in the newspapers with pictures of blasting caps, saying “Kids, if you see one of these, don’t pick it up! You’ll blow your fingers off, you’ll blow your eyes out,” etc. I think even the hosts of kids’ TV shows got in on the campaign.
I don’t know if this was widespread, or just in Ohio where I lived.
Anyway, you can imagine the impact of this concentrated barrage of dire warnings on my wee mind. I couldn’t sleep at night for fear the blasting caps would get me as I lay in bed. I stayed some nights in constant terror that at any moment I’d be suddenly maimed for life. Or killed. The blasting cap menace lurked around every corner for all I knew. Maybe they’re under my bed!