“How to establish an irrational fear of grasshoppers in your small child” by Erin Pulsipher

How to establish an irrational fear of grasshoppers in your small child (1980 Edition)

Place the playpen in front of the television set downstairs on the orange shag carpet. It is ideal tov place it so that the white plastic bars obscure ⅓ of the screen. The afternoon movie will then play.vThe movie will need to be a horror movie from 1957 called The Beginning of the End, a movie that did poorly at the box office. Your toddler (daughters are best for this method) will try to make sense of what’s playing. Pretend to leave the room. This movie will feature giant grasshoppers terrorizing the city of Chicago. Your child will likely know what grasshoppers are if she was born in the winter (January is best for this method). Your toddler will not know what Chicago is. Unless you live there,
in which case, abandon this method. You will have to establish a different irrational fear. (For ants, see Them! 1954). Let your child watch as the giant grasshoppers crash through windows, impervious to bullets. When your child whimpers, be pleased, the method will be working. If you are unsure whether the irrational fear is deep-seeded or not, at the end of the film, take your child into the backyard. Discreetly cup a grasshopper in your hands. Hold your closed hands up to your toddler’s face. Wonder aloud what might be hidden in mommy’s hands. Open your hands. Smile.


Erin Pulsipher grew up in New Mexico and has since lived all over the American west. Her work has appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review. She is an alumna of Creighton University’s MFA program where she served as as managing editor for the 2016 & 2017 issues of Blue River. She now lives with her husband and their dog in Fairplay, Colorado.


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