Dupré: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Long before Jack Skellington was even a demented, twisted germ of an idea inside Tim Burton’s head, I had my own Nightmare Before Christmas.

You see, I wanted a large dinosaur model of a T. Rex. However, at this point in my life, I had been having bad dreams after simply being told details about a horror movie by a friend of mine. It was called “Bugs” and was about bugs that came from the bowels of the Earth and set fire to anything they touched. (let’s just say, I made sure that I never saw it…EVER!) Considering my nightmares, my mother wisely thought having this large reptilian monstrosity in my bedroom might cause me some moderate grief at nighttime. Moderate – HA! Let’s just say I was not the bravest of souls as a very young man (My coat of arms should have proudly displayed a large chicken flanked by a security blanket and two night lights, rampant on a field of yellow). But I knew I really, really, really – did I say ‘really’? – really wanted that dinosaur, and I convinced mom that I would be okay.

And kids know everything, right. I know I did! And our parents know bupkis, right? (It’s Yiddish, look it up). Of course, right!

So after opening my one early present for Christmas 1974, and unconcerned for my own fragile psyche (that’s just fragile, not “fra-GEE-lay,” which wasn’t going to be a thing for another 9 years yet), I sat down to assemble the king of all dinosaurs and future consumer of Jurassic Park lawyers. As I worked, my concentration was ferocious, just like my subject. I didn’t want to disrespect the King with shoddy workmanship. Finally, I completed the great work. His torso was enormous – his tail, gargantuan. He ended up being about half as tall as I was (and I was a tall drink of water for a fourth grader). I remember gently running my fingers over his pearly whites, thinking how glad I was they have been gone for millions of years. And, yeah, his hands were small, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him!

So having done a really good job, I went to bed. And I slept. And I slept some more. And then the “Bugs” started to attack and I bolted up in my bed. Phew, just another dream. Let me get up to get a couple of cookies and a glass of milk.

However, I never had any cookies that night, because as I turned over and got out of bed, I saw the king of all dinosaurs and future consumer of Jurassic Park lawyers GLOWING IN THE DARK and threatening to put an abrupt end to the Dupré family name. I showed off the tremendous power in my lungs – I screamed until my Mommy came to save me. She conquered the mighty Tyrannosaurus by simply picking it up and moving it to the other side of the house (where it couldn’t get me anymore).

I regained the use of my brain and vocal chords (and bowels), and eventually resumed normal breathing.

I say all that just to say this:

I miss my mom, especially around the holidays. She loved re-telling this story, and we would laugh raucously at it. I would undergo all the nightmares and the glowing T. Rex all over again, if it were with her also.

Enjoy your moms (and dads, like me) this Christmas. And more importantly, boys and girls, “No Glow-In-The-Dark Reptiles (or wire hangers or Pauly Shore movies)…EVER!!!”

Gary Wayne Dupré is enjoying his second career as the Administrative Assistant for L’OBSERVATEUR and can be reached at gary.dupre@lobservateur.com or (985) 652-9545. He’s an old man, so STAY OFF HIS LAWN!