Apparently when I was 9, I made a bookmark as part of some bookmark-making program at the local book depository. If you know my mom, it should come as no surprise that she saved this bookmark. It's a classic three-part cartoon. Let's take a look.
In part one, some dude -- who must have been Jean Claude Van Damme, based on how he's sitting -- is just hanging out doing the splits under a tree. He is a eunuch, and he's wearing only black leggings and black arm bands around his rather paltry biceps. His right hand has apparently been gnawed off, recently, probably by a bobcat, while his left hand has three very plump fingers. His hair is modeled after Shemp's. The guy is pretty happy, but senses that something is amiss, as evidenced by his thought that "Something is going on up there." The sidebar between the first and second frame indicates that something may be rustling. Maybe that's the cause of his concern.
The second part is a little screwy. The eunuch has acquired a shirt (also black). His right hand doesn't seem to be bothering him, although he must have punched the tree with his left hand because his fingers have begun to swell. His left leg seems to be losing mass. The mescaline he has ingested makes him think "I wonder what is happening."
In the confusing conclusion, all the leaves on the tree have fallen onto the eunuch to reveal that the tree is not a tree at all, but actually the devil's pitchfork. And because Satan has a very dark sense of humor, the leaves have fallen in the shape of a very fat human penis. On top of a eunuch no less! Sensing that he has been the butt of a sadistic joke, all the poor guy can do is think "me and my BIG mind." Even the eunuch has no idea why the "big" is emphasized, but it's probably no matter, as I think it assumes that he suffocated on account of pretty severe outdoor allergies.
As if that little piece of Freudian shit wasn't enough to cause some retroactive concern, my mom also had an autobiographical manifesto entited "My Favorite Place," which Reed wrote when he was probably somewhere between 7 and 9. Technically this wasn't a birthday present, but after you read it, you'll understand why I'm considering reading it to be a present. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did (note: I have take the liberty to correct the several spelling errors that plagued the original):
"This is my favorite place. My favorite place is a long closet. There is lots of colors. There is no sound. There is no one with me. I feel happy and safe. I sit and talk to myself. I smell nothing."
Which sentence was it that made my parents think "this is normal"? Was is the one about being happy and safe? Your child's favorite place is a silent, vibrantly colored closet where he sits alone and talks to himself. He smells nothing. And the homosexual undertones are pretty obvious: closet, "lots of colors" (i.e., all the colors of the rainbow). No matter. My parents thought this Closet Manifesto was completely fine. The closet was devoid of odor and sound. This was his favorite place. And what should have been the biggest warning light is that all of our closets were short.