FEATURE — My sisters joke they knew I was falling hard for my now-husband when they heard two incredible facts: First, I willingly ate a hot dog he prepared, and second, I watched “The Blair Witch Project” with him.
You see, I’d sworn off the great mystery meat of the hot dog at the young age of three and a half, eschewing toddler norms, and had held steady in my aversion for over 20 years.
And then, I just don’t do scary. Not as a kid. Not as a teen. Not as an adult.
My single peer-pressured viewing of “Candyman” at a sleepover in the sixth grade still gives me decent pause.
Plus, the way I figure, that genetically gifted flight or fight response is a pretty fantastic thing. I don’t want to dull it with self-inflicted, elective creeps.
If only I lived in a household that agreed with me.
But I don’t.
In fact, all the menfolk in my house eat scary for breakfast. And think everyone else should too.
My husband is still perplexed why, several Halloweens ago, I threw myself wildly in front of his motorcycle and prevented him from looping around the neighborhood while dressed in a thick canvas blue jumpsuit and an old man mask with a machete strapped to his back.
And while I’ve been able to prevent many of those scares at-large (you’re welcome, neighbors), I still have to suffer through plenty of them at home.
One boy likes to hide behind doors and jump scare me. Another boy likes to casually launch into the plot of “It” anytime he has my captive audience. My husband likes to stand motionless outside my office window late at night until I catch his lurking form in my peripheral vision. And my dog likes to bark at nothing in the still of the night.
Maybe if I stopped screaming/swearing/flopping about they’d be inclined to stop. But I can’t do that. I won’t do that. Remember how much I cherish that fight or flight response?
But, in the spirit of October and Halloween, my boys keep hoping I’ll embrace what they’re peddling. And while I will do my part in our multi-family “Stranger Things” mega costume (I’m thinking a sexy Russian soldier or maybe a cherry Slurpee – definitely NOT a Demogorgon!), I just won’t go that deep into the dark.
Instead, I’ll go light with my own list of not-so-scary things I currently fear (in no particular order).
- Explaining –in my not so fluent Spanish– to the Enterprise rental car agent how exactly I ran into a big, blue column in a little parking garage in León, Spain.
- Almost missing an international flight because my youngest brought his flip comb that apparently looks like a switchblade under the airport screening monitors.
- Costume stores on Halloween.
- Squirrels. Or, rather one squirrel in particular. One squirrel who taunts my dog every morning, who in turn tries to run up the telephone line with me in tow to catch the fluffy little nemesis.
- Sticking my hands in the muck of pumpkin carcasses.
- Book reports.
- Candy corn.
- Ever shortening days.
- My kids growing up too fast.
And, last but not least, eating hot dogs. No matter if it’s for the man I love. Hot dogs will always scare me.
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