It’s not scary
I went to Dryden, N.Y. last weekend to see the My Little Pony movie with Shanell and her kids.
And my kids.
I mean, obviously.
I wouldn’t go see My Little Pony without my kids.
She told herself.
Anyway, Dryden is this weird little town that was a perfect place to visit in October, actually, because in the 1990’s — a decade that I’ve arguably never outgrown (but that’s another story) – Dryden was known as the Village of the Damned.
For a girl who would giddily take her chances in Silent Hill if it were a real place (and Centralia isn’t Silent Hill, because I’ve been there and there are no charcoal babies, not anywhere), a girl who would pay cash money to visit an American Horror Story season one theme park, a town that people once called the Village of the Damned in a non-ironic way was pretty intriguing.
Dryden actually isn’t all that scary, though.
It’s actually kind of cute.
Like a baby shark or a tame bat or something.
And honestly, since I became a mom, I don’t think a village could actually scare me.
Even one “of the damned.”
Unless it was. like, filled with children for whom I was expected to be responsible and provide adequate physical and emotional care.
Now, that would be one heck of a terror attraction.
The thing about parenthood is that, even if you’re a textbook horror fanatic – and I horror so hard, y’all – it takes every fear you’ve ever harbored, even the ones you’ve never admitted before, and it throws them down this gnarly rabbit hole, and when they fall out the other end they are unrecognizable.
I watched The Exorcist for the first time somewhere around the age of 12 or 13. The only thing that scared me was when the devil child spider-walked down the stairs, and honestly, it wasn’t even a real fear. I just have a general dislike of any stop-motion or unnatural movement gimmickry as a result of that viewing experience. But most people do. It’s a whole thing called the Uncanny Valley. It’s the same reason lifelike dolls creep a lot of people out. The brain senses that something isn’t right before your ability to reason with yourself can catch up and then the brain recoils in horror before you can prepare yourself emotionally.
Google Scholar it. It’s fascinating.
But it’s not scary.
Not once you’ve almost washed your face with a washcloth your child wiped her butt on and then hid amongst the other, clean washcloths, like some sort of horrible Johnny Knoxville-inspired prank from the bowels of Perdition itself.
Likewise, serial killers.
I used to love and fear Michael Myers, in equal measure, in all his fictional, emo, illogical awfulness.
Halloween I, from 1978, was my freaking jam once I stepped into the realm of amateur horror studies. It freaked me right the heck out that there could be a man who would respond to being shot…with a bullet, you guys…by just getting up and stabbing you some more. Even as a fictional character, I was in terrified awe of such a legendary being.
Today? I wouldn’t hesitate for one hot second to knock knock that stupid stabby clown over with one solid tap from my bare fist if he even so much as attempted to come between me and 1) a cup of coffee (before 5 p.m.) or 2) a glass of wine (after 5 p.m., because I have standards, people).
In fact, I am confident that Michael Myers would run from me if he made the poor life choice of swaggering into my life before my kids are on the bus in the morning.
Because don’t nobody want to interact with mama before them kids on that school bus.
Not even them kids.
You’re kidding me, right?
You know the only time the phrase “they’re coming to get you, Barbara” would upset me?
If by “they” you mean my kids before the alarm goes off or the sun comes up in the morning.
That’s horror, you guys.
Give me a reanimated cadaver crawling at a moderate pace in my general direction around noon over my kids before dawn.
Any old day of the week.
Go ahead. No, honestly. Have at it, hoss. Suck my blood. Go to town, for real though. Nothing else in, on, or around my body is mine and mine alone anymore, either.
Oh, the wolfman. I’m terrified.
Except not. Terrified. Not even a little bit.
If the wolfman came at me right now, today, I’d smack him in the face with a baseball bat and throw him in front of the henchmen from Sallie Mae.
He’s an appetizer to those people.
Collection calls. Student loan default. Head lice. School fundraisers.
These are the things parents fear.
Everything else is just an amusing distraction from the abject horror that is life after the age of 30 with one or more child.
If you can handle parent teacher conferences, pink eye, elementary school table manners, and/or Christmas with kids, then you’re basically invincible.