Scary? Rasputin in a monkey mask.
I’m just going to prepare you now that I’m really into Halloween. So expect many Halloween-themed posts ahead. Clear through January. Yes, I’m working on one now that’s all about candy corn. I might trash it though as I know it’ll tick off a lot of candy corn fans. Although, candy corn fans are probably also Family Circus fans (those two go hand-in-hand). In which case, I’ve probably lost the candy corn fans long ago.
Yep, this Halloween post is just the tip of the plastic witch’s nose. And speaking of witches – not scary. Not even. I mean, I’m already driving around suburbia and seeing those monstrosities of the Party America decoration-in-a-box line – draped around trees, garages and porches, coming out of trash dumpsters (actually, that one was real). Cardboard skeletons, black cat string o’ lights, Frankenstein trash bags – what’s that? Not scary, that’s what.
Now these things down below here? These are scary. Terrifying, in fact. Yes, and each of them in some special way has tormented me since childhood. Perhaps I should hang one on my door?
1. People in turn of the century or Civil War-era photographs. Why? Easy: A.) They’re all dead. And they’re looking out at us, the living, with utter contempt. I can almost hear them. You think you’re better than me, you oxygen-breathing, above-ground bitch? B.) Sometimes their eyes appear white and hollowed-out like Little Orphan Annie, C.) Occasionally the primitive cameras caught someone in motion, making them appear to be floating off the page like a space alien.
Also, even the photographs themselves give me the heebie-jeebies. They always smell of either burnt baloney (which is the subconscious reason I don’t eat pork) or the musty wood buildings at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska.
2. Monkeys. Oh, where do I start. Well, there’s always . . .
. . . the zombie-eyed monkey bashing cymbals toy,
Double the trouble: Organ grinder monkey in a turn of the century photograph.
Triple the trauma. Man pretending to be an organ grinder monkey in a turn of the century photograph.
3. People in plastic masks with the small eye cut-outs. What evil lurks behind this Wonder Woman mask that appears to be laughing at me right now? I’m so relieved that these are mostly a thing of the past — due to the fact that the microscopic eyeholes never allowed you to see oncoming traffic or razor blade-protruding Snickers bars.
Double the trouble: Monkey plastic mask with the small eye cut-outs.
Triple the trauma: Monkey plastic mask with the small eye cut-outs in a turn of the century photograph (okay, technically a gorilla).
4. Rasputin. I had a photograph of him that I was all ready to stick in here for you so you could see what I mean (because I’m guessing you don’t remember your 11th grade history class on the Russian Revolution). But I just can’t do it. Because I believe he truly is the “holy devil” and “the monk who wouldn’t die” and I’m not about to piss him off. Click here instead. You’re on your own.
5. Ventriloquist dummies. These by far trump antique china dolls in the scary toy genre. I have never known a ventriloquist who wasn’t secretly, deathly afraid of his dummy. Though, granted, I’ve never known a ventriloquist. And for good reason.
6. Wicker-backed antique wheelchairs. My husband forced me to put this in here. He said, C’mon — it’s so you! This one defines you down to the very core of your past-oriented paranoia. Why don’t you add that one to the list? Because then I’d have to explain it. And I can’t. So I’ll just throw it on here and hope you’ll look past the randomness of this phobia.
7. People in mascot costumes. Particularly the newfangled ones that are filled with air. They’re collapsible and they gyrate like they’re having an epileptic fit. All the while smiling. I once saw this one right here collapse its entire head all the way into its body in order to fit through my office door. All the while smiling. Well, I guess I can’t be certain on the smiling part, considering his entire head was pulled into his body.
8. Identical twin children in matching clothes. Believe me, I was once like you in thinking this is a delightful occurrence. Oh, if only I could return to those innocent days where I thought,“Oh, cute! Two of you!” And then something changed. Hmmm . . . I wonder why?
Don’t worry, Mom. You can exhale here – I never saw The Shining on your watch. No, you only allowed me to see the PG-rated horror films. Like Poltergeist. At age six. Have I told you all about this already?
Double the trouble: Identical twins in matching clothes in a turn of the century photograph.
What you didn’t see on this list:
Clowns. Of course they scare me. But this is sooooo yesterday’s phobia. Everyone is scared of clowns these days and it’s getting to be dull-dull-dull to even talk about. Plus, that was half the reason they were even scary to begin with. Because they were not supposed to be scary. Scary as in John Wayne Gacy, the really nice guy next door. I think by now we’re all on to them and their evil scheming and it’s simply time to move on.
But if we’re talking a clown that is, say, a ventriloquist dummy too? That’s another story.