DON’T ASK WHY- Confessions of a real teenage weenie

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DAVID VOGEL
The other day I found myself listening to some friends describing a few recent horror movies they had seen. I contributed very little to the conversation, because I have never actually seen a scary movie.

The most I said was, “They did what to his face?” and, “I think I need to lie THUD.” The thudding is me hitting the floor as I pass out.

I admit it: I’m a weenie.

Recently, I’ve started watching the Discovery Channel’s six-part series “A Haunting,” in which every episode features a new set of people and a new set of demons.

Basically, they tell the story of someone whose house, business, etc., is haunted by evil spirits, and their attempts to get rid of them. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, they dramatize the whole thing with a narrator whose voice sounds like he and Stephen King would get along really well.

An average episode goes like this, perhaps with a character like “Tracy”….

Tracy’ had been feeling ill for the last several nights. She had been complaining of symptoms such as soreness, violent scratches on her skin and quotation marks around her name.

Late one night, Tracy was startled from her sleep by whispering voices. She sat up and tried to wake Brent, her husband, but to no avail.

Tracy slowly climbed out of her bed. She could feel the presence of the dead around her as she shuffled down the hallway, not turning on a single light as she went.

Tracy stopped cold: a black figure holding a hamburger glided smoothly past her. She felt a sense of foreboding, possibly because of the eerie stillness of the house, or the stage equipment shining blue light into her living room, or the fact that the script told her to.

In true horror-entertainment style, Tracy and her family do absolutely nothing to escape the haunting. All they do is consult spiritual specialists, who need new agents so they can get into better shows.

Yet Tracy continues down her hallway, oblivious to the fact that at anytime she is going to see another ghost, causing her to scream, which automatically triggers a commercial break.

So as I’m cringing every other second, knowing that at any moment Tracy is going to run into the black figure, I’m thinking, “If this woman had the brains of a ferret she would grab her kids and run off the set right now.”

Meanwhile, Tracy is probably thinking, “Sure I’m a moron, but at least I’m not dumb enough to watch this.”

And Tracy is right. I should not be watching these kinds of shows because-and this is really hard for a teenage guy to admit-I believe them. As a kid, I couldn’t watch the “Wizard of Oz” for fear that the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys would come to get me.

I know it’s stupid. The part of my brain that took the PLAN and PSAT tests this year keeps telling me this. But the other part of my brain takes the possibility of a werewolf living in my closet more seriously than the bird flu.

This part of my brain continues to convince me that if I’m not completely under the covers five seconds after turning out the lights, I will be grabbed by a slimy tentacle and dragged under my bed, never to be seen again.

So when my cat wakes me up after midnight-only a few hours after watching a marathon of “A Haunting”-to take her upstairs, I am deathly afraid that I will never see daylight again.

This happens every night, because my cat has this thing about waking me up at the exact same time every night and insisting that she have an escort up the stairs. The door at the top of the steps is always open, but she refuses to admit that she is now a Big Cat and can push door open all by herself.

After she meows pitifully for about 10 minutes, I finally find the guts to get out of bed. In the interest of saving time and having some sort of weapon, I pick Socks up and slowly carry her through the basement, all the while thinking how dark it is. (Socks, by the way, is the name of my cat-not foot apparel I left on the floor.)

Like Tracy, I don’t turn the lights on either.

I spin around quickly-nearly throwing Socks across the room-to make sure nothing is behind me. I am aware that there is a very real chance that at any moment a black figure will glide in front of me, and I will begin hearing whispers from the dead.

I walk faster. The monster is going to get me, I think. For the monster, this is Worlds of Fun.

I finally reach the stairs and sprint up the steps desperately so that the monster won’t grab my ankles. Throwing Socks through the doorway and turning around, I run back down. My eyes are watching for any possible indication of the monster.

Racing through my basement, my arms are pumping up and down and my head is swiveling back and forth, which-although a great way to punch myself in the nose-is the best way to spot a monster on either side of, or behind, me.

I dash into my room and dive under the covers, just seconds before the tentacle coils around my ankle.

* * *

UFO: The Australians used to name hurricanes after unpopular politicians. Hurricane Nixon?

Don’t ask why.

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