Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This Explains Everything

I talked to my father this morning - yes, to borrow money - and he told me that he was recently reminded, probably by all my aggressive facebook updating - of an incident that occurred when I was about ten years old. 

Some of you reading already know that Halloween is my birthday, but for those of you who didn't, yes, I am a witch/demon spawn/pumpkin-headed weirdo. As a kid, there's really nothing better than a Halloween birthday. You get to dress up and beg for candy, but you also get presents. And I think for the first couple of years, I probably thought, on some level, that everyone was dressing up and trick-or-treating in honor of my birthday. Which was probably a nice ego trip.

One year old. I am a fisherman!
All this is just to set up the fact that on my tenth (or so?) birthday, I got my father to take my brother and I to a haunted house. Now, this was probably the kind of thing that the Lexington, Illinois 4-H Club set up in a barn as a fundraiser for the annual middle school field trip, but my father says that it was actually pretty scary. I don't actually remember any of the details he told me about, like the strobe lights and what not. I just remember being so frightened that I FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT and they had to take my brother, my father, and I on a backstage tour to calm me down. 

I have a vague recollection of alarmed grown-ups taking off their masks and being like, "It's okay, it is pretend." And bending the plastic knives to show how fake they were. They were like, "Chill out, little girl, no one here is going to hurt you." Memory is a tricky thing, but I'm pretty sure I just kept bawling. Sometimes when someone wants to make a kid stop crying, that just makes it worse. (Someone trying, really hard, to convince you that they're not evil can seem like it's all part of their plan to chainsaw-massacre you. Especially when you are ten.) But eventually they got us outside, and I waited about 15 years before I set foot in another haunted house. And I made sure to be pretty drunk.

Six years old. I am a nurse. My brother is a dinosaur.
And now, here I am at 28, and I'm starting to build my own haunted house, or haunted theatre, I guess. I'm on the other side of the horror, trying to terrify other people - though hopefully no one under the age of 18. And it makes sense, doesn't it? Being behind the scenes at the Haunted House (and knowing that the blood is really corn syrup, and knowing that the axe murderer character is being played by a guy named Neil) is the safest place to be.

Eleven years old. Yes, I am dressed as an angel. And I have bangs.

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