Last week I began an explanation of my love affair with all things spooky, my attraction to Halloween and the somewhat embarrassing revelation that I have not matured sufficiently to leave those feelings behind. Encouraged by an outpouring of requests from readers on Patch and friends on Facebook, (Can we consider three people an outpouring?) I’m going to continue.
I talked a little bit about my father and his uncanny resemblance to Jack Torrance , and tried to describe the inexplicable parenting skills he employed when we were small. I think most of you related, even if you didn’t realize why. I think it’s worth noting nearly everyone of us has experienced that sensation of terror and shock followed by the giddy release of laughter and relief first shared with us by our parents. Oh, you don’t remember that? They called it “Peek-a-boo”. Chances are good if you have children, you’ve played the same game.
If you have played Peek-a-boo with your parents or your children, you have already been a victim or the perpetrator of the most terrifying sensation, sudden disappearance, followed by the relief of reassurance. Psychiatrists address the causes and cures in scholarly papers and reports, defining what emotions, the real mental changes and the long term effects. I try not to read that stuff…I LIKE getting scared!
The Shining hadn’t even been written when my dad played that game, but when Stephen King published his third book, I recognized Jack Torrance immediately!
I love Stephen King. He has never been a particularly attractive man. His hair has been his own worst enemy through the years and he has no features that scream, “Idolize me!” but I do adore him. When I read Carrie, I was not long out of those dreadful teenage years and identified with that character in sympathy.
So, obviously, I have an attraction for scary men! I won’t bore you with my brief dating career, but let it suffice to say I didn’t set my sights on the Prom King. I thought he was mundane and ordinary. I was much more attracted to the “bad” boys. All right, I do admit to a little self analysis that includes a Redeemer Complex, but more in the vein of Alfred Adler’s definitions in Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. I think Adler had a bit of black humor in his soul.
So, it’s not enough that I like to be terrified…I want the terror to end, not just with relief, but with hilarious relief! That’s the part you may be keeping secret, even from yourself. We think as we grow older and more mature we leave those “terror followed by hilarious relief” moments behind, but I bet you still have them. The difference between me and most of you is that I continued to embrace those moments all through my young life, my middle age and my…well, whatever it is when you become 59. (I know that’s not middle age, because it seems unlikely I’ll live to 118, but surely it’s not old age! I don’t even qualify for senior discounts in some places!)
I’m going to skip over The Munsters and the Addams Family but I’ve included links to both, in case you don’t remember or possibly weren’t even born yet!
At the risk of becoming a serial writer, I am going to have to continue this story next week. I know it’s scary! What if I don’t return? What if I don’t finish next week, either? You’ll just have to come back to see if it’s possible to conclude a lifelong obsession with scary stuff in three installments.