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The Clown Bug That Ate Chicago
Some things, as you get older, lose their effectiveness on you. SweetTarts and Twinkies no longer hold me in sway. Santa Claus’ spooky rememberence for all the good and bad things I’ve done for the year. The promise of a dog. And then there are the things that you take from your childhood that you carry with you all your life. Not stepping on cracks. Never drinking from the faucet. Twinkies… Never mind. When I was a kid, there were a bunch of things that sent me into a scurrying panic. Running about, waving my arms and hollering my head off. But when you look back, most of them aren’t that bad. Most of the things that frightened you only scared you because you didn’t understand them or because you were too young to know better. Here’s a few of the things that used to scare me silly as a brat that don’t seem to bother me so much anymore.
Bugs – Every little boy likes bugs you’re thinking to yourself, right? Not this kid. They had too many legs and way too many eyes. They wore their skeletons on the outside and the damn things were everywhere. I think I was six or seven when I read that the insect population outnumbered the human population 150 million to one. And I immediately came to the conclusion that if they ever decided to feast on human flesh, it’d take about two weeks for them to take us all out. As a youngster, the thought of a swarm of insects pulling at my flesh and tearing out my eyes just to make a meal of me terrified me. For weeks after I learned that nifty little nugget, I was convinced that every bug I saw was an advance scout for the coming Insect Invasion. I wanted desperately to kill them all, destroy every damn bug I came into contact with, just in case they decided to turn on us. Because what’s the use of being part of an Insect Invasion if I don’t have my eyes to watch it with ?
Walking by myself at night – When I was younger, I was fascinated with monsters, both real and imaginary. Whenever there was a monster movie on, I’d plant myself in front of the tube and get lost in the story. Dracula. The Wolfman. Frankenstein. Serial murderers and Nazi fiends and Mutated Humans From The Desert. But heaping helpings of monster movies made my already overactive imagination work in wondrous ways as soon as I had to walk home by myself. Moving swiftly down the sidewalk, not quite running, but surely not walking. Watching the shadows stretch as I moved from streetlight to streetlight, constantly checking over my shoulder. Because the one time I didn’t check would be the time I would be pounced upon by the vampire-wolfman-nazi-sympathizer and be turned into chum. Usually by the time I was two blocks way from the my house, I’d be in full on paranoid mode, listening intently for other footsteps and sweating profusely as my tensed up little body waited for the attack I wouldn’t see coming.
Clowns - Oh no, wait… I am still scared shitless of clowns.
The Bomb – I was born in ’72. When I was finally old enough to start paying attention to the news, my old man decided it was time to tell me about the Bomb. He explained the Cold War, the ICBM and how we’d die immediately if “The Big One” ever started up, vaporized by one of the gazillion bombs that would rain down on Washington. Needless to say, the concept of being vaporized by an entire country of people who weren’t fans of Democracy scared me silly. And the fear filled 80’s really didn’t help things. I watched "Red Dawn" and "The Road Warrior". We were made to watch "The Day After", as some sort of homework assignment. "Wargames" and "Escape From New York". Everywhere you turned, someone was telling you that the world would die by fire and the survivors would eek out a meager existence until they all died of radiation poisoning.
These are some things that used to really scare the hell outta me, that don’t bother me so much anymore. How about you ? What would make your heart stop or instantly make you want your mother ?
thefinn dwells in his subterranean lair hidden deep in South Philadelphia. He and his wife are raising the worlds first Uber Baby and have three cats.