The Clown Bug That Ate Chicago

by thefinn

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.

them.jpgBugs – 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.



You got most of mine already. Walking alone at night was scary, but only in certain areas. I could walk through the woods and old graveyards, but not alleys or behind buildings. That's where the bad people hung out.

Finding a bug in the toilet one deay freaked me out for years. I think I still look every now and then.


You nailed it with the bomb.

I used to be terrified of the Russians. I really thought they had a little remote where they could push a button and destory the world just like that.

We did the air raids in school. That was terrifying.


bees dude. as a kid i had a long walkway to my house and in the spring the whatever the fuck was growing on the railing thingy would bud and flower.

the bees would be everywhere and i was pertified so i'd run as fast as i could down or up the walkway.

i have no idea what i thought would happen if i got stung.

the buzzing though.. ick.


Wasps are my biggest of all these days. I've been afraid of them since I was a kid, but the older I get, the worse the phobia gets. And I'm really fucking phobic about wasps, man. I might as well put on a skirt and a My Little Pony tank top, the way I squeal and run away.

My wife loves to watch a 34 year old man turn into a six year old girl in a matter of seconds.


the dark. hated it until freshman year at a boarding, seminary prep high school and i saw one guy going towards the woods for a walk. i asked if he was scared and he said it was peaceful what with the soft moonlight, rustling of the leaves and chirping crickets. i tried it a night later and found it soothing.

of course, my junior year a scandal broke involving him, a priest and some after hours activity in the forest.

i'm still fine with the dark, it's those damned white collars i can't handle now.


Dracula - I swear to Bob that I saw him floating outside of my window when I was little. I convinced myself that if I slept with the blankets arund my neck he couldn't bite me, I also slept facing the window, so I'd seem him and be ready if he ever tried to enter my room.

No wonder I'm medicated now...


Last year for about a month, I became afraid that there was a man with a knife living in our basement who drank the water from our dehumidifier and was going to attack me one night when I went down to empty it.

To punish myself for this irrational fear, I started forcing myself to empty in it the dark.


he's living in the casks, isn't he?


waking up in the middle of the night to take a leak. it was always that first step out of the warm bed that freaked with my imagination. i'd always worry that a cold white hand would shoot out from the shadows and latch on to my ankle. and then, obviously, pull me shrieking back under the bed. it got to where i would stand on the bed and take a running leap, to get as far away from the danger zone as possible. i don't have that fear anymore because i've learned the basic principles of levitation.


sympa le clown...


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