Friday, September 30, 2005

Demons Exorcising Demons

I went to the opening night of Knott’s Scary Farm last night.

We have been planning it for a while now. We even got tickets way in advance so that we couldn’t do what we usually do, which is to start dreading the lines and the people and the traffic right before the event, realize how tired we are and spend the evening watching bad television (although we did miss Alias last night). Plus we were going with our friend Steve who is a nut for the Halloween Haunt. He goes every year (more than once). So we had the perfect tour guide.

There was only one real problem with our grand plan: my childhood trauma.

When I was about six or seven my mom took me out to the boonies of Washington State to visit a haunted house. No, not a real one. A walkthrough “maze” consisting of portable buildings crammed together and filled with terrifying scenarios. Add to this, a menagerie of creatures in ill-fitting overalls covered in cow’s blood, brandishing knives.

And then you've got the monsters actually working in the maze.

Anyway, my little heart was already three-quarters yellow at that point. I hated being startled. To the point where I would get very anxious and mad whenever I saw a balloon (those things are just waiting to be popped, and my anxieties weren’t alleviated by the hordes of “friends” that I had who would threaten to pop balloons in my face at every opportunity). I hated fireworks too. Loud and surprising.

But as I was saying. There was nothing more terrifying to me in my early life as a dark walk-through haunted maze (maybe one filled with balloons…and syringes). People jumping out at you left and right. What’s so fun about that? There was many a Halloween where I had to sit outside waiting for my family to come out the other end of a hay-bail maze. And then I had to listen to them all try to explain to me for the rest of the night that the haunted maze “really wasn’t that scary…”

Even my younger sister would try to comfort me. That’s the worst. Being talked down by a 5-year-old.

Castrated. Before I really knew what they were for. So sad.

But that one time (when I was six or seven, you know, back to the story), my mom (maybe my aunt? I’m still repressing some of this) actually convinced me to go in. I was going to cowboy up for once, swallow my fear and face the gaggle of yokels wearing rubber masks.

So we go in. The first room is some kind of Dracula room (vampire room actually, but to the more “earthy people” living on farms in Washington, all vampires are “Draculas”). There was a Dracula in a coffin and another Dracula hissing words of warning at us from the corner.

I was terrified. But still generally okay. If we walked fast I could make it out of there without urinating on something…like myself.

We wound our way to the second room.

The evil doctor room.

Man, these people had my number. But good too. Here’s my list of childhood fears. In order from worst to not-so…uh…worst.

1. (Needles: not technically a “childhood fear” because they still terrify me)
2. Haunted Houses
3. Doctors
4. Dentists (a tie with Doctors. Both give shots)
5. Balloons
6. Fireworks
7. The “Kidnapper Van”
8. FD&C Red Dye No.2

So an evil doctor brandishing a butcher knife is just about the worst thing imaginable. But then to make matters worse, this was the carefree 70s, so the haunts and ghouls were free to grab little children, which one did. And then proceeded to threaten to cut off my ear!

My ear! My freaking ear! I need my ear! To hear stuff!

Needless to say, I flipped out. Like biblically flipped out. Wrath of god type stuff. I’m sure somewhere in some distant sea, the waters parted that night.

And that was it. Never again would I ever go into another haunted house as long as I lived.

I never expected to live to 32 I guess because last night I went through about 10 haunted mazes. Some of them twice. And they were all filled with yokels wearing rubber masks who pound on walls and jump at you.

And I had a great time. I had genuine anxiety about going too. But it was great. If you ever get a chance to visit Knott’s Scary Farm, I suggest you do so. And go on opening night. There was nobody there (if you don’t like getting scared, go anyway, go early and ride the roller coasters without having to wait in a line).

Thank you Knott’s for exorcising my demons.

But don’t expect me to show up for Knott’s Needle Farm.

Fun Fact: I giggle every time I see that commercial for the new osteoporosis medication.

The word Boniva is funny to me.

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