Like a rabbit, but more quavering and jumpy

I don't do scary. Not even a little bit. I fundamentally do not understand the appeal of going to one of those commercial haunted house things (I have never been. I will never go. End of story.). Or intentionally viewing a horror film. I'm far too nervous about my everyday life to add additional fuel to the fire of my fears (pyre of my paranoias? conflagration of my concerns?). Some people don't believe me. They assume I'm just sort of nervous, that these things don't affect me that much. Or that I'm like most people who say they don't like horror films but they watch them anyways, squealing and panicking and then letting it go the next day. For me, the uneasy feelings don't dissipate with a new dawn. Or ever, for that matter. In case you might not believe me, here are three examples to show just how little I can handle the frightening.

1. Last fall, in my hell class, we spent a day talking about the horror genre. Not watching any movies, mind, just talking about them. Even this circle of remove wasn't enough to insulate me. The class ended and I realized my jaw hurt really badly. Turns out, I had been so uptight I was clenching my jaw the entire fifty minutes. All just because we were only talking about scary things.

2. I can't ride Indiana Jones at Disneyland. It makes me too nervous. Even the approach, through those purposefully darkened faux caves sends my heart rate soaring. This last September, my nephew wanted to go on the ride when I took him off just the two of us. So I did it, all the while trying to keep my breaths very calm and digging my fingernails into my palms. Then, the only way I can stand the actual ride is to close my eyes the whole time. And I do mean the whole time. I tried opening them once and instantly regretted it. Should I point out that my nephew is six? And that it's probably just about his favorite ride? That's right, I can't handle something that doesn't even make a six year-old flinch. Relatedly, I'm pretty sure hell for me would be having my eyes forced open while riding the Halloween version of Space Mountain. Not over and over again, just a few times, really.

3. I am addicted to Bejeweled Blitz. Like, a lot. Well, the last week or so they themed it up for Halloween. I could handle this for the most part. Except, the usual clinking sound when you start a new game was replaced with one of those throaty, evil laughs so commonly used by ghouls and other nasties in old timey horror works. Without fail, every time I'd click to start a new session (which is really quite often), I'd feel my insides tighten up. And it would usually take a good ten games before the slick feeling went away. All from one creepy laugh. A creepy laugh that was a surprise in neither timing nor quality.

Yeah, see? I really am that timid. Pretty sure if I ever have to face anything really terrifying I will die of fright. After, of course, wetting myself and crying a lot. Let's hope that my worst nightmares stay safely far, far away.

Over and over and over and over

You know how you find yourself senselessly using the same word over and over again? For instance, you could go a really long time without hearing or even seeing the word comport. Then, one day, you wake up and use it four times (aloud--the silent times are countless) in just a few hours? All of a sudden, the word seems so apropos. And even when it's strictly not, you use it in hopes that nobody will call you out on it. (See, for instance, the time I referred to re-frosting a cake to "palimpsesting" it). But then, you start realizing how often you're using it and feel foolish.

This happens all the time to me. Surely, I'm not the only one (c'mon, a guy's neuroses out and tell me it happens to you, too.) Of course, when it does, I then start using a series of less and less common synonyms for the word. So, if you start hearing me say "appropriate", "in keeping", "harmonize", "cohere", and "befit" in the next little while, just remember, it's only because I can't help myself. And hey, at least my addictions come without too many side effects, right?

Death, despite being proud, inspires a good verse

Because I'm deeply strange, I sometimes collect things that I think would make excellent eulogy components. Like, stuff to quote on the occasion of the death of a loved one. I suspect this has something to do with the little Puritan preacher living inside my brain. You know, the guy who sees Jesus everywhere and wants to make everything a sermon. That guy. For instance, Hayden's Those Winter Sundays? Tragic magic.

So, I'm adding a new one to my list. I came across it in a compilation of Kay Ryan's work. Check it out:


A life should leave
deep tracks:
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks.
The passage
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small —
should be left scarred
by the grand and
damaging parade.
Things shouldn't
be so hard.

Be prepared (with ties)

This Priesthood session of conference marked the 15th year I've been attending them. I haven't missed a single one of those sessions. Even when I was living in Edmonton and getting to the chapel it was broadcast to meant taking a light rail and then two buses and leaving home an hour and a half beforehand and then skipping out during the final song so I wouldn't have to wait an extra hour for the bus.

But, I almost didn't go last Saturday. I didn't get a very good night's sleep on Friday. I went to work on Saturday and felt hazy and fuzzy and generally in no state to pay attention for two hours while sitting on a hard chair. Also, I have so much homework all the time, it seems. So, y'know, seriously solid reasons, is what I'm saying.

I did end up attending, though (and glad of it, too). I went because my sister called me to let me know my brother-in-law was at a loose end, what with his family being away. She wondered if I wanted to head out there and go with him. And, for a bonus, we'd get to go to dinner afterwards! She hesitated, though. The phone call took place just after five, meaning I'd have less than a hour to make it across the valley.

"You'll probably need to go home and change..." she started, as we were figuring out the arithmetic of getting me there. Then, she realized who she was talking to and said, "wait. No you won't."

See, one of the many benefits of wearing an oxford everyday and keeping a tie about my neck or the spare one in my car. Not only do I look super trig all the time, I'm constantly prepared for any church function! I'm not sure this is what the Boy Scouts were trying to teach me, but, hey, it served me well here.