(This Halloween post is a modified recap of a story from two years ago with updated cartoons and fresh information. My fears are still the same—having my brains sucked out by Zombies—but I’ve become more intelligent about how to flush them into the light before they scare me to death. Enjoy!)
Do you know what I discovered this week? There is something to fear that will destroy you every damn day! This week it is bacon, pastrami, and a nice juicy med-rare steak or a delicious hamburger. Apparently, we are all going to get colon cancer and die if we don’t cut these foods from our diets, and I say: Go to Hell, you fear mongers! I’ve already had to give up bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, popcorn, cheese, hot peppers, eggs, and butter. If anyone tries to come after my Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, you are doing down, Mofos!
Cartoon used by permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch/Cagle Cartoons
I’ve dealt with enough monsters in my journey on this Earth that I’ve learned how to kick their butts and live to see another day. (Check out Monsters’ Throwdown* and Fleeing Oz* if you want to read about me in kung fu action against the terrors in my life.) In fact, after what I’ve been through in life, I have a theory that all fear is simply one thing (or stems from one entity, great and small)—evil—and it reinvents itself and morphs into something else when it can no longer scare the recipient. (“Maybe this time, by jove, I’ll scare the bejesus out of her, and if not, I’ll have to figure out another ‘BOO’ . . .” ) This Halloween, I’m only afraid of Zombies, but Zombies can encompass many things, which I’ll get to later.
I read recently that scientists equate fear with conditioning, environment, and lack of knowledge. What scares some people doesn’t necessarily scare others—it depends on how they have been conditioned to interact with that fear. There is an unethical case study known as the “Little Albert Experiment,” which took place in the early 1900s at Johns Hopkins Hospital by one of their doctors. The doctor took a nine-month-old baby from the nursery (his mother was reported to be a wet nurse employed by the hospital and afraid to interfere on behalf of her son) and introduced him to “. . . a white rabbit, a rat, a dog, a monkey, masks (with and without hair), cotton, wool, burning newspapers, and other stimuli,” according to Wikipedia. In the beginning, the baby showed no fear. In fact, when everything was taken away except a white lab rat, the baby played with it endlessly—stroking its fur and giggling with delight when the rat appeared in the room. The baby engaged the rat without the slightest bit of hesitation or trepidation . . . until . . . dun, dun, dun . . . the ersatz “Dr. Mengele” and his assistant introduced a loud clanging sound every time Baby Albert came in contact with the lab rat. In a very short time, the poor baby began to fear the mere appearance of the rat because he associated his former playmate with the terrible, startling noise which scared him. Even after the noise was extracted from the experiment, Baby Albert would try to crawl away from the rat and start to cry. And get this: Baby Albert started associating anything with fur and beards as scary and something to be avoided. Even Santa was to be feared by poor Baby Albert!
“Little-albert” by John B Watson – Akron psychology archives. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons/Wikipedia
As I mulled over this experiment, I thought about my own current fears, and I realized that this is what has happened with me and the Tea Party. When some of my friends became Tea Party members in 2010, I continued to play with them and enjoyed their company because they seemed rather innocuous, harmless little rats and looked rather cute in their revolutionary hats trimmed with tea bags. But then they started to make all sorts of irrational noises and stupid, meaningless sounds, and pretty soon the sight of them made me cry and afraid to be around them. I finally had to eradicate them from my life altogether.
Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star, Cagle Cartoons
Since my husband and I used to be Republicans (operative words: used to be), I tried to give my friends in the Tea Party the benefit of the doubt in the early days. But it didn’t take me long to realize that something was very wrong with them, and I figured out what it was: They were the first manifestation of the Zombie Apocalypse! I noticed their trademark skills of sucking out brains and eating human hearts when the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Herman Cain, Cruz, and Perry first hit the scene. I especially stood up and took notice when some of my friends started turning into zombies. I mean their bodies were still there, but I’d be talking to them on the phone and suddenly they’d blurt out a zombie statement in a staccato-like vocal pattern (something stupid and inane usually accredited to Fox News), and it made me cry just like Baby Albert.
By the time I figured out what was going on with my friends, they were at a point of no return—beyond the pale. I grew up with zombies trying to mess with me, so I should have known better and seen the signs sooner—maybe I could have saved them. But now it is too late—they have all lost their minds and are completely brain dead now (final brain suck happened in 2012 after the reelection of Barack Obama—did you not hear their screams?). Now they are mindlessly rallying around Trump and Carson and have become full-blown zombies.
Cartoon used by permission: John Cole, The Scranton Times Tribune/Cagle Cartoon
I know a lot about zombies because I met the head zombie in my basement when I was just four years old. In my day, he was called the “Boogeyman” and he lived in cellars in the ghetto, while his counterparts lived in the graveyards. Every poor black child knew of The Boogey’s existence, which is why no child in her right mind spent too much time below the first floor. (None of this man-cave crap existed back in the day when I was a kid, and the thought that one day I’d own a house with a basement boasting a surround-sound home theater would have blown my little mind.)
The basement of my childhood was a dirt floor and housed the wringer-washer and the giant furnace which fed on coal that slid down a chute. I imagined The Boogey lived behind the furnace and practiced his brain-sucking and heart-munching techniques on little kids who were unlucky enough to be sent down into the basement for punishment. I am one of the few who ever saw him in the neighborhood and lived to tell the story.
It still gives me chills.
Motifake Demotivational Poster
The floor of the basement of my childhood was made of packed dirt, and it is my theory that the house had been built over a small family graveyard. The walls were stone with rough beams in the ceiling. There was only one light at the top of the stairs that cast shadows here, there, and everywhere, but especially against the coal chute next to where the vegetables had been canned and stored. One night I was sent down to the basement by my guardian from Hell to fetch a jar of pickled okra. Even though I begged and pleaded, screamed and yelled, I was still threatened within an inch of my life to do as I was told. So I tip-toed down the steps, across the basement floor as quietly as possible, hoping The Boogey was out on his nightly rounds, and we wouldn’t run into each other. My heart pounded so loudly that I could hardly hear myself think. I deduced that if I was as quiet as a field mouse, I might escape the head zombie’s detection. I think my plan would have worked too, but the furnace let out a sudden fiery red blast that scared the shit out of me, and I screamed and dropped the jar of okra which shattered all over the floor in front of me. At that very moment something brushed across my feet, and I swear that I saw the silhouette of a monster’s reflection on the jars of vegetables. His hands began to crawl up my legs, and faster than I could say, “Oh Lord Jesus, help the poor child,” I turned and took the basement steps in what seemed like a single bound as The Boogey’s other hand scampered over my shoulder and slid down the front of my overalls and went back into the darkness. I didn’t stop running until I ended up in my bedroom under the covers on the second floor, and I didn’t stop screaming for an hour. I got two beatings that night for refusing to go back down into the basement to fetch another jar of okra, but it was worth it because I know what I saw and so did my caretakers, which is why none of them went into the basement after dark—ever again!
Until this day, I can’t go into any basement—including my own—unless there are plenty of windows, and all the lights are on (and I do mean all). I never encountered The Boogey again until the election of our first black president. Suddenly, I started hearing of zombie uprisings bearing the name of The Tea Party who were instantly disrespectful and disruptive to our Commander in Chief (remember the Zombie that screamed out “You lie” in the middle of President Obama’s State of the Union address?). And every time the Tea Party Zombies seemed to have been beaten back, another surge would happen and a new leader would emerge: first Palin and Bachmann—and now Cruz, Trump, and Carson. I can’t prove it, but I think the Boogeyman came out of hiding in the basement of my house, and he started recruiting for the Tea Party zombies which is why my friends bit the dust to the TP extremism so easily. I don’t know whether it is because Halloween is just around the corner and we’re headed for a Zombie Apocalypse that I think I’m beginning to see them everywhere, including in the Republican presidential campaigns, but sometimes on a foggy night I think I can see them amongst the trees waiting for me—trying to get ahold of my head and heart like they did some of my friends, and I am afraid—very, very afraid!
Courtesy of stuffstumbledupon.com
THE AUTHOR’S “SELAH” (“AHA MOMENT”) ABOUT A ZOMBIE INVASION
I am discovering that I might be onto something with these Tea Party wingnuts being the first of the Zombie invasion. Seeing the destruction they’ve done to our country these past eight years, the Tea Party Zombies make about as much sense as the Boogey Man did in my basement as a child. But if you turn on enough lights to show them up for who they really are, they will actually turn out to be just rats hiding in the dark amongst the pickled okra and canned string beans.
Anyway, all this talk about zombies is really making me feel kind of weird—so I think I’ll go and lay down and take a nap. In the meantime, Happy Halloween to all my readers, and keep your brains and hearts safe from the zombies because the Tea Party would love to suck out your brains and eat up your heart so that you can no longer think or feel anything for your fellowman!
Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune/Cagle Cartoons
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT FEAR AND ZOMBIES
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”—Plato
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”—H. P. Lovecraft
“Fear can be good when you’re walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it’s not good when you have a goal and you’re fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before.”—Queen Latifah
“I think zombies have always been an easy metaphor for hard times. Because they’re this big, faceless, brainless group of evil things that will work tirelessly to destroy you and think of nothing else.”—Seth Grahame-Smith
QUOTES FROM www.goodreads.com
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