So… I’ve been completely traumatized by this Human Centipede movie. I know, I’ve mentioned it before and I certainly never planned to mention it again, but, it’s a little funny, this stupid film which I have not even seen, has started coloring everything. It’s as if I have become aware that I CAN be scared and it’s opened some sort of floodgate so that I am now scared of everything. The other day I found myself afraid of ghosts. Let me explain something; I do not believe in ghosts. Well, that’s a bit more complicated that just that, actually. I like ghosts. Sometimes I try to convince myself that I believe in them just because I’d really like to. I’m a little convinced I had a poltergeist in my room when I was about thirteen years old, and for years I’ve seen what I’ve always decided her ghosts. Incredibly detailed people out of the corner of my eye that fade when I turn my head. But, I think the more likely explanation is that I have something wrong with my eyes. My friend, D, gets incredulous something, wondering where I think the residual energy from people’s lives goes. Well, he has a bit of a point, I suppose, but mostly I think it returns to Earth, circle of life and all that eye rollingly annoying stuff.
I don’t believe in them, yet the other night I was lying in bed thinking What if I’m wrong?! Which is… about as logical as those Christians who’ve asked me if I don’t think it would be best to believe in god just in case. For the record, I find that to be just slightly less than absolutely and unbelievably stupid logic. Still, I can’t quite prevent that twisting in my heart when I’m scared shitless. And, well, I have a long history with ridiculous fears.
When I was little I was afraid of doctors coming up out of the toilet and giving me shots in the ass. Completely unreasonable, I know. From a purely reasonable standpoint we have the fact that doctor’s wouldn’t really take the time to trick me into taking my pants down in order to give me shots. They’d just tell me to do it. Which they did, by the way, whenever I’d get strep throat, which was a lot, I’d have a get a shot of penicillin in one of my cheeks. It hurt like hell. And of course now I am allergic to penicillin… not entirely convinced that’s a coincidence. We also have the fact that they’d probably have a hard time making their way through the pipe in order to get to me. But, in my defense… I’m afraid of needles. Well, no, not really needles, shots. People act like they don’t hurt that much and I am being unreasonable about this. They hurt. I don’t know why anyone tries to deny that. And then they say that it’s just for a moment. No, it’s a moment of harsh pain and then hours of aching pain as the medicine makes its way around my arm. Ugh, my skin is getting tendering thinking about this. We’re done. Shots are evil. But… of course, the unreasonable bit was that they were being administered from out of the toilet.
Phobias are described as an unreasonable fear. I can only half count shots in this category, because I think not wanting to be in agonizing pain is sort of reasonable. My phobia… as everyone has one… is heights. I know that the chances of bridges or tall buildings collapsing from under me is ridiculously slim. I know it’s not going to happen. And usually logic can win out with this sort of thing, but not with heights. When I climb stairs my heart beats too fast and my breathing is too shallow, and my body freezes. Upon climbing the Statue of Liberty my dad had to pretty much drag me the second half of the climb. I could not move. But, come on, the thing sways in the wind. I’d never do it again. And forget the Gateway Arch. When I was little I went up the Washington Memorial in DC with my parents. My panic was so great that I was kneeling on the ground crying for them to take me back down and when my body started to sway, I was convinced it was the whole structure tipping over. They still didn’t stay me down. I’ve been up tall buildings. I’ve been to all the observatories. People say I’ll regret it if I don’t, but the only thing I’ve regretted henceforth was venturing out onto the open air deck at the Hancock Building in Chicago. I prefer to stay firmly on the ground.
And there are things I wasn’t always afraid of but great to fear. Like skiing. I used to be in the Ski Club at school. I skied once a week and moved up from the kiddie hills to the Black Diamonds pretty quick. I sort of loved it. Flying across the ice, wind in my face, teetering on the edge of control. Then I went with my high school friend, MSM, on a weekend trip to her family’s condo in Ellicottville, New York. I pretty much made it to the top of a hill one day and froze. I am not sure if it was that I suddenly realized that in order to ski you have to go up high or what but I could not bring myself to go down that hill. I got, maybe, one third of the way down before I feel and never really got up again. Ever. I’m pretty sure I ruined the weekend and bored MSM to death, but I couldn’t help it, I was completely paralyzed with fear.
And, of course, there’s submerge things. It sounds so ridiculous. Submerged things. And what really does that mean? Anything under the water that is not supposed to be there. I made this discovery around the time Titanic came out. So… 1997? 1996? Somewhere around then. I’d been fascinated with that tragedy since childhood. Don’t ask me why, it’s a bit morose really but I had books about it (and Pompeii, hello Secrets of Vesuvius) and I ate them up. They chronicled the fateful voyage, sinking, and eventual discovery of the sunken shell. I was much more interested in the historical stuff than the new stuff, and didn’t care much about the remains. But somehow once James Cameron put that on the big screen I could no longer look at it. My chest started to tighten and I couldn’t quite breathe properly. After that… well, I was at camp one year swimming to one of the rocks that pokes a bit out of the water (CT Rock to you Fleur-de-Lis folks) and suddenly became aware of all the thing below me that I couldn’t see. I mean, there could be anything down there. I know, logically, that there are rocks, algae, and random sticks on the bottom and not some sort of fresh water shark or kraken, but the mind reels. Sometimes I’m just sure I’ll brush against a dead body.
At least it makes a little more sense than when I was a kid I was sure that a mad scientist was going to carve a trap door in the bottom of the pool that he would open via remote control and send a ferocious Great White through to devour all the little children at play. Yeah, I know, I was a weird kid.
Now finally, the fear of mine that is the most absurd. The one that people think is so hilarious they have to constantly rub my face in it even though it makes me want to puke. I am afraid of ET. Yes, that ET. The lovably alien ET from the movie of the same name. The one who helps kids out and likes to ride on the front of bicycles. Actually his image is floating in front of my face write now just because I’m talking about it and is giving me the absolute willies. Ugh. Maybe I was wrong; maybe I have been traumatized by films before. But really, the reason for this is bigger than a stupid movie. When I was little we had a series of books. They were mostly about scientific things that I don’t remember entirely, but one of them was reserved for unexplained phenomenon and crypto-zoology. You know; Big Foot, Nessie… and aliens. They had a picture of a man sleeping while a bunch of Roswellian aliens circled the bed and stared down at him. I don’t know exactly what they were trying to say these aliens were going to do, abduction maybe, but it didn’t matter. Like Human Centipede it had very little to do with intentions. The image seared itself in my head and refused to budge. It was around this time when I saw ET: The Extra-Terrestrial for the first time. I spent my entirely childhood scared as shit that ET was going to follow a trail of Reese’s Pieces to my bedroom. And with my friends it wouldn’t have been to unrealistic, were ET to exist. K spent the majority of her time looking behind me through the darkened French doors screaming that ET was behind me. Not two years ago K and J both decided it would be just hilarious to hide a picture of him in my bed while we were staying in a CABIN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE VIRGINIAN WOODS. FYI, when discovered I scream, flung the picture across the room, and ran cowering into the kitchen. I was pretty funny, really, but I was genuinely scared. ET is just… scary looking. It doesn’t even matter that he was essentially good. One look at his glowing finger-tip coming at me would be enough to send me into a catatonic state. This is all down the association, I know that. It’s not really the ET on the screen that freaks me out; it’s the one that’s grown in my head for, oh… eighteen years or so. And it’s not exactly something I can just fix by watching the film again to see how unscary it is. Doesn’t work, I’ve tried it. It makes me want to simultaneously gouge out my eyes and throw something at the television to just make it go away. And believe me, I know it’s unreasonable. Doesn’t matter; keep me away from that squishy looking, turd colored, bastard.
So, pretty much everyone I’ve come into contact with for the past two weeks has gotten an ear full about Human Centipede, like I am trying to unlearn about it by passing on the information. Like if I spread it thin my portion will be smaller. Yeah, yeah, I know it doesn’t work like that. But the thing is this; everyone’s got an opinion about it. Honestly, most people seem to be firmly in my camp on it but there’s plenty who scoff and say things like “Yeah, whatever, it wasn’t that bad, the acting was bad and it was filled with clichés”. Well… duh. But that’s so not the point. The point is that the idea bothers me to the point where the rest of it doesn’t really matter. I can’t even really imagine going to a film called Human Centipede, about that, for the stellar acting your expecting.
Point is this; I know my limits, and it’s that. And heights. And… ET. Not too keen on needles. Or submerged things. Yeah.