The Big Smackdown

Posted by on October 13, 2008 in Blog tagged with

With Halloween rapidly approaching and being back in a land that actually has castles and a bit of the old history, I’ve been thinking about my life as a teenager – or rather Halloween as experienced when I was a teenager.

I did the normal amount of trick-or-treating as a child though that ended when I was 13 as my father insisted that I was too old to continue.  My older brother hadn’t gone trick-or-treating for nearly three years by the time I quit.  I almost feel like I should belong to one of those 12-step programs…”Hi!  My name is Keiti and I’m a former trick-or-treater.”

At any rate, recipe even though Halloween remains my favorite holiday, I don’t miss the actual celebration of such – the dressing up and begging for candy that I probably wouldn’t eat now anyway.  I miss more the festivities that came after I was forced to leave it behind:

Namely, haunted houses.

Most of my teenage years were spent living in Frankfurt, Germany, where the yearly haunted house was held in Frankenstein’s Castle, a looming stone fortress that housed the most frightening haunted house I’ve ever experienced.  At least that’s how I remember it.  It’s probably not nearly as imposing or as frightening as my memories suggest; as an adult I’ve found that the memory of something (anything) is always far more vivid and interesting than the reality.

All of this brought me to my current position, which is to never go in another haunted house – not because the memory couldn’t be bested, but because, as an adult, I hate being scared.  For me, the delicious fear as a child has turned into a more palpable terror.  I don’t like not knowing what’s around the corner.  I recently, after much thought, decided that the childhood fears had less of an impact because as a child there was always someone to rescue you from whatever it was that scared you, or at least help you through it.  As an adult…well, you’re kind of on your own, not to mention we’ve seen, at least secondhand, the absolute horror that human beings are capable of inflicting.

My decision was perfectly nestled in the back of my brain, happily marinating, until I started reading Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot.  There’s a scene with little Mark Petrie who is ruminating on adult terror – essentially pointing out that many adult fears involve adult things:  mortgages, marriages / relationships, etc., and that adults self-medicate in order to deal with their fears.  Kids, though…kids have to not only deal with the monsters (under the bed, in the closet, outside the window) but also with adults who, thanks to the shortcomings in the adult imagination department, have outgrown their belief in such monsters.

So I’m left wondering which one is worse:  childhood fears or adult fears?

What say you?

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