Friday, August 27, 2010

Guest Blog: I'm Afraid of Scorpions

Hi Blog-readers,
Today I am featuring a guest post from my good friend Dan Gordon.
I hope to have guests write on here from time to time about things they are afraid of so that we can all join together to hug and cry.

I’m Afraid of Scorpions
Written by Dan Gordon
Artistic Direction by Dan Gordon
Illustrated by Tabitha Parker

I am horribly afraid of scorpions. This is NOT an irrational fear. Here’s the thing, there are a number of animals that are pretty terrible, but they are all parts of nature, god’s creations, the children of Mother Earth.

Spiders? Yeah, a little frightening at times. A little creepy, no doubt. But they are just part of the world. Snakes? I had a snake once. It was a real son of a bitch. It wouldn’t stop biting me, but that never deterred me from picking it up repeatedly.

But snakes, regardless of venom glands, are just dicks. Sharks? I’m going on record right now to say that the Great White Shark should not exist. That is not an opinion, it is a fact of Science – or at least it is if Science made any sense. Bus-sized predators should no longer roam the earth or seas. But that is a rant for another article.

Scorpions are not of this Earth, as they hail straight from the depths of hell. I cannot imagine a good and loving God creating this hell spawn for any other reason than to terrorize the human race. In the biblical era, God sent an Angel of Death to Sodom and Gomorrah to create a firestorm to destroy all who live within. 
Now, the Big Man has learned to be a bit more subtle: Scorpions. Let’s take a look at the ingredients of this adorable little death cookie.  

Time for a little honesty. I wasn’t always terrified of scorpions…as sometimes we are foolish when we are young. When I was 21 I was working as a counselor at a summer camp for children with cancer. The camp ground was located on a nature preserve in South Florida. 
Keep in mind, South Florida is known for alligators, cotton mouth snakes, killer bees, fire ants,  and sharks. Noticeably missing from that list is the Florida Scorpion. 
I was getting the kids settled in for the night and was about to start getting dressed for bed. I sat down on my bunk, and leaned back against the wall. There, on a small ledge NEAR MY HEAD, was the largest Scorpion to ever rise from the depths of Hades. 
I obviously did not have time to measure, but I think a conservative estimate for its size was about 4 feet long, 3 feet wide, a tail 7 feet long, and weighed about 300 lbs. 

After jumping up and releasing a stream of “fucks” (one might say, a fuckstream), I did the bravest, most responsible thing I could think of; I yelled for help from the Counselor in Training, who was attending the camp during a break between chemo treatments (he continues to hold the #1 spot on my “heroes” list). 

With his help, I placed a dustpan beneath the ledge, and we used a broomstick to zero in on the demon. Together, we held the broomstick and slowly aimed the tip toward its body. The clearly-not-phased arachnid-embodiment of Danny Trejo stood its ground. It stared us in the eye like….some kind of staring ghost felon. Use your imagination. 
My cancer-stricken companion looked me in the eye, sending the unmistakable message of, “I have been fighting a deadly disease for months. I thought I had already encountered the worst horrors of this life.” He was wrong. So, so wrong. We held the broom even tighter. We counted to three. 
One. Our hearts thumped violently against our rib cage. Two. We pulled the stick back like Vikings manning a battering ram. Three! We thrust the stick straight into the thorax of the rape monster!  
It fucking screamed! No joke, it audibly released a spine-chilling sound made of hate and anger. Then it used its death whip to sting the broom stick several times before plopping onto the dustpan. 
With the beast still struggling, I grabbed the dustpan and brought it outside. The whole way out the door, I let out a high-pitched, not-effeminate-at-all, very masculine, war cry (emphasis on “cry”). You know, like a man. 

I dropped the scorpion on the ground, and BRAVELY stomped on it with my high-top Reeboks. The fucker stung my shoe! And as its life faded away, and I turned to walk back into the cabin, I swear I heard with its last breath – a quiet whisper, “Next time, Jew.” 

I returned to the cabin (in my amazingly not-soiled shorts) a hero. May there never again be such a clash between good and evil. Just to be sure this never again occurs, I have a proposal. Genocide. Scorpion genocide. Never before has the thought of genocide seemed not extreme enough. 
I’m glad I could spread the word. 

Dan Gordon is an improviser/comedian in Chicago, Illinois. 
He is still a hero.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Don't Look!

I'm pretty sure people are always staring at me.

Not in an "Oh, look at that lovely young lady" way either.
In a "Something is wrong with that girl, I can tell. Also she has something on her face" way.

This has made me terribly self-concious.
I also have a terrible habit of thinking I can hear stranger's internal monologues.

"Oh, look at her. That skirt and shirt combination make her look frumpy."

"She clearly didn't have time to fix her hair either. I can tell she couldn't figure out what to do with her bangs so she panicked and gave up."

"What's she doing now, reading a comic book? Something is probably wrong with her. Poor retarded girl."

Even on days when I'm feeling good about myself and think my outfit is cute I am still incredibly paranoid.

I'm not sure where this paranoia started.

There was that time in high school when I was walking through the offices with my friend Michael. We passed some girls I had never seen before in my life and they subtly pointed at me and whispered, "There's that girl." "Yeah, I hate her."

Or that time in Kindergarten when the teacher wouldn't call on me to go to the bathroom and I wet my pants. Everyone was definitely staring then.

When I came back to class with fresh pants, the kid next to me stared at me more.
Then he asked, "Are you embarrassed?".
For some reason, I hadn't been embarassed until he asked.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Be Normal. Just Be Normal.

When you have so many idiosyncrasies, it becomes very important to you to appear normal in the eyes of others. Every day is a series of challenges to hide all the things you have to do to in order to avoid a nervous breakdown in public.

Today's Challenge: Eating In Public

First you have to decide where to eat.
Your friend will likely say it is up to you, because that is what always happens.
Be unable to make this simple decision. Panic. Hope that your friend does not notice how hard it is for you to decide between Red Lobster and Chili's. Distract them with unrelated conversation. Convince yourself to make a decision based on which restaurant is closer, that way you're not deciding, geography is. Be pleased.

Arrive at the Red Lobster. Approach the host and give them the number of diners. Remember how you used to be a host and worry that you were not nice enough. Smile. Worry that your smile looked overly panicked. Distract yourself by staring at the lobster tank. Now they will think you were smiling at the lobsters.

Follow the host to your table. Walk quickly so that you will be the first to pick a seat, that way you can have your back to the wall.

Alternate Outcome: Your friend somehow beats you to your preferred seat. Panic. Stand awkwardly and sort of cough. Worry that they will realize you're crazy and quickly sit down. Spend the rest of the meal feeling like someone is going to stab you in the back.

The waiter will come to take your drink order. Want something alcoholic. Let your friend order first. They will order water or soda. Worry that if you order alcohol your friend will think you are an alcoholic and also not want to get in the car with you because you are a drunk. Order soda.

When the waiter returns with your drinks, he will launch into his job-required description of fish specials. Know that this is just part of his job, you were a waiter too. Hate restaurants for making him do this. Be uncomfortable when it goes on too long. Wish you could ask him to stop, but be afraid that he will get angry and spit in your food. Keep smiling. Do not order a special.

Instead, order something with so much butter that it will definitely make you sick. Think you can trick your digestive disorder into ignoring the butter by drinking copious amounts of water. Realize too late that you already had soda. The soda and butter will mix, turning your stomach into a Food Fight Club. Then they will re-enact that scene where Edward Norton (butter) beats up Jared Leto (stomach) while Brad Pitt (soda) watches.

Your stomach will start to rumble violently. Worry that you will get sick in the Red Lobster. Worry that your friend will find out that you have stomach problems. Worry that they will think that your stomach problems are actually Bulimia, like your high school theater teacher. This worry will only make your stomach churn harder. Take deep breaths. You can make it.

Order dessert.

Realize your mistake seconds after finishing dessert.

Somehow manage to calm your stomach down with sheer willpower. Be pleased about this.
Feel like you can do anything. Decide that 'anything' means going to Best Buy.

Suddenly feel overwhelmed from being in a retail store. Decide that it is somehow too crowded and too big.

Your stomach will react to this. Panic. Tell your friend that you are going to go look at something they are not interested in. (Tip: If you are with a female friend, say you are going to look at video games. If you are with a male friend, say washer/dryers.)

Escape undetected to the restroom. The restroom will be full of employees talking on their cell phones. Be unable to use the bathroom while they are there. Pretend to wash your hands (do not actually wash your hands because then they would be wet, causing you further distress and you really cannot handle that right now).

The employees will finally wrap up their conversations, leaving you alone.
Get sick in the Best Buy.

When you are done being sick, feel like you can do anything. Decide 'anything' means buying 3 or 4 dvd's.
If your friend asks where you were, lie.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Haunted Houses

I won't go to haunted houses.
I'm sure you think this is ridiculous. It probably is.
Or maybe you're thinking, oh I bet she means a real haunted house, one with ghosties.


I mean the ones you have to wait in line for and everyone gets SO excited about.

Here's the thing, I can't process things like a normal person. I try. Really! I give myself little speeches.
"It's okay go to a haunted house with all your friends, it'll be so fun. You'll be safe with them, they're your friends. They love it so much, why can't you just calm down and go?"

But I always end up chickening out. It's not even the acutal haunted house that scares me.
One day I had the sudden realization that a haunted house would be the best place to murder someone.

Think about it. Everyone is already screaming, so your victim's reaction would just be part of that.
You could pick someone off if they fall behind their group.

No one will be disturbed by your choice of murdering garb, either you are an employee or you just LOVE Halloween.

When you're done with your vigorous murdering, you can set the body up like it's part of the haunted house.

The haunted house clientele will be scared by it and scream, then giggle because they assume it is all part of the display.

Then you can join up with another group as they travel through and slip out unnoticed.

(Note: This is in no way meant to be a "How to Murder Someone" instruction manual. Please do not murder someone based on this blog.)

This haunted house fear has been something I have had for YEARS.

Then a few years ago, it really happened.
(I tried to find the news article to link, but google searching 'haunted house murder' just pulls up old-timey stories about ghosts and murder mystery dinner theaters. If someone finds the article, please post a link here in the comment section.)

Now I will never, EVER go to a haunted house. Ever.

I couldn't even make myself go into the children's haunted house at a family-friendly pumpkin farm.

I got about 4 steps in and then noticed the person at the front desk area had several tv's in front of him.
The tv's showed all of the displays that the haunted house offered and the people walking through them.

I passed his desk and turned the corner into darkness.
It then occured to me that if the security guard wanted to orchestrate a murder, he could sit there and watch on the tv's.

I turned around and bolted out of there as quickly as possible.

As I passed his desk, I pretended to be on a phone call so that he would think that was why I left and that I was normal and NOT an adult woman who was scared of the stupid little haunted house for 4 year olds.

I'm sure the cameras showed him the truth...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Legacy of Mr. Horrible, Part 2

Previously. On I'm Afraid of Bees...
A rat has terrorized my apartment, but is finally dead somewhere in the walls.

Mr. Horrible had died some time in the winter. It was summer now and the apartment was up to its usual shenanigans.

The floor in the bathroom was leaking. That's right, the floor. Water was coming up through the tile and ruining several bathmats.

We would later learn that a pipe under our floor was cracked and leaking.

What does this have to do with Mr. Horrible, you ask?
To answer that we first need a quick science lesson. Yay, science!

Did you know that certain flies make their babies in animal carcasses?
That's why there are always maggots on corpses in horror movies.

I'm sure you are thinking, "Maggots? Oh no, there's a rat corpse in her walls!"
You are right to be concerned.

Flies also need a running water source to turn grow up big and strong.

Remember the hole in the bathroom wall? The one that Mr. Horrible made?
That was the point of entry for the flies.

I'd never been afraid of flies before. But I'd also never seen flies like this.
They were HUGE and aggressive. They would charge at your head and smack into your face. It felt like being pelted with rocks. There were usually 3 or 4 of them around at a time, often appearing while I was using the bathroom.

As you can imagine, the flies were well on their way to becoming my number one fear.
Then I made the mistake of looking them up on wikipedia.

Looking at anything online is a bad idea. Most people find knowledge empowering. I am not most people. The more I know about something the more it sends me into a spiral of panic. Plus there are pictures.

But I end up online anyway, researching every little thing that comes into my life.
"My throat hurts and oh, it looks weird. The Internet will know what to do!"

"Oh look, pictures! One of these will surely match my throat problem."

"Oh no."

"Oh dear god no!"


The internet lived up to its reputation, revealing that these giant flies weren't just any giant flies. They were flesh-eating flies.
Flesh. Eating. Flies.

This explained why the roommate and I had been waking up with mysterious bug bites. The flies had been EATING OUR FLESH.

Further research revealed that flies cannot fly in cold environments.
We turned the apartment into an ice box. I also purchased a fancy bug spray.
It smelled like Febreze and murder.

The apartment being cold definitely cut down on the fly activity. I had my magic fly spray. I was lulled into a false sense of security. I made the mistake of turning the air conditioner off.

I was sitting on my bed, watching important tv shows, when I noticed some casual lumps on my rug.

As the room became warmer the lumps began to slowly move, like zombies dragging themselves out of their shallow graves.
Wait, those were no ordinary lumps! Magnify!

I screamed and sprayed and sprayed and screamed. I made myself light-headed and had to go into the living room.

There was no easy solution for the flies.
The Internet revealed that fly infestations happen outdoors, on farms. They can be lured away from your horses with a giant blue balloon-like apparatus.

This was not a feasible solution for our refrigerator-box sized apartment.
I stuck to the screaming and spraying solution.

The flies disappeared when the weather turned cooler. My fear of them did not.