Monsters, & Other Scary Things

 

My family is weirdly phobic. I myself suffer from a fear of flying,  the kind that occurs in airplanes, and death. Seems pretty reasonable to me. My family, on the other hand, suffers from such intense fears, that they often huddle together, like penguins trying to stay warm, protecting themselves from the impending doom that is certain to consume their very souls.

One of my daughters is frightened to death of costumes, you know, people dressed up as team mascots, and cartoon characters. It matters not that she is looking at Batman, or Spiderman, heroes that will keep her from harm’s way, it is still a costume. She has never been able to sit through a professional sporting event. She has never attended the Ice Capades, and our family trip to Disneyland was, to say the least, a significantly traumatic experience for her.

Along with this masklophobia, she, one of her sisters, and my wife also suffer from the dreaded fear of clowns. Not just the evil, scary clowns that have been portrayed in ‘It’ as Pennywise, but the happy, funny clowns that fall out of small cars, and squirt water out of a flower on their lapel. It seems that all clowns all scary, including Bozo, Krusty, and Clarabell. It is not surprising that none of them have ever been to the circus. Our one trip to a rodeo proved disastrous once the rodeo clowns came out. Their coulrophobia induced screams, and shrieks, tears, and gasping for air. And then their was a hasty retreat, which included jogging through the aisles, to the car

There is a widespread fear of monsters, which I have tried to point out on numerous occasions, are not real. My wife cannot watch a sci-fi film, such as Alien, or The Thing, or even Frankenstein. She is however fine with Frank ‘n’ Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which as a film, has an inordinate number of people in costume. She says that she likes Tim Curry. I remind her that Tim Curry was also Pennywise the clown. She refuses to discuss it, stating only that she doesn’t like clowns. As a general rule, if she is home, I cannot watch horror or Science Fiction films unless I am in a room she is not. I don’t mind really, I mean, she generally talks through every film or television show we watch, repeatedly asking, ‘Who is that?”, or “Where did he come from?” I regularly point out that it would be easy for her to follow, if she would just stop talking.

Musophobia, the fear of mice is another exasperating phobia shared by my wife and a daughter. The would sit paralyzed, watching a mouse dance across the living room, with walking stick and top hat, and scream that “There’s a mouse!” And when help arrives, they insist that the rodent is not harmed in any way. I consistently offer to merely capture and rehabilitate these disease ridden varmints, but the mice refuse to comply. I am forced therefore to exact more permanent consequences for invading my home, which creates even more screaming from the troubled duo.

My family also suffers from germophobia, and hydrophobia. In order to keep themselves germ free, there is a chronic, if not compulsive hand washing routine, which surprises me. How can people who are afraid of water, immerse their hands in water so often. My wife says that I am being ridiculous. She is only afraid of putting her face in water, not her hands. Now, it makes me wonder if, during the lifetime we have been married, she has ever washed her face? I have kissed that face! Hell, I hope she has.

My eldest daughter suffers from spectrophobia, the fear of ghosts, while my wife encourages these same spirits to come for a visit, and stay for some coffee and dessert. I myself am afraid of my wife seeing ghosts. After her father passed away, she asked him for a sign that he was watching over her. The next day I had a heart attack. I asked her not to participate in these spirit shenanigans any more. She replied that the sign was that I survived the heart attack. I am not particularly fond of the presence of those who have departed, but I am terrified of my wife’s ability to conjour up near fatal maladies.

Two of my daughters, one of my sons, and my wife are all terrified of being sick, or becoming ill. Nosemaphobics, all of them. They are petrified of vomiting, not being able to breathe when their noses are stuffed up, and even being in hospitals, lest they catch some viral concoction from patient zero.

It is a tough road to travel, one which I am forced to mostly travel on my own, due to the array of complex fears living deep within the psyches of my family members. I often wonder if the old adage ‘There is nothing to fear, but fear itself’ was ever raised at a general meeting of Phobics Anonymous. Not that it would have made any difference. My family embraces their fear, holds on to it, and runs away screaming and shrieking whenever possible, while I fend off the mice, and ghosts, and monsters, and clowns, and a myriad of viral entities.

Advertisements

The Return Of The Mouse In My House

 

“He’s back.”, my wife informed me as soon as I walked in the door.

“Oh, hell.”, I said. “Which one of the boys have moved home?”

“NO, not one of the boys!”, she shouted, bordering on hysteria. “The mouse. The damned mouse is back.”

There was a time when I was greeted on my return from work with a hug, and a kiss. ” I doubt it’s the same mouse.”, I told her.

Oh, it’s the same one.”, she exclaimed. “I recognize the look in his eyes.”

I didn’t doubt, not for a moment, that my wife had seen a mouse. I had some reservations that she could tell one mouse from the next, by the look in its eyes. She has a gift for the paranormal, all things ghostly, and weirdly, but retinal recognition of rodent’s was not something I would be willing to believe she had mastered. I told her I would buy some traps to get rid of the rodent, but she only balked at the suggestion. I offered to call a pest control specialist, but that too did not bode well, and she rejected the use of poison, as she was afraid that she would find the mouse, laying on the floor, dead.

“What is it that you want?”, I asked. “Should I try to capture and rehabilitate it?”

“If you could.”, she said in all seriousness. “catch it and release it in the wild.  That would be best.”

“You understand, this mouse is not wild.”, I told her. “There are no field mice scampering  through the forests.”

She a bit disconcerted, but it was made clear that there is no mouse sanctuary. This was a city mouse.After much deliberation, we agreed that I would dispose of the mouse in any way I saw fit, but would never, ever, reveal what I had done to this rodent.

“Can’t we keep it as a pet?”, my daughter asked. “I’ll keep it in my room.” I looked at my wife, the explosion was imminent.

“There will be no mice, and no snakes, and no spiders or lizards in my house.”, she exclaimed.

“Have you seen a snake in here?”, I asked.

“Not yet.”, my wife replied, “but I’m sure that’s coming next.”

“Well”, I said, “if its any consolation, they are much easier to catch. They move very slowly.” It was no consolation.

The following morning, on my way to the kitchen to make coffee, I saw the little bastard on my kitchen floor, twitching his whiskers. He didn’t look like much of a threat. based on my wife’s reaction, I was anticipating a much bigger mouse. As I got closer, it ran off, scurrying under the oven, and vanishing into thin air. I said nothing to my wife. I left for work, leaving her alone with a desperado mouse, hiding out in our kitchen.

Several hours later, I received a call informing me that Mr.Tarkanian, had come over to catch the mouse, as it ran past her in the kitchen this morning. He was unsuccessful, but in his exuberance, had smashed one of my classic posters that had been on the wall in the living room. “What was he doing in the living room if the mouse was in the kitchen?”, I asked her.

“Well, the mouse ran out from behind the oven, across the kitchen floor. Mr. Tarkanian tried to get it with the broom, but the mouse was too fast, and ran out of the kitchen and into the living room.  And the rest, well, he just has very bad hand eye coordination. “. she explained. “Sorry.”

“Did he catch the mouse, at least?”, I asked.

“No.”, I was advised, “he got away. And just so you know, I’m not making dinner tonight.  I’m not putting one foot in the kitchen until that mouse is gone.”

On the way home I stopped at the hardware store and picked up some traps. “Don’t you think you should have got poison too?”, one of my daughters asked.

“I’m trying to catch a mouse.”, I told her, “I only need to kill it once.”

“You’re going to kill it?”, she asked.

“No.”, I told her, “I’m merely going to hold it hostage, and wait for his family to bring the ransom of cheese. Then I’ll let him go.”

“Not funny.”, she advised me. I never realized  before that my family had no sense of humor. None. I was certain that it was, indeed, funny.

The next morning I checked the traps. Nothing. For 3 days I baited and left them for the pest. For 3 days he eluded me. “I told you he was a smart mouse.”, my wife reminded me.

He was a smart mouse, alright. Shockingly elusive. “Well, what are you going to do now?”, my wife asked

“I don’t know”, I told her.

The next afternoon, she called me. “We got the mouse,”, she told me. I wasn’t sure what she meant, I mean we had had the mouse for about 5 days now.

“What?”, I asked.

My wife told me how my son had come over, and saw the mouse running across the kitchen floor. He jumped up and threw a book at the rodent, and as luck would have it, hit the mouse and stunned it long enough for my son to trap it in a box. He was going to take it over to the park behind the school, but the mouse died. It was tragic.

“Just out of curiosity, what book did he use?”, I asked.

“The Southern Cooking cook book.”, she said. “You know, the big one.”

After careful consideration, and a thoughtful pause, I let her know that I would not be home for dinner.