Thursday, October 2, 2014

29 Days 'Til Halloween: Fun-Scary versus Not

I've ruminated about aspects of this before, but here's a fundamental truth: there's two kinds of scary. Some terrifying things, from roller coasters to horror movies, qualify as entertainment even while they evoke the same kind of primitive fight-or-flight response to fear that is intrinsic to our evolutionary survival. They wind up as a mixed bag somewhere between unpleasant and thrilling, and I suspect that's because of their layered and regulated nature. We tell ourselves the roller coaster is perfectly safe even as it tricks our vestibular system in feeling like everything's dangerously out of control, or that the movie is all make-believe while we get emotionally wrapped up in it all the same.

But of course even the most die hard mayhem-junkie is capable of feeling genuine, uncut fear, with no upside. Nobody (or some very near-zero value) likes it when things really are out of control, and nobody gets a charge out of legitimate mortal danger, no matter how big a fan of the tropes of a given genre they may be.

I bring all this up because of course this Halloween Countdown was and is intended to be a celebration of the fun-scary kinds of scary, and no sooner did it get underway than I had to confront a decidedly not-fun situation in terms of a health scare for my wife. The good news is that she's fine now, resting at home and assured by a team of doctors that there's nothing more to worry about, though of course in an abundance of caution there will be follow-ups and plans of long-term treatment and so on. Still, it was a brutal stretch there from Wednesday afternoon until about mid-day Thursday, not knowing what was going to happen, not really able to control anything, and not knowing when (if) things were going to start getting better.

I appreciate a good haunted hospital motif, but really hadn't anticipated kicking off October by spending so much time in one. (The hospital was not actually haunted, it was in fact modern and pleasant. It's where the little guy was born, in fact. Strange to be back there and not in the maternity ward. Strange overall, really.)

So this post was late but all's well that ends well? Here's very much hoping the rest of the month is uneventful by comparison, and that all future chaos is confined to fictional formats.

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