Fraidy Cat

Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
Comment | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Well, it’s that time of year again when, for some mysterious reason, we feel the need to dress up in frightening costumes like monsters, ghosts and witches or George W. Bush…then go around trying to scare the crap out of people. We decorate our homes to look like cemeteries..we take down old glory and run up a skull and crossbones flag in its place. It’s all in the spirit of Halloween which was invented to coax out those hidden fears we all have.One of my favorite movies is a comedy called “Defending your life” starring Albert Brooks. After his character is killed in a car accident, he ends up..with thousands of other new dead a place called Judgment City where everyone is put on trial to assess their life and determine whether or not they move on to the next level in the universe. “The purpose of this whole thing,” says has lawyer Mr. Diamond (played by the wonderful Rip Torn) “is to get smarter and learn to overcome our fears.”
Poor Albert turns out..had not learned that lesson in several go-arounds on earth and was about to be sent back for another try.
I really identified with Brooks’ character because (I hate to admit it) I’ve been a fraidy cat all of my life..and I’m pretty sure I know when and where it started.
I was six years old in 1952 and begged to see “The day the earth stood still” showing at The Volga Auditorium Theater. My big brother and I always sat in the front row or as close to the screen as possible but this movie was nothing like Hans Christian Andersen or anything from Disney and had me wishing to be as far away from the screen as I could get. "The day the earth stood still"  not for a squeemish impressionablesix year old.There was just something about that robot coming out of a flying saucer that scared the beejeebers out of me and then when the alien spaceman, played by Michael Rennie, warned earthlings to shape up or face destruction, I closed my eyes, plugged my ears and slid down in the seat. There wasn’t a monster in it but the psychological effect it had on me was unnerving.
Four years later, my friend, Dixon Hoberg, invited me along to see a movie called Rodan..playing at the theater in Brookings.  It was a terribly made film from Japan about a flying monster. Terrible or not, I couldn’t get that creature out of my head resulting in several sleepless nights.
I vowed to never..ever..go to another horror film in my life. It’s a promise I’ve pretty much kept too.
For example, I’ve never seen “Aliens,” “The Exorcist” or any of the Halloween slasher-type movies. My kids even had to twist my arm to take them to “Jaws.”
When our granddaughter, Allison, wanted to see “Harry Potter” on her birthday, I had no idea it was going to be filled with all the elements that frightened me as a kid..but I got through it. After all, how could I hide my eyes, plug me ears and slump down in the seat with her sitting right there next to me?
This week, another granddaughter, Zoey, is staying with us. She just turned 8 and would like to see “Where the wild things are.”
“Is she up to seeing this?” I asked my daughter when I called ..hoping she’d say no so I wouldn’t have to go. “Oh yeah, she’s been asking about it and will be just fine."
We’ll find out this evening. 
I have no doubt Zoey can handle it. I just hope the wild things don’t keep me awake all night.

Leave a Reply