Irrational Fear #5 – Shrunken Heads

Yes, I said #5 and no you didn’t miss the other four posts in the series. I’m doing this a la David Letterman and counting from my LEAST logical irrational fear to the one that’s actually the most likely to happen in real life. I’m limiting it to five because — hey, I have a life and I can’t go on about this forever.

The truth is, #5 is not even one of my own irrational fears. It’s my son’s. He will no doubt hate me for exposing him in this fashion, but being a teenager, he spends a lot of time hating me anyway. So what the hell, let’s go!

My son — we’ll call him Taz, shall we? Short for Tasmanian Devil, which he was as a toddler — used to love watching old reruns of The Addams Family on Netflix. He’d loved seeing the musical on Broadway, and he thought John Astin was hilariously maniacal and Lurch and Cousin Itt were “da bomb.” Does anyone still say “da bomb?” Okay, I guess he thought they were really “sick.”

Anyway, we were happily watching The Addams Family one night and then it happened. Grandma whipped out a shrunken head.


Taz just about went under the sofa at the sight of it. I mean, it was just a comical fake shrunken head. It looked a lot like one of those old Troll dolls. I loved Troll dolls

when I was a kid, so maybe that’s why Grandma’s shrunken head collection never disturbed me.

The Man and I had a laugh at our son’s expense and forgot about it. The next time Taz wanted to watch something on Netflix, he emphatically did NOT want to watch The Addams Family. And the next time and the next time after that. In fact, he has never ever watched The Addams Family since. He’s had nightmares about shrunken heads. He read an article about shrunken heads, and that only made it worse. To this day, if you want to make him scream like a girl, you just have to mention SHRUNKEN HEADS.

And then I was writing this post and I read the article about shrunken heads. Now they kind of freak me out a little bit too.

Do you know there were tribes in the Amazon that really did that?! Geez, I thought it was an urban legend. Well, not urban exactly. A rain forest legend? And holy crap, in case you weren’t sure about how thoroughly sick and disturbed the Nazis were — turns out shrunken heads were actually introduced as evidence against them at the Nuremberg trials.

And if you still aren’t totally freaked out about the thought of someone killing you and shrinking your head, watch this clip. Or maybe don’t watch it. I can’t decide what’s scarier — the kids with the shrunken heads, the hammy acting, or the cheesy special effects. But either way, I’m not showing it to Taz.


Irrational Fears – Or Are They? – Part One

Couldn’t sleep a few nights ago due to a massive allergy attack that had me sneezing like someone who’d snorted a line of pollen-infused cocaine. So, like any normal person with insomnia, I started channel surfing. And there was Jake Weber! I love Jake Weber! And he was in danger!!! How could I leave Jake when he was in danger?! And then there was a dog!!! A cute scruffy little dog carrying a little backpack! And it was in danger too!!! How could I leave Jake and the little dog with the backpack?!

Those of you who watch a lot of Syfy (you know, the thing that used to be the SciFi Network) are no doubt laughing at me by now. You probably knew as soon as I mentioned the dog with the backpack what I had gotten myself into, but I did not. It was one of the things I dread most in the entire world: a zombie movie.  And not just any Zombie movie. It was Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead. I have never made it through an entire zombie movie in my life, but my mind was addled by the antihistamines and the lack of sleep, so by God, I stuck with it. At some point, it also became a personal quest, a challenge to myself: Can I in fact make it through a zombie movie without barfing or crying or both?

Well, I’m here to tell you I did it. It was a bigger challenge than running a 5K, which I did a few years ago when I was in a lot better shape physically. Jake died tragically but nobly, watching the sunrise. The little dog, who eventually became the real reason I stuck with the thing, made it to the end of the movie and then disappeared into a jungle full of zombies. But the director had already established that Zombies didn’t eat dogs in his universe, so I was okay with that. I figured eventually the little dog would meet another little dog and they would have a little doggie family and establish a new doggie dynasty. Eventually they would evolve and become the dominant race on the planet and wipe out the Zombies. But even with the happy fiction I had created in my mind for the little dog, I was up for the rest of the night checking the locks and worrying about zombies. Because I truly do fear being eaten by zombies.

This was the second thing on TV in a week to tap into one of my greatest irrational fears. The other, believe it or not, was an episode of Castle. I love Nathan Fillion even more than Jake Weber, but Castle  has been looking pretty tired lately. Nonetheless, I keep watching because of Captain Tightpants himself, Nathan. Unfortunately, Nathan and his slightly annoying female cop sidekick wound up in a car that went underwater in the episode I recently watched. That traumatized me for days. Because being trapped in a car underwater is another one of my irrational fears.

I decided that I should make a list of my irrational fears and do some Internet research into just how irrational they are. The results were NOT reassuring. I’ll share those with you in my next post.