• Fear and Fools

    Maria at 16Growing up in Italy, the only time we wore costumes and face masks was at carnevale. Like most celebrations or rituals, carnevale was connected to religion. Catholic religion being the only game in town we celebrated carnevale forty days before Easter. The idea was to get all pretty and dance and have fun. Our last party before beginning of Lent. The one thing it had in common with Halloween? It was a one day event. That’s where the similarity ends. Because…we never tried to scare people and we didn’t get candies, although there were the occasional costume contests with prizes.

    I’m a little miffed by people obsession with being scared. Paying money to go visit haunted houses or amusement parks where you fear for your life…why?

    That reminds me of a movie, The Blair Witch Project, came out 10-15 years ago? It was a low budget black and white touted as a documentary. It was also one of the early social media blitz experiments. I would guess it was a success as I remember packed movie theaters. I went with the boy friend du jour, a martial arts master. He had seen a blurb about the real documentary on the Internet. Having watched one of the actors being interviewed on television earlier in the day, I was aware no one died and it was all a clever ploy.

    Right away the intentionally choppy camera work made me queasy. Unfortunately I’m one of those people prone on getting motion sickness just by watching the carousel at the dry cleaners. Not wanting to throw up right there and then, I kept my eyes closed. That’s when martial arts boy held my hand and said, “Don’t be so sad, honey. I understand it’s terrible to witness those poor, poor kids lose their lives…”

    “I’m not sad, I hate the camera work. Lose their lives? What are you talking about? It’s a movie, pure fiction, you know that don’t you?”

    He shushed me. He was shaking in disbelief, how could I doubt the validity of such intense documentary?

    As the movie progressed you could hear the audience gasping at every scratch, thump or howl. Was I in a room with a bunch of fools? They were high on fear. FEAR!!!! The last thing I want to spend money on is fear. We can get plenty of that for free from everyday life. Just driving can scare the living daylights out of you.

    Finally the movie ended and the boyfriend was still all shook up and telling me he should track down the parents of those poor students and blah-blah-blah. I tried to explain that I watched those poor students alive and well being interviewed on some morning show, but of course he believed I just said that to make him feel better. NOT!

    Oh, that was the last time I went out with martial arts boy so I don’t know if he was able to track down the parents of those poor deceased students…

    Happy Halloween, and don’t eat too much of your kids’ candy.

    That’s a picture of me at sixteen, dressed as Carmen, from the homonymous opera.

     

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