I Am a Big Ol’ Scaredy Cat Chicken

I cannot wait until Sunday, when I get to change the clocks. While I love the extra hour, the reality is that it is too freaking dark in the morning when I walk the dog right now.

As daylight savings time nears, it gets darker and darker every morning. And every morning, along with the dog leash, a cup of coffee, and my iPhone, I also have to carry my giant, heavy as shit Mag Lite with me in case I need to brain any zombies. I wish I was kidding. I wish I had the rational fear of the actual humans who wander through and sleep in the dry creek bed by my house, or perhaps the gang members in the neighborhood who have brought the police helicopters search lights up and down my front walkway on far too many occasions. That would be reasonable. That would make sense. But no. In being totally honest, I imagine one morning walking outside to the zombie apocalypse.

Let’s back up and examine why I am such a big baby. I grew up with older brothers who thought it was fitting to make me watch incredibly scary and age inappropriate movies. Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th; you name it, I watched it before I stopped wetting the bed. My little brain was unable to connect that the characters were make-believe, humans in make-up and nothing more. I still, to this day, have nightmares about Freddy Krueger. That dude can seriously go fuck himself. I walked into a Spirit store a few Halloweens ago and they had an animatronic Freddy at the front door. I turned around immediately and left the store, never to return, not only to that Spirit store, but NO Spirit store, ever again, just in case. I saw the first Scream movie when I was 18. I slept with my parents for a week. In bed. With my mommy. For a week. An adult, able to legally vote, smoke, and buy tons of porn, huddled under the covers with my mom. So yes, I am ridiculous. I know it, accept it, and move on.

mask from the movie Scream, white face with large, exaggerated mouth and eye holes, black hood.
Still makes me pee a little bit. Also, children in this costume on Halloween do not get candy from me. Someone else in the house has to do it.
Image via

As I have gotten older, there are certain scary things that I enjoy. People have wondered how I can watch Buffy and Angel, but refuse horror movies. It mostly boils down to the make-believe aspects, I suppose, though I really don’t know. I can handle vampires (True Blood and Dracula-type vampires, but NOT Twilight vamps, because those sparkly fucks are terrifying in a whole different way), monsters, and demons, because they aren’t real. There are a few episodes I can’t watch of the shows (Buffy, “Kissed By Death,” because the demon is too reminiscent of Freddy; Angel, “Room W/A View” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” because of the ghost and demonic possession, respectively), but the really creepy ones, like “Hush,” I have no problem with. The scariest thing to me are the real people who are or become monsters. For example, as mentioned, ghosts and people who are possessed, but also serial killers, young children singing creepy song or chanting, etc. When they re-released The Exorcist awhile back, I had to stay on constant alert for the commercials because they always showed the girl doing the crab walk down the stairs and that shit can fuck me up for days. Just thinking about it right now is making me shaky. The Paranormal Activity ads? The absolute worst. Scares the shit out of me.

Robert Pattison as Edward Cullen from the Twilight movies, pale skin, broody face, grey jacket, looking douchey
So scary for all the wrong reasons.
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The one genre that doesn’t fit my explanation is zombies. Technically, based on my criteria above, zombies should terrify me to the core. Regular humans turned into crazed, mindless, brain-eating monsters should send me diving under the covers. And yet, I totally dig them. I love The Walking Dead and wait with bated breath for every new episode. I don’t even cover my eyes when they get their faces ripped off or a spear through the eyeball. Even more strangely, I actually, somewhere deep in the recesses of my odd little brain, accept the possibility of a potential zombie apocalypse, hence the Mag Lite on the dog walks. I am vigilant about my surroundings, unwilling to be surprised by their appearance (like in Shaun of the Dead) due to simple distraction. I know, logically and rationally, that the zombie apocalypse is highly unlikely. I get it, truly I do. Unfortunately, that does not stop my constant vigilance regarding their appearance on early morning pup walks. I have been practicing swinging that flashlight for months now; I really think I could take out at least a few with it.

female zombie with flesh eaten away around mouth, crawling on grass with left arm outstretched
Doesn’t scare me at all. I make no sense.
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So there it is, laid bare, my utterly inane irrational fear. Some people are afraid of spiders, others of mice, some of snakes. I fear the undead trying to eat my brains before I’ve had my first cup of coffee. You might argue that at least those people are afraid of things that actually exist. That’s fair. SUPER judgmental, but fair. But if zombies were real, comparing apples to apples here, which would be the more reasonable fear- flesh eating zombies or a little bitty mouse? Hmmm? That’s what I thought.

8 replies on “I Am a Big Ol’ Scaredy Cat Chicken”

I shouldn’t have read this post at night in the half dark.


I’m completely fine with walking my dog in the dark though. A slightly different route (park, not woods) but I am too busy enjoying the darkness and night sounds too wonder if the swamp monster will grab me by my ankles.

Now my ankles are starting to itch like they’re grab-able. Darn you, Kym!

ok, SO, there’s a dude on my street who sometimes walks about at night late at night when I’m walking the dog who I know is just an old dude who doesn’t pick his feet up enough when he walks. But between him and taking a few seconds to realize that the rotting smell is coming from the sewers not from him. . . Well, let’s just say I can HUSTLE with my cane, lemme tell ya.

I think I could knock one out with my cane, but might lose my balance so going up against more than one at a time is likely not the best idea. But makes for a great nano prompt, being disabled and fighting off zombies! hi-ya!

I’m always scared shitless by the odd things – The Omen came out when I was 12 (the original, I am an old fuck) and it was my first R movie. The only time I got scared was the hospital scene, when the nurse comes to push Lee Remick out of the window. The music had me so scared I thought I was going to throw up. Not the Satan baby or the grisly deaths, those were fine, but that music, man oh man. Bad.

As an adult the only movie to scare me (actual scare, not gross me out or startle me) has been The Blair Witch Project – that end scene, where you see the bloody hand smears on the wall. Ack. I’ve finally gotten used to people laughing at me over it :-D

whoo musical conditioning!

1) conditioning: using certain tones or intervals consistently but varied at the points of heightened tension. It will train your brain into initiating a fear response when the sounds happen, even if you try rationalizing. (Behavioral psych and the silent film era- )

2) Due to culturally conditioned associations, certain approaches in composing can cause tension and even goosebumps. (why does music give people goosebumps

3) evolutionary pressures make certain noises cause startle responses because they are similar to noises that can cause a threat. Some tones, due to their similarity to noises of distress in babies, can induce urgency or fear as well, as part of the awesome that is how our brains have evolved.

and this is a cool article that mentions several options in scoring that can provoke fear:

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