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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Clawing My Way to the Top

The "Try-Athletes" front hasn't been a side-splitting situation in a few days so I thought I would take you on a trip down Memory Lane.

Years ago, I wanted to have the best Hallowe'en costume ever. Now, I lived in the woods, and by 'woods', I mean capital W... Woods. Any of you from Point au Mal or Fox Island River who are reading this know I am telling the truth. We had to drive 15-20 minutes just to buy groceries. You weren't supposed to hunt in the area where you lived (or so I was told :P ) so technically, we had to come out of the woods to hunt.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, back to the story.

Now, my friend Bernard is an artist. Currently he owns a tattoo shop and he is fabulous. But back in the day, he was the person who was able to make my Best Hallowe'en Costume of Life possible.

I was going to become Freddy Krueger. That's right, Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street. Now, Freddy scared the bejeezus out of me. And there is nothing creepier than scary-children stuff (think Children of the Corn). So a scary child song, i.e., "1, 2. Freddy's Coming for You! 3, 4. Better Lock Your Door! 5, 6. Grab Your Crucifix! 7, 8. Better Stay Up Late! 9, 10. Never Sleep Again!" is enough to send me into a Never Sleep For The Rest Of My Life tailspin. Plus, scary religion stuff adding into the mixture just. makes. things. wrong.

So, Bernard comes to my house and we start to put on the makeup. Except, it's not makeup. It's paint because that's all we had. Because we are young and stupid - we use paint. I have sensitive skin. Do you know what paint on sensitive skin does? No? You will in a little while.

First, you need to know that when we were younger, we did all kinds of things - anything for a laugh, no matter what it was. If it was funny, we did it. If it was stupid, we did it. I remember once, we put on my cousin's stethoscope, put it on the bottom of the bathtub and farted underwater just to see how loud it would be - that's what I mean by funny and stupid.

Anyway, Mr Freddy is a burn victim. As in, his face is burned off. So, all kinds of paint is layered on my face. On one side of my face. And Bernard is a great artist - I looked fantastic.

And then I wait for my cousins to come pick me up to go trick or treating. Yeah, I was THAT young. And I lived in the woods, remember... it gets pretty dark in the woods. I sit and watch Video Hits on CBC as I wait. They play Michael Jackson's "Thriller"... SCARINESS. The King of Pop's video used to scare me so much, I would have heart palpitations. Combined with the beauty that was now my face, I was terrified to move off my couch.

There is no way to describe that type of fear unless you have truly felt it... Freddy Krueger is in the room with you and Michael Jackson is singing "Thriller" to you. It's a wonder I didn't die of a heart attack.

FINALLY my uncle pulls up to my driveway in his big green stalker van. Rather than pull into my driveway, he just stops on the road. Meanwhile, I take my pillowcase (or whatever I was carrying to take treats in - I forget now because I blocked out a lot of that night) and leave the house... I have a long driveway so I have to run... who knows what might be behind me, chasing me? I have never run so fast in my life, up to that point.

I wish I could run like that today - it would make being a Try-Athlete much easier.

Anyway, I breathlessly make it to the van, eager to see my cousins, all of whom are younger than me by anywhere from 2-5 years. They told me they are dressed as pirates and superheroes and catwoman or something (I think). Again, I hardly remember what they were dressed as that night.

I whip open the sliding van door and yell, "Hey!" as I go to jump in, absolutely TERRIFIED that something might have chased me across my yard and down the driveway, desperate to get into the safety of the big green van.

What happened next almost made me pee in my pants from pure, sheer terror, terror unlike anything I had experienced in my life up until that point.

What I understand now, but did not see then, was that my cousins had been sitting in the van talking, waiting for their cousin Terri-Lynn to come out to go trick or treating, when the van door wrenched open and Freddy Krueger screamed, "Hey!" at them. Freddy then jumped into the van, or tried to.

Back to me... when I tried to jump into the van, all my crazy cousins started screaming and yelling. Which caused me to think that someone HAD INDEED CHASED ME down my driveway and this caused me to then start screaming and yelling, too. Talk about chaos.

I just wanted to get into the van. They just wanted me out of the van. My uncle just wanted the screaming to stop.

Trauma for everyone.

The door was finally shut. The van finally pulled away and we went down the road trick or treating, and I was finally regarded as me and not Freddy. At least, while we were in the van.

Outside of the van was a different matter.

It was dark outside, remember?

We would get dropped off by someone's house to go for treats. Houses are in clusters. My uncle would then drive to the next cluster of houses and we would run to the houses within a cluster. So, we would get treats and run from house to house. Well, at one point, we were running and I noticed that my cousin was running and looking back at me in pure terror. He was running like his life depended on it. Well that scared the sh!t out of me. But it didn't compute in my head at the time that he may have been running from me. I thought he was running from what might have been behind me.

So I ran faster. Toward him.

He screamed. Which put the fear of God, and Satan, and all the Saints and everything else I can think of, into me.

In the community next to the one we grew up in, someone was digging or fixing a basement or something, and there was a huge open pit in the ground near their house. Anyway, it was sectioned off so that you wouldn't fall in, but at that point there was no seeing reason for me. While he was running around the pit, I ran over the pit in an effort to get to the safety of the house as quickly as possible. You see, I didn't know there was a pit / basement.

And unfortunately for me, I can't fly.

I fell in.

And what my cousin no doubt saw was Freddy chasing him and then disappearing.

Meanwhile, I got such a fright when I fell and things went completely black... that I just kept running. At the bottom of the pit. I just wasn't thinking anymore. All I remember was 'out.' At that point, if someone appeared in front of me, I would have climbed on their head to see daylight. It was a long run - the full length of a house. And remember, I thought there was something chasing me. I thought whatever it was got me - and it was pitch black - I couldn't see my cousin or anything anymore - as far as I was concerned, the gloves were off. If you could bottle adrenalin at that point, you would poison someone with the toxicity level.

Anyway, I reached the other side of the pit and there was no hesitation: I hit the side, face & eyes into the wall... and immediately raised my arms and climbed... straight out of that hell-pit in fear. A basement is pretty high, and I was just a kid. Running across this pit in pure blackness, and climbing out of it was the fastest I have ever run in my life. Ever. This was due to the most terror I have ever felt in my life.

So here I go... run run run.... scream scream scream... run faster.... hit the bottom.... holy sh!tballs.... RUN!.... smack.... wall of dirt... get the f out!... climb climb climb like Spiderman!.... scramble scramble scramble.... run run run!!!

When you are really afraid, there is no rational thought :) 1, 2, Freddy's after you!... well, what about when you are Freddy???

Back to my cousin... he had stopped and turned around, no doubt he was wondering what happened to Terri-Lynn / Freddy.... well, Terri-Lynn / Freddy came clawing her way out of the pit screaming and crying... can you imagine what that looked like? I remember my cousin's face - 1, 2, Freddy's after you! - he yelled and turned around and ran away to the door...

What a night.

When I got home that night, I remember being exhausted. So tired. When we tried to get the paint off, it was painful. My skin was burned from the paint and was red for days afterward - a great reminder of the Freddy debacle. We laughed so much when we tried getting the paint off. I walked around with little pieces of Freddy on me for quite a bit of time.

I still laugh thinking about this. Remembering wrenching open the door van and seeing my cousin's blank-staring faces is now so funny.

Why is 'safe' fear so funny? It sure wasn't funny then!!

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