Fear. I like writing about it. I put fear in everything I write. Fear motivates. Fear stimulates. Fear makes you do things you never thought you’d do.Halloween likes to play with fear, play up fear, to scare the bejesus out of us–or try to with the haunted houses, vampires, headless horsemen, and those urban legends of razor blades and poison in all the Halloween candy.
Yes. they are urban legends, a sort of fear-mongering, if you will, as Smithsonian Magazine noted with Where Did the Fear of Poisoned Halloween Candy Come From , which they ran in 2013. The Smithsonian debunks the myth, attributing the tales of poisoned candy to Ronald Clark O’Bryan, a father,in debt up to his ears. O’Bryan willfully murdered his own child to collect the life insurance. He also attempted to kill a other children he knew, including his daughter, to try and cover his tracks and set the blame on some unknown madman and/or the candy manufacturer.
This is the only known instance where someone willfully and maliciously tried to kill using Halloween candy, and it is frightening, but the Halloween candy didn’t come from stranger handing out candy to Trick-or-treaters. Urban legend expert David Emery investigated further and notes in his post Is Halloween Candy Tampering a Myth, on the About Entertainment Website, that no child has ever been injured eating any Halloween candy collected from Trick-or-treating.
While this mythic fear is a valid one many parents have, for me my first and, to this day only Halloween season fear happened last weekend. And it had nothing to do with pumpkins, haunted houses, trick-or-treating, or candy. No, kids. My fear came from a place where having insurance was a small comfort. This was the MOST. TERRIFYING. THING. I. EVER. FACED. My husband, Dr Shrinkee decided her wanted to do this:
He found it exhilarating.
I found it horrifying*. So terrifying I didn’t watch. I didn’t even go with him, or drive him to the the plane, or meet him at the drop zone. I could not face this fear. I put it from my mind. I pretended he wasn’t leaping to his doom. I pretended I didn’t buy him the jump as a birthday present. I did not focus on the jump — unless he mentioned it and then I thought about it for a few minutes, got all sweaty for a few minutes, and then quit thinking about it. I did pretty well, putting it out of mind.
Of course my subconscious had it’s own ideas because fear is a powerful motivator, a powerful stimulator. My subconscious spit out songs I sang or hummed for my beloved skydiving husband, Dr Shrinkee.
1. Long Way Down — Michael Penn
2. Free-fallin’ — Tom Petty
3. Bluer Than Blue –Michael Johnson
4. Jump– Van Halen
5. Just Call Me Angel of the Morning — Juice Newton
6. Say Geronimo –Sheppard
7. The Last Time Forever –Squeeze
8. I Learnt How to Pray -Squeeze
9. Goodbye Girl — Squeeze
10. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again — Dione Warwick.
When I realised I was singing these songs, I also realised the depth of my terror. I was so scared for him, while he had no fear AT ALL!
I tried really, really hard to be like Olivia in Driving in Neutral with controlled breathing and counting each breath. When that didn’t work I turned to coffee because coffee was so going to fix my terror! I went out to breakfast with my friend Elle and told her I had sweaty palms and rubber legs. Then the coffee kicked in and Dr Shrinkee sent me a post-jump photo of himself on the ground, and all was right with the world.
*I can’t look at the photo and not break out in a cold sweat.