Reading this post on The Pervocracy really got me thinking. The Pervocracy is generally not safe for work, but this post shouldn’t get you in any more trouble than you should be for reading blogs instead of, you know, working. Click over and read it, it’ll open in a new tab and you can come right back.
All done? Really resonates, doesn’t it.
“Fear cuts deeper than swords”, is an axiom in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. There’s nothing like fear to get you to do something stupid. Decisions made while I was afraid have ruined my credit, cost me my car, far too much money, caused me to throw away good things and cling to bad, paralyzed me at the moment of action and spurred me into motion when stillness was called for.
It amazes me how we can make the same mistakes over and over.
For most of this year I’ve been living in a sort of low-grade Worst Thing In The World fear, only for me it’s reversed because the unknown, though scary, is far less terrifying to me than the status quo. I’m trying to make big changes and I really don’t know what I’m doing, but easily the scariest thought for me is that changes won’t happen and things will continue as they are.
Seems like that should make it easier, but of course it doesn’t work like that. I guess it’s always easier to make things worse than better, and thinking about that makes it easy to start second-guessing everything.
Today I reached the point where I had to screw up my courage to send a text message asking a friend to wish me luck. That probably means I’m approaching some second-guessing event horizon, past which no action is possible. A scary thought… but fear cuts deeper than swords.
This post feels awfully self-indulgent to me now that I look at it. But I’m going to publish it anyway, because I’ve had someone say they liked my more personal posts more than the ones where I’m just yelling at an asshole, and because I want to share that Pervocracy post as widely as possible, and because it’s my blog and I can write a whole post whining vaguely if I feel like it.
Last night I was randomly bouncing around TV Tropes a bit before bed, when I stumbled across the Slender Man and was promptly unable to sleep for most of the night. I’d copy the photo here, but I don’t want that creepy thin bastard on my blog!
It’s funny how something can evoke dramatically different reactions in people. Clowns are a classic example, some people think they’re hilarious, others find them boring, and to some they’re terrifying.
I’ve liked horror fiction all my life, especially the more atmospheric types, but I won’t turn down a cheap slasher flick filled with half-naked college kids and spring loaded cats. One of the few things that has consistently scared me for real is the image of a humanoid, but clearly not human, figure in the background. It’s why the first half of Signs terrified me, to the great amusement of my friends in the theater. I think it’s an uncanny valley thing. Or possibly emotional trauma caused by childhood alien abduction.
Come to think of it alien abduction stories are pretty scary, too. Though in that case it’s the helplessness and the ignorance, having no idea what they want or what they’re doing, and being completely unable to resist as they casually take you from your home, where you feel most safe.
The Slender Man is effective on a different level. Especially in the photo on that TV Tropes page, where it’s broad daylight in a park filled with children. You have what’s generally a safe place, you have kids, and you have this… weirdness. It would be creepy without the caption, just because of the instinctive fear for children’s safety.
What’s really neat about that though is going to the Something Awful forum and watching an urban legend being born. I really have no doubt that kids will be telling each other scary stories of the Slender Man soon, if they aren’t already.
It reminds me of Bloody Mary, she of the bathroom mirrors. I encountered that one at the daycare center I stayed at during elementary school. We’d turn out the lights and start the chant. Usually alone, sometimes in a small group. We always stretched things out and hammed it up as much as possible, making a big dramatic production out of it was part of the fun. Often we’d get scared or start giggling and not be able to finish it. By the time we finished the chant we’d be so worked up that any tiny unexpected thing would be terrifying and we’d run screaming back into the light. Naturally, we’d then start exaggerating our experience so that by the third time we told the story we had bloody ghosts reaching out of the mirrors.
On a side note, poking around the Slender Man’s background this morning I found a link to the Dionaea House, which I read live near the end of its run in 2004. If I can find time I’ll have to read it again and see if it’s as good as I remember.
Anyway, now that I’ve analysed it a bit, the Slender Man can’t scare me anymore.
At least not in the daylight.