Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Why are some people so obsessed with scaring themselves silly?

In the case of amusement parks, we will travel considerable distances to wait in long lines and spend money for the thrill of riding the roller coaster, or some other adrenaline-rush device that has us screaming at the top of our lungs like 10-year-olds.

Others are driven to sit through 2 hours of a scary movie, which might mean seeing fiendish flesh-eating monsters wreaking havoc, or watching people endure loathsome acts of violence or degradation.

People also climb treacherous, snow-covered mountains and sometimes they even ski down them without knowing if they might fall off a hidden or unknown precipice at any moment.

There are hundreds of things people do to risk breaking their necks when they could just as easily sit in a comfortable chair and read books about spine-tingling menace and perilous escapades.

Other risk takers join the police force or the fire department or invest in a plummeting stock market.

I have no valid explanation as to why people like scaring themselves. Perhaps it's a macho thing. It could be the challenge of trying to overcome something you'd normally run away from. But I wouldn't rule out some kind of freaky-deeky turn-on.

Or maybe it stems from a sadistic kindergarten teacher. A soft-spoken, hair-up-in-a-bun, mousy type with thick glasses who once told the kids just before a nap that they were pathetic little wimps.

She probably said this: “Are you kids content to play with your stupid blocks and draw your silly pictures when you could be parachuting into a dark forest and trying to survive on nuts and berries while attempting to find your way back to your parents and civilization?”


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