Friday, February 11, 2011

What Scares You?

Like everyone else on this blog, I have a fixation with the paranormal. Vampires, werewolves, zombies...all the typical boogeymen who go bump in the night aren't so much frightening as they are intriguing. In some cases - when written by JR Ward, for example - these "monsters" are just plain sexy. I don't think I'm alone in this belief. So this got me thinking; when the so-called monsters of fiction and lore lose their ability to frighten, what steps in to take their place?

Well, there are a thousand answers for that. Failure, success, weight gain, a football season that spans 12 months (*shudder*), these are all legitimate adult fears; fears that make childhood boogeymen far preferable in contrast. Adulthood is chalk full of completely logical, legitimate, rational fears; few of which are paranormal and none of which are fun to discuss. 

So, let's look in the opposite direction. Like I said, the typical monsters didn't scare me, even when I was a kid, but there were several (now extremely embarassing) things that did. Here's the story of one of them:

I was a child of the 80s. If there is one thing the 80s meant for little girls, it was Cabbage Patch Kids.

I have fond memories of my Cabbage Patch doll. Her name was Gretel (yes, my dad thought that was very cute). She had a lovely head of red yarn, a blue dress, and Xavier Roberts written across her bottom. She was "from" Holland, and her little, tulip encrusted, faux-wood shoes were the height of fashion, in my opinion. I loved this doll so much, my grandmother thought I would have equal adoration for the Cabbage Patch storybooks that premiered around that time. She read them to me every night before bedtime. And that's where it all went wrong. 

The Cabbage Patch storybooks told all about the kids and their adventures. It also showed their beginnings in the cabbage patch. But no good story is written without conflict, and conflict often means a villain. In the case of the Cabbage Patch kids, it meant the most frightening villain of all. Cabbage Jack, the jack rabbit.

He had a thirst for flesh of children...and poor dental hygiene.

This buck-toothed lagomorph haunted my nightmares for years. Years. He could eat Cabbage Patch kids, why couldn't he eat real kids? Hey, in five year old logic land, it made perfect sense. I wouldn't willingly go near a rabbit or a garden and I was too afraid to tell my grandmother to stop reading the books. I thought saying his name would catch his attention and call him out. 

If you're keeping score that means:
vampires/werewolves/zombies: 0
bunnies in clothing: 1

Eventually I got over my rabbit phobia, but I remember the time clearly. What childhood fears did you fall prey to that now seem, well, embarrassing? Can you top the fear of bunnies? Feel free to discuss in the comments.