In my younger days I greatly enjoyed going to horror movies.
Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and many of their ilk and their spinoffs and sequels were all grist for the mill.
I recognized that they were not really ‘horror’ movies. They were merely grisly productions with lots of gore.
But I went to see them anyway.
That was decades ago.
I have lost my taste for such fare. Further, I can no longer stomach the faux suspense and how this is built up with sound effects.
I was recently caught in such a movie. I went into it thinking it would be a thriller, but it turned out to be a slasher. The nubile heroine was breathing hard. She was terrified and her wide eyes were rolling. She was uttering little moans as she limped to the very spot where the killer was hiding. The music built up to a crescendo.
It became too much for me.
I snapped out of it by looking at the dimly lit exit signs that cast faint shadows. And then I looked at the guy in the seat next to mine. He was so enthralled that he had forgotten to transfer the popcorn he held in his hand to his mouth. He was balancing an oversize container on his belly and there was popcorn all over his shirt. His breathing was stertorous.
The tension vanished like a balloon deflating.
Sometimes you have a really rough day. Consider Gilbert.
Gilbert was bleary eyed as he walked into his office. His ex-wife was supposed to have his son for the entire week. But something urgent and work-related came up and she rang his doorbell in the early morning, deposited the youngster, and left.
Desperate, he called his sister. She agreed to babysit his son but wanted to know why Gilbert had not returned her best friend’s phone calls. “Because she is boring and clinging and I don’t want to date her,” he screamed in his mind. But he was politic and did not articulate his feelings. He agreed to go out to dinner with the friend on Saturday. The Saturday he was looking forward to hanging out with his best friend from college who was only in town for that one day.
His largest client called and wanted to know if he had executed the sell order he had placed. Gilbert almost said “ What sell order?” and then he saw the big, bold note that his assistant had left on his desk. The note said that the client wanted him to take action right away.
“Yes, I did,” he lied, and the client hung up. Gilbert sold the shares. Surely the stock had not moved in the few minutes he was late? It had. It had dropped ten points in that period. He would make the client whole from his personal funds but there would be all kinds of nastiness and explanations and it would not look good when it entered his personnel file.
He checked his email. His girlfriend thought it would be a dandy idea if they gave some space to each other. He was not much fun to be with these days and she had met someone and thought she might have feelings for him.
His insurance guy called him in the afternoon. His new Tesla was in the shop and apparently it could not be restored. It had been a nasty accident and the car was totaled. And, no, he was not insured. He had his insurance on auto renew but his credit card had expired, and the charge had not gone through. With a shock he remembered two emails and from the insurance company that he had not opened and a call from his insurance broker he had not returned.
His mother called promptly at five. She wanted to know why he never had time for her anymore.
There are times when you feel as if you were a rag dog in the jaws of a hyper-active terrier.
What do you do on such days? What can you do?
Do what I did to break the spell of the horror movie.
Watch this great drama playing out and don’t identify with the poor Gilbert who is being tossed around like a beach ball by a school of trained dolphins.
Be the witness. Be anchored in the witness and enjoy the show.
It is not easy. But it can be done. You need to practice, and practice and practice.
Here is a thought that may help you.
You really don’t have a choice.
You can do what I suggest. Or you can drown in an ocean of sorrow.