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MANERISMS #7: IT’S OKAY TO BE SCARED AS LONG AS YOU NEVER, EVER SHOW IT

pale

Basements are a little like the derrières of houses: if you don’t continually clean out all the crap you’ve got stored down there, something can start to stink pretty badly.

Everyone’s had their fair share of basement tidying projects their parents made them suffer through. Mommy and daddy think these little side jobs don’t affect their kids, but when you start opening articles with metaphors like the one I just used, it’s clear all may not have been right in the DeFaveri basement.

Basement tidying starts innocently enough. You reach for the basement doorknob with your shaking, sweaty hand, deciding whether to pull it open quickly or bit-by-bit. If you open it quickly, the gnashing, child eating monster down there can lunge at you immediately and kill you. But if you open it slowly, the monster has to break through the door before he can lunge at you and kill you. “Slow’s the way to go.” That was my mantra, anyway.

Once the door’s open the light switch is most likely visible – unless your family is comprised of some sick, twisted people, in which case your light switch is at the bottom of the steps, past the pantry and holy hell that chair just waved at me.

You flick the light switch and fill the room with the kind of warm glow only a dusty, 7 year-old incandescent bulb can provide. The gnashing monster won’t show itself in the light. It’s science. (there were studies).

Since you’re tasked with bringing boxes of old crap upstairs, you spend as little time doing that as possible. Only when mom yells down the stairs asking if you’re coming do you actually grab a box and bring it upstairs.

“That’s not the box I meant,” she’ll say.

Oh? My mistake. Let me take this back down, I’ll be right back up.

I don’t know how, but at this point in the box-moving project we’ve been lulled into an utterly false sense of security. What do you have to do when you finish the job?

Turn the light off and SPRINT upstairs. You sprint because something else down there wants to finish the job, too. You pissed it off. You moved its stuff around, you spilled juice on the floor, you moved the furniture and messed with the feng shui. You deserve whatever’s coming to you.

We channel the powers of Usain Bolt and blast up the steps faster than we’ve ever ran in our lives. The Flash would have a hard time keeping up. Fat kids become elite 50-yard dash runners for a brief moment.

The best part? Every kid holds the record for fastest time on ascending basement steps: one millisecond. Any slower than that and you were probably eaten or you’re alive and still nursing the scratch wounds on your leg.

I’ve compiled a list of the most commonly found monsters in basements, but it’s incomplete. I implore you: take this seriously. It won’t be so funny when you send your child down in the darkness only to find his chewed, gnarled remains days later in the basement fridge you asked him to clean out.

  • Shadow People

Shadow people typically appear during the onset of sleep paralysis in an individual, but they’re known to make basements their second home. From Wikipedia:

“Shadow people (also known as shadow ghosts, shadow figures, shadow beings, shadow men, or shadow folk) are supernatural shadow-like figures of both modern folklore and paranormal popular culture that believers describe as dark humanoid forms or evasive specters that are seen mostly in peripheral vision. They are commonly regarded as malicious or evil spirits.”

Will they eat children?
If provoked, yes.

  • Pale Man

He isn’t just some jerk behind a magical chalk door: he’s real, and he’s going to eat you and spit out your shoes. He won’t even arrange them in a neat little row, either – they just go in one big pile. Guillermo del Toro planned to do a sequel to Pan’s Labyrinth, picking up in the middle of the first one when Ofelia escapes from the Pale Man’s castle. When she escaped, she dropped a piece of her magic chalk on the ground, and the Pale Man has learned how to use it. He’s coming for you, and judging from the giant pile of shoes we saw in the movie, he’s snacked on his fair share of little boys and girls.

Will he eat children?
Yes, unconditionally.

There are still monsters to discover, and there’s still time to educate the public. Please, if you have any monsters you’ve personally seen or encounters you would like to share, take the time to post them below. Almost getting eaten is a traumatic experience, but you don’t have to fight the battle alone. There are others. Stay strong.

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