It's that time of year again. The time when I should really know better than to open a video that comes to me through email sent by one of my friends with a subject line of, "You can hear her head hit the pole!" I mean, the person who sent me this video is no more amused than I am by videos of people getting hurt, so why I casually opened it right before parent teacher conferences last night without our school's portable defibrillator handy I have no idea.
Of course, I was watching closely as the girl started riding her bike through what looked like a maze of carnival rides. Of course I was waiting to see her have a humorous accident in which she hit something hard ("You can hear her head hit the pole!") Of course I shot up a good foot out of my chair when the boogeyman suddenly jumped into the scene while my nose was about 3 inches away from the screen.
And of course I immediately forwarded it on to three or four friends. After my heart rate got back to normal.
Every year someone gets me with a good startle video. You know the type; you're told to look for a ghostly mist in a foreign car commercial or to decipher some song lyrics or to solve the puzzle in a PowerPoint slide and just when your full concentration is on your computer screen some creature jumps in your face and screams. After a quick trip to the restroom, I usually find the whole thing funny and try to share the love with some friends or my students (for such a technologically literate bunch, teenagers fall so easily for these things when a trusted figure like the school librarian pulls it up on a screen.)
But here's the thing: I think I'm getting too old for these. Next year at the six-year remission marker, I have to start having my heart checked every year. I just know the first screening test will yield some comment from the doctor like, "Do you know you have a slightly irregular heart beat?" And I will have to say, "Yes, and I am pretty sure that started after Jason's brother sent us the email asking us to watch and listen to a song that played under scrolling lyrics to try to figure out who sang the song, and about 30 seconds in Linda Blair's The Exorcist face popped up full-screen with a loud screen accompanying it."
Really, I think that one scare email took about 6 months off my life. It scared me so bad I cried for a couple of minutes after it was over not because I feared for my mortal soul but because my body had just produced more adrenaline in that split second of horror than it knew what to do with and needed to get rid of it all somehow.
So, if you are an easy startler like me, if you're starting to feel like haunted houses and annual scare emails might be taking their toll on your ticker, let's help each other out.
In the comments, please attach links to any scare videos you've received or know about. If you can't find a link, just describe the video and give any info you can remember about what was in the subject line. That way we'll all know what's out there (at least this year!) and have some advanced warning.
Or, if you still like a good scare, you have some new goodies to pass along to your friends.
I am certainly not saying that I no longer want to get these, because they are fun. I just want to know what to expect the rest of this Halloween season so that I don't fail my next stress test.
And in that spirit, here's a link to the car commercial. You have been warned.