Talking Dolls and Chain Saws, No Thank You!

The Obligatory Halloween Post

“I see stupid people….”

When I was a teenager, the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises were in their prime.  If you’ve never seen one of those movies, don’t fret because you didn’t miss much.  If there was any plot or storyline from either, it wasn’t strong enough to stick with me.  What I do remember are a lot of gory scenes which now-a-days a good Grey’s Anatomy surgery episode can probably beat.

Yes, the special effects back then were terrible!

Another thing I remember about these movies are that my friends and I would gather at someone’s home with the freshly minted VHS tape of the latest installment, pop some popcorn, grab some soda, turn out the lights and watch.  We would each pick a character to represent us and see who was the “winner”.  The “winner”, of course, was the one person who survived.  Usually it was the smart, slightly shy, brunette, female co-lead.  I suppose the moral of these movies was that if you weren’t the slutty blonde cheerleader you might one day survive a homicidal maniac trying to kill you at the cabin you and your friends snuck off to in order to engage in lots of premarital sex and drinking.  Huh, I guess I learned something from these movies after all.

Last week I watched the Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars with my daughter and I noticed that teen fright flicks haven’t changed much over the years.  This one was a little different because it took place on a train and it was PG because it was on TV, but teens in horror movies (or TV shows) are still acting like imbeciles and some things never change, like:

1.  The person who knows the secret that could save everyone will be the first to die.

2.  At some point, in order to get away from the villan, someone will run UP the stairs.

3.  Someone, not a very smart someone, will volunteer to go down into the basement to check out the spooky noise….by themselves.  ‘Cause that always turns out well.

4.  Here’s my favorite:  At some point the group will split up to find the killer so that at least 1 person is all alone.  Really?  I never, EVER, understood that one.

5.  When the doomed teen finally realizes he or she needs to escape, the battery in whatever vehicle they jump into will be dead.  OR they will drop the keys to said vehicle while running from the villan.

6.  Mistaking the werewolf, vampire, monster, zombie, killer, villan, the whatever for their best friend, girlfriend, boyfriend or whatever.  Huh, you think you know someone right?

You can’t tell me this isn’t terrifying!

I don’t watch a lot of scary movies anymore.  I think the last one I saw was The 6th Sense and I’m still afraid to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I’m also afraid of dolls.  At any moment I expect their little plastic heads to turn and then they’ll start talking….  Nope, never did care for that!  So, this Halloween the scariest thing at my house will be me eating all the candy I bought before the kids ring my doorbell.  And I can promise you that if I hear a scary noise in the basement I will NOT check it out!  Now, where’d I put my crucifix…..

Advice for Reacting to a Crisis

A giant, once in a lifetime Super-Storm is approaching the East Coast attacking multiple states with a vengeance.  At work, I am responsible for all of our offices in the East.  I was sitting safe and sound in my South Carolina home last night while this Frankenstorm was headed straight for 9 of my offices in Maryland  . . . and my employees who live there.

I’d checked in on everyone all day to make sure they were prepared, personally and professionally, and that my subordinates had contacted all of their subordinates and that everyone knew exactly what to do.  I’d spoken with our Call Center to advise them that our offices were closed and that we would keep them updated as we learned more.  So once I’d prepared all I could and made sure everyone else was prepared, what did I do?  Wait?  No!  I kept sending emails and texts saying, “Do you still have power?”  “How’s the weather?”  “What’s happening now?”

Seriously I thought that texting, “How’s the weather” to someone in a hurricane would be helpful?  Why did I need to know if they had lost power yet?  Because we knew it was going to go out, it was just a matter of when.  Was I going to send them some of my electricity when theirs went out?  No.  Asking these questions doesn’t make any sense and they aren’t helpful to the people I’m texting OR to me.  Because even if I do know the details of their situation, there’s not a damn thing I can do from way down here in South Carolina!  But when things happen around us over which we have no control, we need to do things that give us the illusion of control.  So on that same thread, here are my suggestions for ways to help in other crises situations:

Southern Baptist church’s cure

If someone is terminally ill, or heaven forbid they die, take food.  Fried chicken and macaroni and cheese is the favorite here in the South.  I’m not sure why fried chicken helps sick or dead people, but I know it works because churches have been doing it for years, especially Baptist churches, and churches wouldn’t continue to do something useless that makes no sense.

If you need to explain something to a deaf person, but you don’t know sign language and they don’t read lips, here’s what helps, talk really, really loud.  Even though they are deaf, yelling at them will help the situation.  Must be the shock waves or something.  Don’t bother getting a pen and paper to communicate.  That’s just crazy talk!

If someone gets hurt doing something you ever told them not to do, that is the exact time to remind them.  My mother was an expert at this.  Once I fell down the wooden, iced over steps outside our back door.  As I lay there on my head trying to figure out if I could still feel my arms and legs, my Mom was at the top of the steps screaming, “I’ve told you a million times to be careful going down these steps!  I knew one day you’d fall and break your neck out here!”  I can speak from experience that my Mom yelling her version of “I told you so” right after I’d fallen down the steps helped a lot.  It helped so much, that now I repeat this same process with my daughter.  I can tell she appreciates it every bit as much as I did when I was her age.  Ah, family traditions . . .

If you are faced with an emotional crisis to which there is no immediate relief, then a good solution is french fries . . . or cheesecake . . . but not both of them together because that’s just fattening.  This is also an acceptable solution to stress.  For instance, during the two week period when I needed to review 32 budgets?  My solution to the overwhelming stress, 13 hour days and 7 day work weeks?  French Fries!  A bonus is that after a couple of weeks of this plan you can also get a new wardrobe to accent your new physique!

Well, there you go!  That’s the Angry Middle Age Woman’s Guide to Survival during a crisis!  No need to thank me, the least I could do was share my words of wisdom with you while I await the results of this storm.  Really, it was the very least I could do.