A Holiday For Confronting Our Fears

October 18, 2011

Who doesn’t like a good scare?

First of all, I must report that, as I mentioned here on the site a few weeks ago, I traveled to Philly on Sunday for TNA wrestling’s Bound For Glory event at the Liacouras Center at Temple University. This was TNA’s biggest event of the year, and it was a pretty stark contrast to Wrestlemania 27, WWE’s biggest event of the year, which I attended back in April. WWE packed 71,000 people, myself included, into the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. TNA couldn’t sell out the Liacouras Center, capacity about 10,000. I would say there were maybe 4000 people there. Still, TNA is doing their best to compete in a landscape so dominated by WWE that even this could be considered a step in the right direction for them. The event itself featured a couple of pretty good matches, and some not so great ones. I was most excited, though, to see Hulk Hogan, my idol, compete. Even though the whole time I was just hoping he wouldn’t severely injure himself, at his age, it was still a once in a lifetime experience to see him, and I’ll never forget it. Despite his character flaws, this was still the man who revolutionized the sport of professional wrestling, and I’ll always respect and admire him for that.

Back here in New York, as fall rolls on, we’re approaching the major holiday alley, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Hannukah all coming up. This is a fine time of year, the leaves changing, the weather getting colder; time to break out the heavy comforter from the closet and start thinking about soups, stews, and chili to fill the belly. I feel like a bear getting ready to sleep in the comfort of a cave somewhere for the next few months. Even if that option is not actually available to me…what with having to go to work, and all…it’s still nice to get into the bathrobe and slippers and sip a nice hot drink, and before too long, watch the snow fall outside. In the meantime, Halloween, the first of the major fall/winter holidays, is right around the corner, and the decorations are up all around the neighborhood. Halloween was always a favorite of mine. The imagery that goes along with it: the skulls, black cats, etc. I always found appealing, for no other reason, I think, than my own morbidity. I’m the guy who wears few colors voluntarily other than black, and I love the monster movie marathons that are always on TV at this time of year. I also like the dressing up and wearing of masks. There’s something very primal about it, the concealing of one’s identity and the playing at being someone or something else. The pageantry of it, I think, appeals to something in all of us, and the donning of masks meant to represent things that frighten us is a kind of catharsis. Once a year we take on the form and shape of things that oftentimes we would rather not think about, death head masks in their myriad shapes and forms. Who doesn’t like to be frightened? To revel in that which we are afraid of has a strange universal appeal…and then to know that it is only play-acting, and that we’re still all ourselves underneath is the way we can do it and still be okay with it. It’s the same appeal as watching a horrific or disturbing movie, knowing that it is, in fact, only fantasy, and we can always turn our heads away if need be. I, for one, would rather dare myself to look. Just another way that I’m a glutton for punishment, I guess.

Megan and I haven’t decided yet what we’re doing for the holiday, but with all the costumed parades, zombie bar crawls, and everything else this city has to offer to terrify and tantalize, I’m sure we’ll come up with something. I hope everyone else has some good plans for the holiday, as this is one that both young and old should be able to enjoy. Just remember, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself…and the occasional serial killer who uses this holiday to strike with impunity. But really, what are the chances of that?

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