Monday, December 28, 2015

Horror Show


Why do horror movies always show the villain as an older person?  Maybe because the ultimate horror is aging.

I've never liked horror movies, even as a kid.  When I went to a horror movie, I would scream like a little girl - and still do - even at the non-scary parts.  Some of my friends seemed to enjoy them, particularly the bloody parts.   That's one reason I decided to find new friends, frankly.

But I think as you get older, horror movies lose their fascination.  It is a young person's genre.   Old people don't go to horror movies.

Why?

Because if they want a real horror show they need only look in the mirror.

Yes, death to old people is not some far-off hypothetical thing, but a nearby friend, ready to strike at a moment's notice.   And like in the horror movies, it can be horrific, in terms of pain, suffering, and sheer shock value.

I went to an estate sale once in our apartment building in Alexandria.  The aging high-rise, just South of the Woodrow Wilson bridge was full of aging little old ladies, often living alone.   We saw a sign in the elevator that said "estate sale" and followed the signs.

The last worldly possessions of a little-old-lady were there for sale.  Pretty pathetic, really.  Used toaster ovens, that sort of thing.   I asked the lady running the sale what was going on, and she said she volunteered with an organization that helped settle the estates of old ladies like this, who had no one else to handle their affairs.  They also tried to "check in" on women like this, to make sure they were OK.

I asked how she had died, and she said that the lady fell and broke her hip.  "Oh, did she go to the hospital?" I asked.

"No, she died right there..." she replied, pointing to a large stain in the hardwood floor that I was standing on, "...after several days."

Talk about a horror show.  The poor old lady had fallen down and slowly died, unable to reach the phone and summon for help, no doubt soiling herself after a few hours or days.  Waiting for the inevitable - hoping someone would come.  Knowing that no one would.  Crying out for help until you are hoarse.

Sadly, she had not signed up with the charity to have someone check on her.  So no one came to rescue her.

A real horror show, no?   And all I kept thinking was, I was living in the same building, sleeping peacefully while someone died horribly only a few floors away.  Could I have not visited her regularly to check on her?  I didn't know she existed.  It made me very sad.

That's getting old, right there in a nutshell.   No wonder old folks don't want to go to horror movies.  They are living it.

To young people, death seems far off.   They take risks and get away with them.  They fall off their skateboards and heal quickly.   Life seems like a joke.  You are young, life is long, and you heal easily from cuts and bruises.

That phase doesn't last long, believe me.

Pretty soon, you are staring death in the face, on a daily basis, and no matter how you slice it, it is a messy deal for all involved.   Even if you die peacefully in your sleep, you leave a surviving spouse to deal with the horror of discovering your corpse, the sorrow of losing you, and the pain of living on.

I guess that's why I don't see the fun in horror movies.   Here on retirement island, we are living it.



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