If you have never had the…um…pleasure of experiencing a full-blown panic attack, consider yourself lucky. When I was in my early twenties–back in the days before compact discs and Pantene–I used to have a lot of them. I worked in a bank and had what was, perhaps, the strangest job description a financial institution has ever concocted. In the morning, I adopted the role of bubbly receptionist with an Osmond Family grin. In the afternoon, however, I kissed my sunny disposition adieu and put on my snarly collection officer hat. Ironically, my desk didn’t change. Just my persona.
Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas
I wonder how many customers wandered away thinking, “that little redheaded girl must suffer from a multiple personality disorder.” Note to self: stay away from former place of employment and men who drive large white vans with padded interiors.
Anywho, I blame the sudden appearance of my panic attacks on my unusual job duties. And on the fact that I was still living among cockroaches. And I had just been chased down the street by a man in an electric wheelchair. But you already know about all of that.
Amazingly, I was not the lone sufferer of high anxiety. It turned out that the soft-spoken, seemingly “had her shit together” loans officer–we’ll call her Wilma. I don’t know why–spent a great deal of her time fighting heart palpitations, dizziness, and an irrepressible desire to flee with her hands up in the air yelling gibberish.
In fact, she introduced me to a sure-fire way to fight the panic. And it involved lying on the floor. Now, my fear of being stepped on–particularly by someone wearing golfing cleats–precluded me from flopping spread-eagle on the linoleum beside my desk, aka the Jekyll and Hyde district.
“Wilma,” however had a carpeted office with a functioning door. Here, we could both lie on our backs, engage in deep-breathing exercises, and imagine our “happy places.” Hers involved meadows, songbirds, and sunshine. Mine was Times Square on a July afternoon–which could explain why meditation has never worked for me.
Thankfully, once I shed the job, the panic attacks–and the need to find a carpeted spot in a low-traffic area–disappeared. As did my antacid addiction. And my fear of mental health professionals.
While I have been panic attack-free for twenty years, there are a few things that could potentially tip me over the edge.
1. Clowns freak me out. Personally, I think there is something seriously wrong with someone who spends their day in big floppy shoes, an afro wig, and lipstick that looks like it was put on by a far-sighted centenarian with a tremor.
Personally, I have never understood why people flock to circuses. And I always give Ronald McDonald statues a wide berth. But no amount of Zoloft could quell the anxiety that sleeping on an actual “clown pillow” would create.
Seriously. There are people that actually make clown pillows. And, there are sick, twisted, individuals with way too much disposable income who buy them.
Here is a horrifying glimpse of the many innocent pillows that have been defaced by clowns.
Which one would deprive you of the most zzz’s? Which one is the least horrific?
2. This is a strange phobia, I know–especially for someone who loves cars as much as I do–but El Camino’s scare the crap out of me. I don’t know why.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Chevy’s version of the Ford Ranchero (another freak on wheels), it was basically a coupe with a truck box. Yup, Dr. Frankenstein bred a Chevelle with a C1500 and this is the ugly baby.
Forget the ’57 Fury. Christine should have been an El Camino. Definitely uglier. And a whole lot scarier.
3) The ugliest toy known to man, without a doubt, is the troll doll. Dolls, as you know, are high on my list of “things that freak me out,” but the worst of all are these rainbow-coloured freaks with bad hair and mongoloid monkey faces. Their association with Mimi Bobeck does not help either. She was just weird.
Since I’m supposed to be regaling you with dendrite-enhancing knowledge, here are a few little known troll doll facts.
It turns out that it is perfectly okay to refer to these plastic atrocities as “damn trolls” as you are not too far off the mark. The first collectible troll dolls were created by the Dam family of Denmark in the ’50s and are officially known as “Dam Things.”
The most collectible trolls are black trolls, 2-headed ones (yikes), those with real mohair, and ones that appear to be the result of an animal pairing.
DreamWorks animation has acquired the film rights to the Damn Things troll dolls and, apparently, plans to use them in a feature film. This would truly be a horror flick.
That’s enough about troll dolls. I’m getting hives.
What things freak you out?
Photo credits: Old folk on Rascals (http://www.kulfoto.com/funny-pictures/20153/riding-together), Panic attack (http://www.trollmania.org/it-was-just-a-little-panic-attack/), Happy Place (http://yenyoga.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/celebrating-summer-yoga-in-times-square/), Giant Cleat (http://www.flickr.com/photos/redlady_rike/), “Go To Bed” (http://www.meh.ro/tag/clowns/);clown pillows: handstitched (http://www.etsy.com/listing/117997398/vintage-needlepoint-clown-pillow-pale), Cheshire cat grin (http://www.migandtig.com/Circus-Clown-Pillow-Down-Filled_p_2612.html), 5 o’clock shadow clown (http://etsystalker.com/2010/04/22/scary-clowns-for-violet/), hole in head (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/free-shipping-new-arrive-The-Horror-Clown-cushion-pillow-b0873/703275_421999360.html), impressionist clown (http://www.zazzle.com/funny+clowns+pillows), pompom fringe (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=34926.0#axzz2ajKJNvbP); El Camino (http://1969elcaminoforsale.com/), troll tattoo (http://pics3.this-pic.com/key/dam%20troll%20dolls).