driving home with some friends from a movie set a few years ago (dag, it was ten years ago), my friend and i were talking about what scared us when we were kids. for jared, it was werewolves. for me, it was aliens.
aliens scared me to no end. and during the 1990s, they were high in the popular zeitgeist. any movie that dealt with mysterious extraterrestrials terrified me. if i was home alone or lying in my basement bedroom in the dark of night, i expected a light to appear and i would vanish with the malevolent visitors.
why? because there was nothing you could do against them. nothing. vampires can be stopped with garlic or oak stakes or holy water or crosses or sunlight (honestly, how did dracula even get anything done?), werewolves are easily killed with a silver bullet (got that, jared? i don't get why they were scary), and zombies you can kill in just about any way (i think that license to be creative is part of why people like zombie movies.) but when aliens come for you, weird stuff happens, that white light appears, and they're there. you can't fight. there's nothing you can do. you are powerless and at their unknown mercy.
did it start because i saw e.t. when i was three and got scared when he scared elliot in that cornfield? possibly; that moment made me jump until sometime in my teens. i "knew" aliens didn't exist. of course they weren't real. ...but what about those things you couldn't explain? what about those tv specials on fox about crop circles and people who claimed they had been abducted? what if they came for me? what if? what if??
those little thoughts circled and stirred and grew bigger and bigger.
needless to say, on friday evenings when the x-files was on, i would make sure to skip over that channel as fast as possible. that whole bloody show was centered around aliens.
well, i never did get taken by aliens.
nor did i ever see them.
even that shimmering silver object that my mom and i saw hovering over the soccer field is something i still have no explanation for, but life's gone on relatively normally since then anyway.
and sometime during the fourth season, i actually watched an episode of the x-files and wasn't so much scared by it as i was, well, it was awesome. i was hooked. i hung on every cliffhanger until i left for japan on my mission (which is ok, since it kind of tanked after that anyway.)
yes, yes it is.
now i'm wishing i hadn't written this so late at night; i'm getting a little creeped out about aliens....