Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Three Terrifying Things No One Seems to Know about Except Me

#3: Man-Babies

If you’ve ever worked at a 1-hour photo, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, well, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Man-babies are babies that look like grown men. They can be either sex, but are usually male. They look like what you might get if you took a burly Italian man and performed some kind of digital regression to make him roughly the size and shape of a rather large baby. You know how in Harry Potter 5 there’s that hour glass thingy in the Department of Mysteries that turns that Death Eater’s head into a baby? It’s probably a lot like that. J.K. Rowling definitely worked in a photo lab.

I have a hard time communicating to non-photo-store employees exactly what is so frightening about man-babies, but just trust me. They are damn creepy. The worst part is, the parent is always oblivious. They are just as convinced as all other parents that their baby is the cutest thing ever and they take many, many pictures of their little perversion of nature.

Most people have had the unsettling experience of peering into a stroller or crib and finding themselves face to face with what appears to be a giant prune drooling from a gaping hole that only Picasso’s imagination could have placed in that particular spot. It’s awkward as hell to then have to simultaneously stammer praises and excuses for why you can’t pick the bonnet-wearing piece of oozing dried fruit up. But then you learn your lesson and the next time you see the prune monster, you are better prepared.

There is no way to prepare yourself for the sight of a man-baby. Even if you know it’s coming, the sensation of having your guts pulled out through your belly button and then put back in backwards is undiminished. The inexplicably proud mother enters the photo shop, diaper bag and stroller in tow. You immediately recognize her from the prints you just quality-checked and gagged over, and you begin to shiver and murmur prayers to Yctazl, the Tazmanian god of pretzels, that she left the changeling in the car with the windows up. As she crosses toward the counter, you realize from the way her eyes dart concernedly to the stroller that Yctazl will not save you: IT’S IN THERE!

You force yourself not to look. Maybe if you don’t look directly at it, you can get through this. You hand the customer her order before she says a word and hope she interprets your furious typing on the register as efficient customer service and not as a desperate effort to get her and her demon offspring out of the store as quickly as possible. You limit your responses to single-syllables and primitive hand signals because the word “man-baby” is on the very tip of your tongue, ready to spring-board into the biggest customer-interaction disaster in history. Dear Yctazl, just please don’t let the woman stand at the counter for ten minutes reviewing every goddamn print. DO NOT let her order reprints, oh dear Lord of Pretzels, NO REPRINTS!

You wait the exact 2.45 seconds required after handing her the receipt to dash to the back of the store, where you huddle between the toxic waste tank and the spare rolls of glossy 6” paper while the coworkers who didn’t draw the short straw speak to you in soothing tones and offer you smelling salts and chocolate. In 40 minutes or so, you are able to stand up, but a part of you never recovers.

#2: Desert People

If you live in the southwestern United States and you *don’t* know who I’m talking about, it’s probably because you are one of them. If you still aren’t sure after reading this, watch Salad Fingers. Desert People are the so-called humans who inhabit the trailers and glorified tents with aluminum siding that you can occasionally glimpse from the interstate while speeding your way between civilized places like L.A. and Las Vegas. They typically live out of sight of anyone or anything, however, so it’s difficult to gauge how many there are and where.

Because of this, little is known about Desert People. They are likely afflicted with some degree of agoraphobia or possibly suffer from a gross misunderstanding of the virtue of independence. Though some keep animals like dogs and horses, many do not, which shows Desert People have a unique ability to tolerate, or possibly even enjoy, isolation and solitude. Further Desert People are rarely known to reproduce, therefore it must be assumed that there are those among us even now who will one day take up residence inside a tin can in the Nevada desert and will never be heard from again. Another popular theory is that they are descended from the Sand People of Tatooine, sent to Earth eons ago on a mission to locate alternative energy sources, only to find themselves unable to return home due to a shortage of bantha droppings.

If your car breaks down on the way to Vegas, you may be tempted to seek assistance from a Desert Person. Though reliable statistics on the success of such a strategy are not available, one can presume that the average Desert Person will either help you, ignore you, or eat your flesh with equal probability. Choose accordingly.

#1: A Centipede that Can Eat a Bat

This is officially the scariest thing in the known universe:

Yours in Perpetual Fear,

S. Misanthrope