‘Tis the season for scary stories, I hear. Somewhere between the “Dr. Feltersnatch” OBGYN costume and the human skull beer funnel is the timeless Halloween tradition of inducing panic through the telling of horrifying tales.
They are passed down from generation to generation and then, at some point, from generation to Internet where they will live forever alongside funny cat videos and 2 Girls, 1 Cup. It’s like the circle of life, but with scat. That being said, I think there’s no better time than now to hunker down and write my very own frightening tale. And by write, I mean type “www.WikiHow.com” into the address bar. I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention that my address bar auto-filled the page for WikiHow: To Get Down From a Bad High (long story, short: Molly from Manhattan is NOT your friend).
Step 1: Make a list of your greatest fears.
Ok, that’s easy: (1) drowning like Aladdin almost did before “using” his second wish (if you don’t know what I’m referring to, call your parents right now and tell them they should be ashamed of themselves), (2) three to four of my exes, and (3) choking on a hot dog alone at home.
Step 2: Add “what if” element to greatest fears.
Challenge accepted, WikiHow. “What if I choked on a hot dog while watching Aladdin?” Terrifying? Yes! Not much of a story though. “What if I was watching Aladdin and suddenly the screen goes black, then my crazy exes appear in a Brady Bunch formation; but the lovely lady’s story they’re singing about has nothing to do with single parents hooking up and everything to do with my never-ending loop of near-death hot dog experiences?” Too much? Fuck it! I’ll tell a true story. We’ll call it the WikiHow To Improperly Handle Your Mom Finding Out You’re Gay.
It was a dark and stormy night on the eve of National Margarita Day. Little did I know the taste of a delicious margarita would soon be replaced by the something much saltier than its rim. Is it sounding scary yet? My neighbors had invited me over to watch some World Wrestling Entertainment. It usually wasn’t my cup of tea, but with enough weed I could be entertained by just about anything. So, I happily accepted their invitation to smoke all their drugs. Little did I know that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wasn’t the only one who was cooking something up. Getting scarier, right?!
I could hear my phone ringing in the adjacent room as I made my way to the bathroom to “freshen up” (aka stare at myself in the mirror with eyes so glazed over I could use dental floss as a blindfold). The phone rang again – that’s odd. I put a pause on the stoner bathroom trip and checked to see who was blowing my shit up at 11:30 p.m.
“2 Missed Calls: Mother”
There is no question that I was absolutely too stoned to speak with my mother on the phone, a lesson I had learned my sophomore year of high school. I attributed the calls to the other timeless tradition of butt-dialing in order to make myself feel better. The phone rang for a third time, and this time I could see the mommy/baby contact picture flashing on my screen. My heartrate was well over 130 BPM as I had come to the conclusion that someone was dead. I had no choice; I had to pick up the phone and sound as if I had just been awoken from a responsibly-timed slumber.
“Are you awake? Do you have something you want to tell me?” Oh, God, NO…”Are. You. Dating. A. GIRL?” The feeling that came over me as she muttered that question is one I will never forget. It was almost exactly like that moment in Saving Private Ryan when a bomb goes off next to Tom Hanks. All I heard was a high-pitched ringing while the world as I knew it crumbled around me in slow motion. I was maybe two weeks into my first same-sex relationship and maybe a handful of friends knew. How the fuck did she find out? I was terrified, my mother was traumatized and my buzz was completely gone. There was no way I could WikiHow my way out of this one.
I was barely in the closet before the door swung open. It was definitely scary, but this “horror” story has a happy ending. It took a few years, many tears and much-needed patience, but the wounds healed and our bond is stronger than ever before. I know this isn’t the outcome for everyone and heaven only knows how I would have handled breaking the ol’ lady-lovin’ news myself. I guess I have to give it to the universe this time. Its mysterious ways may have thrown me in a crazy loop, but my life is far from a horror story today because of it. Plus, I can totally wear my “Dr. Feltersnatch” costume now for Halloween this year—and maybe Thanksgiving so my family can enjoy turkey and uncomfortable table topics.