Friday, July 19, 2013

The "Whelp" Response: How Being a SF/F Fan Makes Me React Like a Lunatic

by Sara N.

Oh, God, please don't be in my house. 
The other day, I was sitting in my house and heard the disembodied voice of a crying child. And I thought to myself, "Whelp, my house is haunted."

But after a second, I got up to see if there was a kid somewhere outside — you know, the common-sense response of a normal person. Turns out, my neighbor's child sounds like a mournful child ghost when he's bouncing on the trampoline in his backyard. A little spooky, maybe, but not otherworldly.

Still, it made me realize how often I immediately jump to the supernatural conclusion before fact-checking myself a split-second later. I blame all of the sci fi/fantasy/horror books, movies and TV shows that I consume in which crazy events with out-there explanations are an everyday event.

Other examples:

I came home from work to find one of my neighbors standing motionless in his front yard, staring dully into the middle horizon, and I thought, "Whelp, my neighbor's a zombie." (I didn't swerve into him with my car, though. That's self-control right there.)

Any slightly weird lights in the night sky, and I'm thinking, "Whelp, the aliens are finally here. Hope they're friendly."

These two are welcome in my home.
When the lights in my house flickered a few times during a thunderstorm, I thought, "Whelp, there's a demon nearby. I hope Sam and Dean Winchester get here soon."

I see Paul Rudd looking the same today as he did in Clueless in 1995, and I think, "Whelp, Paul Rudd is an immortal from the Highlands of Scotland. Wonder where he hides his sword."

Of course, within a millisecond, I realize that the electricity is flickering because of the bad weather, and the weird lights in the sky are probably an airplane. However, I'm still not sure what my neighbor was doing. (Seriously, he had the slack face and blank eyes of the undead.) Also, I'm fairly sure Paul Rudd IS ageless, but it may be a crossroads demon thing rather than a Highlander situation.

Please, please, please tell me I'm not alone in this. Does anybody else have split-second crazy reactions fed by your love of the sci fi/fantasy/horror genres before common sense prevails?

P.S. The Google image search I did for child ghosts was terrifying. But not as terrifying as what comes up when you Google "Sam and Dean."
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  1. I remembered a few weeks ago, I have a dream where my shadow was choking me, only to wake up at 3 AM and surrounded by shadows and my first thought was Vashta Nerada from Doctor Who.

    It's also a running joke in my family that Skynet is still out there and just biding out time until there's a generation who can't read a map, do math without a calculator or communicate vocally, hence the surge of smart phones.

    I've also come to the conclusion that Hugh Jackman actually is Wolverine, which explains how he's so talented (You master a lot of things when you're immortal) and how he hasn't aged in the past 15 years. I also don't trust kids or old people. They're the ones to watch out for, according to various TV shows and movies.

  2. Oh, the same thing happens to me all the time. Only I don't generally get around to thinking of the more mundane solutions...I'd rather believe that the mysterious poop in my backyard is dragon poop and I still have no idea where that music box music came from in the bedroom. I don't own a music box and husband heard it too. Sure, it could be something left in the walls from construction, but I'm doubting it. The house is 14 years old and we never heard it before.

  3. All.The.Time.

    I googled child ghosts. Why did I google child ghosts? I'm stealing the kids nightlight tonight.

  4. Paul Rudd IS immortal. Or not human. Or a genetic freak of nature :) I'm bad about the ghost thing. Thank you Sci-Fi/Bio Channel ghost shows for making me paranoid that any house over 50 years old is haunted. The creepiest thing is when my dogs start barking at nothing in a random corner of my house. I'm like, "Aaaaand, we have ghosts."

  5. So very glad that I'm not the only one who reacts like that! "Boggart" and "pooka" are my most frequent explanations for things like the doors in my apartment that open by themselves.