Phil Dunphy

"I’m the cool dad, that’s my thang. I’m hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face." - Phil Dunphy

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What a Nightmare

            This past week, I experienced an event in English class unlike anything I have ever encountered in my life. The teacher’s directions seemed straightforward enough. Read a short story, do a SOAPSTone for the passage, and come to class prepared with reactions about the piece of work. Students in AP English read Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and, let me assure anyone reading this, Poe’s tale definitely proved itself as a “piece of work.” I think I should establish certain facts about myself before I continue with my experience. To begin with, I scare easily. For example, while in a haunted house this past year, I screamed so loudly that the witch who scared me asked if I…she asked a question that implied I shared numerous feminine qualities (use your imagination). Then the year before that, a certain girl and I shared a crush on each other. However, after a scary movie night get-together with friends, this girl shockingly informed me that she “wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with me anymore,” shortly after the movie night. I understood, and supported, her motives. Certain words definitely describe my personality when it comes to terrifying encounters. Words like sissy, wussy, and wimpy find their way right up my alley. Anyways, in class, we watched a short clip based off Poe’s work, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” adapted by Darrin Walker and Travis Mays. Walker and Mays attempt to dull down the fear-factor in their work by omitting a scene which includes human incapacitation as well as including a celebrity look-alike of Robert Downey Jr. These minor changes however, provided me with absolutely no sources of refuge from the terror that covered the screen. After peeking between my fingers for the majority of the film and turning purple in the face due to valiant efforts to withstand from screaming, I sneak a glimpse at my teacher during the closing credits. What I witness causes my heart to leap. For there, in her chair, some sort of fit seems to overcome my English teacher. I pity her, for I know the embarrassment of such reactions to a horror film. However, after seconds of watching her, I realize that she does not twitch uncontrollably in her chair due to fear, but rather because of laughter. I cannot believe my eyes. There I sit, haunted by an older man’s “vulture eye” and Robert Downey’s unspeakable deeds, while my teacher laughs in hysteria. I ask myself the question, “How could anyone find such enjoyment in a horror film?” After pondering this question for a couple days, I arrive at only one conclusion: certain people actually enjoy the feeling of going into cardiac arrest when their heart stops beating. Similar to riding a roller coaster, particular individuals harness the suspense created in a scary movie and somehow channel this energy into a thrill that leaves them hungry for more. In all honesty, I believe that there resides a bit of jealousy within me towards these people who relish horror movies. Over the next year, I will search for ways that will hopefully allow me to build a tolerance towards these films, and therefore enable me to watch scary movies with people of the opposite sex.


  1. First, I did not stop laughing the whole time I read this passage. Second, I am the same way regarding horror/thriller films. I do not love being scared, but each Halloween, I visit my horror-loving family and they really seem to enjoy watching me squirm. Some people just seem to love the thrill, and really love to force it on those who do not. Hang in there, Derek!

  2. Derek once again you have provided us with an absurd and comical tale of which I am quite sure you fabricated at least half of, however, very entertaining nonetheless. I relate your anecdote regarding Ms. Serensky's laughter to when she sat behind me at the theatre and uncontrollably giggled throughout all of the "sad" and "scary" scenes. Unlike each of you although, I am rather indifferent to scary productions and find them quite boring. Honestly, I prefer to sit there and ponder how much it cost to produce such a thing.

  3. I really hope you decided to add an exaggerative style to this paragraph, in order to make it funny. If you tried to do this, you successfully achieve this, because I laughed while reading this as well. However, if you wrote it with 100% seriousness, then you do indeed need to learn to develop a tolerance to horror. Believe me, I do not try and act like the tough guy here, but I cannot believe you having to cover your eyes during this film. As your friend (joking around), you really need to fix this. On the other hand, I agree with your point in that some people find it funny and enjoying when they experience fear. Take roller coasters, for instance, people scream their heads off in joy, except it must come from fright. Not one sane human could sit through a roller coaster and not feel their stomach drop in terror. So, in a way, I agree on your idea involving fear, except I hope you can overcome your fear of ten minute, somewhat-scary, films.

  4. DJ, I had the same reaction to Zahid Chohan's adaptation to "The Sound Machine." I could not bring myself to take notes when I knew an inhuman shrieking sound would pierce my ears. If you want to see a scary movie sometime we should go together, and talk through the entire thing. Additionally, would you consider the aforementioned ex-crush still available--if so, you have my number ;)