Friday, October 30, 2009

In Which Douglas Thought of Haunted Asylums & Giving Away a Free Book

I had meant to post this on Monday, but it feels better rising here from the crypt on a Friday pre-Halloweeny eve.

The week was busy, but whose wasn’t? I did manage to write. Yes, it’s true. And I may possibly finish my rough draft by tomorrow if I can foil my family in their dastardly & nefarious schemes. Then I’ll finish up the Seasonal Affective Disorder article I plan on posting this Tuesday. I think you’ll like it.

Before I move on to the weekly contest, I wanted to share this li’l gem with you.

Clinton ‘Asylum Of Terror’ Haunted House Angers N.J. Mental-Health Advocates

Every year it seems someone somewhere feels the need to whine to the press about how haunted houses based on mental wards are doing irreparable damage to the cause of Mental Health. This year New Jersey pulled the fuzzy lollipop out of the candy bag.

“So many people white-knuckle through mental illness and don’t realize how it’s impacting their life,” [Celina Gray, executive director of the Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma] said. “There could be people out there in the audience who are struggling with a mental illness and will not come out and say a word to anyone now.”

You have no idea how many times this has happened to me. For instance, there I was wincing and gingerly walking through a haunted hospital when a pimply-faced proctologist leaped out from behind a counter and snapped a rubber glove at me. I’ve never been to a hospital since. Those crazy doctors… I’m going to die of prostate cancer because of them. Don’t get me started on the haunted car repair shop and its Hydraulic Lift of HORROR. Now I’ll be endlessly forced to drive around with bad breaks because of those heartless hacks.

As a man whose life is slapped around and kicked in the nether regions by mental health issues almost every day, I wish these do-gooders would back up their whambulance and head on back to Trenton. People aren’t made of egg shells. They’re tough and a lot smarter than experts credit them. Besides, who is this strawman who confuses real psychotherapy with a group of kids in gore stained smocks waving rubber knives around?


And now for the contest. I have one signed copy of Martine Leavitt’s “Heck Superhero”—a story about a homeless boy and his search for his mentally ill mother. He copes with his fractured world by imagining he is a superhero. (The book was almost in the running for a Newbery.) Just tell me who is greeting you in the creepy photo above or tell me something scary about yourself.

I’ll start:

After climbing out of Hell’s basement, I discovered to my horror that Hell was heavily scented with artificial cinnamon. I was allergic to it, of course. A short-winged aromatherapist awaited me with a tray of delights all designed to induce that oh-no-I’m-stuck-in-bumper-to-bumper-traffic-and-the-nearest-exit-is-eleven-miles-away feeling. I returned to the basement.

Good luck!

Douglas sig