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Growing Up Geek: The Mask of Death

Growing Up Geek by Joey Paur

There's a reason why I love horror movies so much. The road to becoming a horror movie fan started at a very young age, and it's my parents' fault. Look, I love my parents to death, but they did some pretty crazy things when I was a kid. (Although, for the record, I love them more for it.) I can't help but laugh at some of the things they did. 

As a little kid I was an early riser. I was wide awake and ready to go at 4 or 5 in the morning. I wanted to watch my cartoons and eat my cereal, so I would go wake up my mom and dad to fulfill those childhood needs. I was my parents' first kid, and I know for a fact that they were annoyed as hell with this little habit of mine. 

They were so fed up with it that they concocted a plan to keep me away from their bedroom so I wouldn't wake them up in the mornings.

My dad was taking a special effects make-up class in college at the time, and he had created this terrifying mask as one of his projects. It had a bald head with horns, sharp teeth, and bloodshot eyes. This thing was scary as hell. That's a real picture of it above. 

To keep me away from their room in the morning they placed the mask head on a stick at the end of the hallway in front of their door. 

So one morning I wake up, exit my room, and start down the hallway to my parents' room, and there it is... The mask of death lurking in the shadows staring right at me. I freeze like a deer In the headlights and just stare at it. 

I couldn't really make out what it was at first because it was still dark. I didn't give up so easily, though. I took a few more steps toward it, and then the real fear started to sink in. As my eyes adjusted to the dark I could see the terrifying face looking at me like it wanted to swallow my soul.  To make things worse my eyes instantly started playing tricks on me, and it looked like it moved! The damn thing moved!! 

I immediately ran out of the hallway, into my bedroom, shut the door, jumped in my bed and pulled the blankets over my head hoping the beast wouldn't find me. 

From then on I cautiously left my room in the mornings, poked my head around the corner and looked down the hallway to see if it was safe. It wasn't safe for a long time. The idea that my parents came up with worked, so they kept doing it. That beast was the guardian of my parents' room for long time, and I didn't dare test its patience.

I just think it's hilarious that the best idea my parents could come up with to keep me out of their bedroom was to scare the living shit out of me. I grew to love that mask, though!

This all carried on later in my life. I love that adrenalin rush of being scared. Some horror movies bring back that same feeling I had as a kid when I saw that damn mask. As I got older I paid the fear forward, and I went to great lengths to scare the hell out of my brothers, which is something I still do to this day. 

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