Things that scare the heck outta me (by Billy Coffey)

It’s a little ironic that though I tend to be a bit picture kind of guy, it’s hours and days I’m more interested in than months and years. What’s happening down the road doesn’t really concern me. What’s happening now does. This is why I tend to pay much more attention to my watch than my calendar.

This is also why it’s a good thing God made department stores. Otherwise, I would not know what holiday is upon us.

The department stores here say that Halloween will be soon. There are costumes and candy and ghouls and, even, greeting cards. You know you’ve arrived as a holiday when you get your own greeting cards. Halloween is getting big.

And I think it should be big, if for no other reason than it focuses upon one of the great issues of our lives.


In the interest of writing-frees-the-soul, I can confess that I normally do not talk about my fears. I’ll even go so far as to say that I go to certain lengths to maintain the lie that I do not have any. I do have fears. Many, in fact. And I don’t care who you are, how tough you happen to be, or how much faith you have, you’re scared of something, too.

However. The thing about fear is that it’s often a very big shadow of a very little thing. Dragging it out into the light and seeing it for what it is can be a liberating experience, or so I’ve heard. So it’s along those lines that I will blaze the trail for anyone else who might read this and admit those things that send a shiver up my spine and force me to sleep with the light on.


Ghosts? Ghosts don’t bother me. And I laugh at monsters. Vampires run from ME. But zombies freak me out. I think it’s the slow but steady movement. Zombies are patient, and I don’t understand patience. Honestly, the whole taste for human flesh thing doesn’t really bother me as much as the ratty clothes, the pale skin, and that “AAAHHHH” sound they make. Zombies are the worst creatures in the world. I don’t care who you are, if you turn into a zombie and come at me, I’ma killin’ you.


The fear of clowns is shared by so many people that it actually has a clinical name—coulrophobia. Stephen King wrote about Pennywise the Clown in It. John Wayne Gacy, one of the worst serial killers in history, dressed as Pogo the Clown for children’s birthday parties. And who can forget Crazy Joe Davola on Seinfeld? He dressed as a clown, too. And he was crazy.

Ventriloquist Dummies

When I was a kid I dreamed that I got a ventriloquist dummy for Christmas, but instead of using it, it put me on it’s knee, shoved a wooden hand up my back, and took me on tour around the country. He kept me in a small wooden steamer trunk and all he’d give me to survive on was Nilla Wafers. I’ll never forget that dream. And to this day I can’t eat Nilla Wafers. Nuff said.


Along those lines, dolls freak me out, too. I was watching Destination Truth the other night and they visited a place in Mexico called Isla de Las Munecas. Island of the Dolls. Legend states that the spirit of a drowned girl haunts the island and the dolls are there to appease her. Evidently that’s not working, though. Because now the dolls are haunted, too. Wanna see a picture of the lovely surroundings? (photo by esparta courtesy of Flickr)


Ice Cream Trucks

Those of you who have never seen the movie Maximum Overdrive may not truly appreciate how utterly mortifying ice cream trucks are. As much as I believe Stephen King to be a genius, he’s ruined more than one seemingly innocent thing for me. This is one. There’s an ice cream truck that drives around our neighborhood in the summer (blaring Christmas music, by the way), and every time I see it I make a hasty yet dignified retreat back into the house. This, by the way, is not that ice cream truck. I get too shaky to take a picture of it, so I borrowed this shot from the movie off the internet.

Yes, I know this one may be a little stupid. No, I don’t care. Ice cream trucks are evil. You’re just gonna have to trust me on that.

So there you go. All my fears laid out for your reflection and mockery. I figure I’m good so long as I never run into a zombie clown whose ventriloquist dummy is driving an ice cream truck sporting a doll as a hood ornament. Chances are that won’t happen.

But I figure most fears are like that, anyway.

To read more from Billy Coffey or to hyperlink pictures of zombies, clowns, ventriloquist dummies, dolls and/or ice cream trucks, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

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25 Responses to “Things that scare the heck outta me (by Billy Coffey)”

  1. Denise September 21, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    >Hey, I totally understand, lol

  2. ~*Michelle*~ September 21, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    >I am right there with you with 3 outta 5…..I, for one, run to ice cream trucks, those nutty buddies give me the adrenaline needed to overcome any Stephen King memory, probably kick a zombie's butt if I were bothered by them too….but zombies do nothing for me. My 16 year old son, on the other hand is obsessed with zombies on these XBox games.

    Yes…..clowns, dolls and ventriloquist dummies fah-reak me out. *shudder*

  3. Bradley J. Moore September 21, 2009 at 6:29 am #

    >You nailed it with the ice cream truck, man. Whew! And what about scarecrows? And Toucans?

  4. Billy Coffey September 21, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    >Bradley – Toucans. I shoulda thought of that one.

  5. Billy Coffey September 21, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    >And scarecrows, too

  6. Doug Spurling September 21, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    >Wow. You are realllllly brave to admit all that stuff. You probably won't be scared of it anymore since you admitted it. Then again, it may get worse. Scary thought.

  7. Helen September 21, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    >You forgot to mention a fear you SHOULD have…forgetting that Sweetest Day comes waaaaay before Halloween. Even if you are one of those men that think of it as a "Greeting Card holiday", you should write a handwritten note telling your wife how wonderful she is and how much you appreciate her. Forgetting those little romantic holidays can make real life scarier for a man than any Stephen King movie…

  8. Sarah Salter September 21, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    >In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a little strange. And part of my strangeness is that when I look at scary or gory movies, it doesn't really bother me. In my mind, I can mentally dissect the scene and say, "That's fake. That 'dismembered arm' is rubber. That 'blood' is really Karo syrup with red coloring. Oh, and that tornado coming at them is totally computer-generated. None of this is real."

    I wish I had that kind of discernment in my real life– to know what's real, what's fake, and which shadows are really boogeymen and which aren't…

    And yes, clowns scare me, too!

  9. Holly Brennan September 21, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    >I had a discussion about this with a college friend over lunch years ago…we were talking about how pretty much anything can become utterly creepy when it has the right effects.

    To illustrate her point, she opened her eyes super wide, cocked her head to the side, and started to sing "Ring Around the Rosy" in a breathy childish voice, super slowly.

    She was right. It was super creepy.

    I still hate that song.

  10. April September 21, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    >Wow, Billy, you do have some incredible fears! For me, it's the fear of the unknown that rattles my bones.

  11. Joyce September 21, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    >I'm thinking maybe you shouldn't read any more Stephen King. I can't read his books. Too creepy in a totally creepy way.

    Ventriloquist/dolls…remember Chucky? I couldn't even stand to watch the advertisments.

    I'm going to have to check out the ice cream truck…haven't heard that one. Did you ever read the Red Dragon? I stopped taking photos to Fotomat booths after that!

  12. Annie K September 21, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    >You forgot to mention Barney. He's right up there with clowns.

    Imaging Barney driving an ice cream truck. (shudder…)

  13. Lianne September 21, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    >Other than the ice cream truck, I can pretty much put a check mark next to all those things as stuff that uber-freaks me out. I would have to add feet to the list, though. A zombie clown with a ventriloquist dummy and no shoes would likely cause me to go into heart failure.

  14. Lori Lundquist September 21, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    >I heard a pastor say once… Fear is the darkroom in which we develop our negatives.

  15. jasonS September 21, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    >Don't like clowns and some, not all, ventriloquist dummies scare me.

    There's a part in Shawn of the Dead where he falls in line with the zombies, walking like them and grunting like them until he can get away. Too funny.

    I can't watch really scary (as in disturbing not intense) movies though. It messes me up…

  16. FaithBarista Bonnie September 21, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    >OMG! Did you peak in my closet of fears, too?

    I hate clowns, dolls, and ventriliquist heads. *shudder*

    If I get a nightmare tonight, it is ALL YOUR FAULT!

    Don't touch my ice cream truck, I love them. 😉

    Destination Truth is SCARY. I can't watch it. You're asking for t-r-o-u-b-l-e, Billy.

  17. Melissa from the Blue House September 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    >Clowns and dolls freak me out too. Especially ANTIQUE dolls…. my mother has a collection in a cabinet (shudder). But not zombies….weird I guess, but probably just because I haven't come across one yet.

    Taxidermy stuffed museum animals scare me too. I know there's something looking at me through those eyes.

  18. Bridget Chumbley September 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    >I agree on so many levels…totally frightening! I blame the Twilight Zone for many of them, dolls, dummies…you name it, they added to my fear!
    I'm really glad that our God is bigger than the Boogie Man! 🙂

  19. Steph @Red Clay Diaries September 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    >Wow! You're always funny on the Twitter, and now you are in a whole blog post!

    On zombies: Does this mean you can't watch the Thriller video? Cuz if so, then you are missing out. Do dancing zombies scare you too?

    I'd suggest that you read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but then maybe you're also afraid of Jane Austen? It's okay; a lot of men are.

    I'm afraid of needles. And tall places without guardrails. (although oddly, I'm totally comfortable if they have a rail. Nothing like a thin strip of metal to make you complacent.)

  20. Beth E. September 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    >I'm afraid of:


    Just your typical, average, everyday kind of fears! 😉

  21. Rebecca on The Homefront September 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    >Aww, gee, I was expecting some brilliant analysis of our fears and how they work for the good or we can overcome them or something…

    And instead I get this hilarious unveiling of the fears of Billy Coffey. Too funny!

    I have thankfully missed out on a bunch of horror-movie related phobias, since I refuse to watch them. My brother-in-law tries to do a horror-movie breathing thing, but since I've never watched any of the Scream/Halloween/Friday the Thirteenth movies, it means nothing…actually, it reminds me of the tribal initiation of Nemo in Finding Nemo, which cracks me up.

    My fears are pretty pedestrian: things that go bump in the night, seeing ghosts, spiders and other bugs, heights, dead things. All the usual suspects. *shrug*

  22. Nick the Geek September 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    >My biggest fear is my teeth falling out. Seriously I have the most jacked up crazy dreams that would leave most people whimpering in bed, but I wake up refreshed and ready for the day, but if I have my reoccurring nightmare about my teeth falling out then I am up the rest of the night. I blame it on the movie "The Fly"

  23. Marcus Goodyear September 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    >Billy: I love zombies. LOVE THEM. I hope we can still be friends.

    Also, at our house, Halloween is a big big deal. We consider it the holiday of creativity and imagination.

  24. Nitewrit September 22, 2009 at 7:36 am #


    You may have hit upon what we should fear the most with that ice cream truck. Every day when I see, read or hear the news it says we are all going to die from obesity.

    So…ice cream trucks must be a weapon of mass destruction designed to turn us all into bounding blogs of imminent cardiac arrest.

    Fear them, Billy, fear them and keep running into your house to hide.

    Larry E.

  25. Peter P September 22, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    >The Borg from Star Trek.

    "You WILL be assimilated". Scares the pants off of me.

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