One day my son came to me and said he wanted to watch a scary movie.
I am not a big fan of horror flicks, so I really didn't have a lot to offer him. He suggested I take him to the latest slasher movie where people are killed in more original and gruesome ways every five minutes.
I find watching people get murdered for fun and entertainment unappealing, so I declined to take my 13-year-old son to such an event.
But he persisted and then I remembered I had the movie Signs. It stars Mel Gibson (before he was a raving lunatic) and while not a horror movie per se, it did have some scary moments in it.
It did the trick, and there were more than a few parts where Junior was on the edge of his seat without having his young mind damaged by pointless, excessive violence.
As he got older, Junior still liked scary movies, but old scary movies. He is into the black and white horror flicks that relied on acting and situations to scare people rather than gallons of fake blood and someone getting chopped up with a hedge trimmer every 10 seconds.
I must admit, as a young lad I too was called by the lure of scary movies. With only two TV channels to choose from, my options were limited, but every Friday night there would be a horror flick I would stay up late to watch.
Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man - all were roaming my TV on a weekly basis. There was also a lot of other movies I cannot recall the names of, but one movie in particular stands out.
It was a black and white show where the monster made a sound similar to a screeching cat an instant before it devoured its victim.
The movie itself was not memorable, but its aftermath was.
After watching the monster mash-up, I headed upstairs in the darkness to go to bed.
Nothing scary about that, except I did not see our black cat sitting at the top of the stairs and I certainly did not see her tail when I stepped on it.
She, of course, let out a screech not unlike the one I had just listened to in the movie.
I went straight up in the air like I had been shot out of a cannon. I knew the beast from the movie was in my house and was about to launch a fearsome attack.
Because it was dark, I did not see it was the cat until she moved near the window and moonlight caught her shiny fur.
It was only then that I starting to come down from the ceiling where I had launched myself (and was in serious need of a change of underwear.)
I laughed when I saw it was the cat, but it was a nervous, jittery laugh. Kind of like when you narrowly avoid getting hit by a bus, or being ripped to shreds by a monster. It is more a laugh of relief, than laughter of something being funny.
I continued with my Friday late-night horror movie events, but now did so with the lights on – for the sake of the cat. I did not want to accidentally step on her again, not because I was scared or anything.
In retrospect, watching all those movies was probably not the best way to influence my young mind.
For many years, whenever I was in a dark area - inside or out - all those images of monsters springing from the shadows would play in my mind making me a nervous wreck.
Of course, now I am all grown up and know there are no monsters in the world – well at least not like the ones in the movies - so I am brave, calm and under control no matter where I am.
Unless it is dark. Or creepy. Or dark.