Interview with a vampire

October 30th, 2007

Did somebody say to write about control? Did somebody ask about fear? I’m afraid so. Who better to pontificate on the point than today’s guest, the phantom of fear himself, Count Effluvium Ginormus Overtopster.

May I call you ego for short?

I prefer that I forever be known as I, me, myself, the Big Kahuna, Top Dog, Numero Uno, the Commander in Chief or the Decider. I’m sure you won’t mind. In fact, you’ll come to love me as none other than yourself.

Are you big and bad?

Of course not, I simply have a neverending job to do.

Which is?

To protect you.


Lions, tigers and bears.

But I don’t see any wild animals.


Seriously, there’s nothing dangerous going on.

What’s that sound? Who’s hiding in the closet? What’s around the corner? What if? What then? What next?

Are you trying to change the subject?

All the time! See my sleights of hand? Judgment, control, planning, defense, intellect, memory. Hey! Remember that time you walked home in the dark and that stranger came close and . . . Remember when you were six and the dog barked and . . . Look before you leap! Better safe than sorry!

You’re trying to scare me.

I like to stay busy! And look at all the nifty defense mechanisms I brought with me: denial, displacement, intellectualization, fantasy, projection, rationalization, reaction formation, regression, repression, sublimation, blah, blah, blah. I can’t wait to use one after the other. I never go anywhere unless I’m armed to the teeth.

You never go anywhere?

I prefer to stay in control right where I am. In fact, why don’t you go upstairs into that dusty attic surrounded by all those old, familiar things and I’ll lock you in where you are safe and secure.

Secure from what?

The outside, you silly! Didn’t you notice it’s getting dark? Didn’t you notice it’s getting light? Didn’t you notice all those ominous changes? The threatening signs? Didn’t you notice that those people over there are looking at you? Didn’t you notice everyone is talking about you? Better get up there and not move an inch. Entrust me with your life!

But it’s my house and there’s no one else here and you’re the only one talking.

Yes, and I wish you’d straighten up and set some standards! Fresh towels would be nice.

Why don’t you shut up?

Why don’t you try to make me?

This is my Halloween prank, but for a real scare, see what happens when ego rules the so-called free world.

In a variation on trick-or-treat, this is Grab Bag week at Cheerio Road. I’ll let your comments ignite the topic I take up each day. If there isn’t a gust from you – a question, a comment, a change in direction – we’ll just have to sit through the wait. At the end of the week, there’ll be a goodie at the bottom of the bag.


  1. To use a good cliche, I laughed out loud.

    Thanks, I really needed a laugh at this moment.

    –Chris, getting distracted over and over here.

    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — October 30, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

  2. Every time I read one of your posts I like you more and more. You convey your message so creatively and clearly. (In fact, I think I have a girl crush on you, and I don’t mind admitting that publicly!)

    Comment by Kathryn — October 31, 2007 @ 1:06 am

  3. A fun coincidence–fear. I’ve had real arachnophobia since I was six. And I mean phobia–lock myself in a room, crying, hyperventalating fear. (Oh, the stories.) But I don’t want to pass this on to my child or ruin other people’s fun. So this week I spent an hour of my life making pipe cleaner spiders. This hardly sounds like a big deal to most people, but I’ve been unable to look at toy spiders, pictures of spiders, anything spider-like for years. But I did made spiders!

    My son plays with them and though I don’t like them, and I ask him nicely to not put them on my leg, no more tears! No more sweats! Such a relief. Although–no tarantulas please.

    Anyway, loved the post. And here’s to a fearless Halloween

    Comment by marta — October 31, 2007 @ 3:31 am

  4. Laughter and love: everything’s mutual.

    Comment by Karen — October 31, 2007 @ 3:37 am

  5. I guess this holiday just proves how very much we like to be scared…ha ha. Loved and learned from this post as always.

    Comment by Shannon — October 31, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

  6. Happy Halloween! Love your post today.

    I’ve tried to email you a couple of times but it won’t go through. Booo… 🙁

    Anyway, hope you have a good day today. 🙂

    Comment by Karen Beth — October 31, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  7. Oh Shannon yes you are so precisely accurate: we love fear to death! But there is a Way to be free, and I will meet you there.

    Comment by Karen — October 31, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

  8. After just writing about fear I come here and discover your very funny and perceptive dialog.
    It’s amazing to me that the conversation you wrote out here goes on all the time, all in a split second. It can become a way of life.
    Have a spooky Halloween.

    Comment by bella — October 31, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  9. Bella, absolutely. It’s a way, I just wouldn’t call if life. Off to read your take on the day . . . and then to have ghoulish fun.

    Comment by Karen — October 31, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

  10. I get it (I think)! But that means it is biological- we needed fear to stay alive. Are we evolved enough to overcome it? Fear is what drives the ego?

    Comment by Mika — October 31, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  11. Ooooh Mika, I love it! So close and yet just reverse your thinking: ego drives fear, not fear drives ego. Of course we are evolved enough. We always have been. Ego has a role to play, we just have to put it in its place. And all that requires is to open our eyes and (literally) step free from our egocentric rattling, chattering mental chains. Action always transmutes fear.

    Comment by Karen — October 31, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

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