The Art of Living Lost
What would you do if you could do anything? I asked myself this question on my seemingly endless road to self-discovery.
Once upon a time, I was a successful career woman working hard and traveling all over the world. I learned about business and economics first-hand and met the extraordinary people who would one day comfort me through the great storm of grief. However, this was the old me. The new me wanted to raise my kids, guide them through the chaos of high school, and launch them into adulthood.
It was with this in mind that I decided to pursue one of my dream jobs, Fright-Fest ghoul. Yes, I said it, GHOUL!
For those of you who think I’m an uptight pumpkin: BOO! For the rest of you, and you know who you are, YAHOO, right?
The audition process was fun and touched upon just the right amount of discomfort and embarrassment. I had to shout my name and favorite color, which was easy, as I know my name and favorite color. Next, I had to scare my fellow “auditionees” and act out a death scene. My scare-move was a sort of stare in your face effort, while I simulated falling asleep in a car as my death scene. At the time, I thought my audition was sublime and elegant. In retrospect, I was cringy as heck, and it was a miracle I was hired.
The rest of my Fright Fest experience was like a living thrill ride!
The orientation process consisted of a well-rehearsed stand-up routine, followed by a back-stage tour and a costume assignment. Now, this is where things get a bit creative; I already had an original costume idea in mind — I wanted to be a dead bride with a severed hand “cuffed” to my wrist. Yes, I would see the irony in this choice as guests started asking me if my husband was dead.
Now you may be wondering, what was my favorite part of this ghoulish job? It was by far, interacting with the park’s guests! Scary, family photos were my forte. I happily posed for tons of pictures, which perfectly suited my vow of silence persona. So if I couldn’t say boo, what made a dead bride so scary? The make-up baby! And, let me tell you, the make-up makes the ghoul! The people who painted on my scary faces week after week were artists; every night, they would transform me from uptight to gaily terrifying!
I danced around the main gate fountain and smiled my way into the hearts of visiting families. You’re not supposed to “break character,” but my character was my true scary self, and that was terrifying enough for everyone!
What did I learn from this experience? I discovered that ghouls come in many shapes and sizes. There was the roach-eating lady, the howler in green and a host of murky eyed, bloody, haunting-can rattlers. The requisite chain saw guy worked only on Saturday, and I made a friend, a nun, who also embraced her inner mom, and together we introduced families to Fright Fest.
What did we have in common? We all had other lives; some worked full-time or went to college; others were still in high school. However, each weekend we came together to enjoy the camaraderie and a chance to step outside of ourselves. While my fellow ghouls scared the snot out of me, they were always gracious to visitors in a way that reflected a kindness that went well beyond their years.
So why did I do this? Was it the 30 miles I walked each weekend or the Snickers bar I enjoyed each night for dinner? Maybe it was the anonymity and opportunity to be purely me? Or, was it just-a-paid-night-out? I say yes, to everything, but most importantly, working as a Fright Fest ghoul allowed me to try something new.
Did you hear me? I tried something new! So this will be one of many calls to action; you (!) go, try something new too, and let me know how it turns out!
Have a great week,
2020 Author’s Note: It’s been a long time since I’ve contemplated working an odd job, and I’m getting the itch to try something new. So I’m opening the discussion up to my audience — if you could do anything, work anywhere, what would you go? What would you do?
Please email your suggestions to BigHair@TheArtofLivingLost.com