“Do you like scary movies?” NO.

My friend Richie loves slasher pics — like, seriously, sometimes I worry about him, he likes them so much.

I tried. In high school, I saw Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter in the theater — in our small town the folks who owned the Laurel Movie Haus (aka: my ninth-grade algebra teacher and his wife) would let kids see an R-rated movie if they had a note from your parents (and they would call home if they thought you were forging your note). My mom agreed to let me go—as long as I walked home in the dark afterward. No big deal.

Somewhere along the way, the carnage started to freak me out. It would be so much easier if I were one of those people who just had trouble getting to sleep after a scary movie. No, I drop like a log, thinking everything’s fine—and spend a few hours replaying it over and over in Dreamland, then waking up flailing at unseen attackers.

After I saw Scream 2 I dreamed for three straight nights about poor Elise Neal, who played the best friend. “She didn’t do anything wrong,” I said even in my dreams. “She was really nice. It’s not fair.

Years later I saw a TV commercial for Hostel 2 where a gagged Heather Matarazzo is hanging upside-down while an unseen person slides a blade along her neck, and laid awake for hours that night: “She’s clearly the nerdy girl in this movie. She has to live.” I knew I’d never get to sleep until I knew, so I hopped online. (This might give you a hint how it goes for her.)

Most people probably like scary movies for the tension-and-release factor; they leave the theater a little wrung-out for the better. “That would never happen in real life,” they think. “Like those house-invasion movies.” I think it’s the randomness that affects me so much; one of my best friends lost his parents and grandmother when a teenage neighbor they’d never met showed up drunk one night and shot them to death, then beat his younger brother in the head with the rifle after the gun jammed. (At trial the guy claimed not to remember the how or why, but it’s believed that he was seeking revenge on the house’s previous owner.) That shit happens, and once you know that, you can’t unknow it.

On Sunday, my friend realized that this year was the first time in the 20-odd years since the deaths happened that the Nov. 19 anniversary had come and gone without him noticing. “I’m not sure if that’s a good thing,” he said. I told him I thought it was.

WHAT SAM WORE: 11-22-11
The shirt: Silver Lake cotton V-neck sweater, on clearance for $20 at Abercrombie & Fitch.
The pants: Jeans by J. Crew, from the outlet store at Anthem.
The shoes: All-Stars by Converse, from Nordstrom Rack.
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