Over the Christmas holiday this past year, my girlfriend and I visted Chicago. We thought it would be a really good idea to go to all the museums and such – neglecting to consider the fact that there would be a hundred billion little-kid-toting-parents with the same idea. One of the places we visited was Shedd’s Aquarium. Now, two things you should know about me to appreciate the following anecdotes are that 1.) I am very, very, VERY easily startled, and 2.) Sea life creeps me out.

     So we were looking at this tank of vaguely menacing sharkish things (They may have, in fact, been sharks),
when one of the previously mentioned little kids BOLTED right into my backside and FRANTICALLY GRABBED my arm. This, of course, SCARED THE
LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME, because in my brain, one of the sharks had found a way out of the tank, learned to breathe air and was biting my arm. I
reacted in much the same way I imagine I would were an actual shark to run up and bite my arm: I leapt about two feet in the direction
opposite the kid/shark, and let out a very audible “YAH!” – which the boy’s mother found hilarious. But whatever – they never would have
found the octopus if I hadn’t pointed it out to them.

     Similarly, Last summer, my girlfriend and I went with friends to that ridiculously large / cheap concert for SARS in Toronto. We stayed with friends, sleeping in their living room. I just realized you need to know a third thing about me to appreciate this story: 3.) My vision is absolutely terrible.

     Anyway, at some point during the night, I got up to use the facilities. On my way back down the hallway towards the living room, I looked up from admiring the tasteful plugless nightlights that adorned the floor and was surprised to find someone
directly in front of me – I had almost run right into them. I was groggy and without my corrective lenses, so I surmised that someone
else from the living room camp had risen to take their turn in the bathroom. “Oh, sorry!” I apologized, thinking I had almost obliviously
wandered into this poor person.

     But the person didn’t move, or say anything. They just stood there motionless – eerily silent and staring straight at me. A few seconds passed, during which my brain decided that this was clearly a monster of supernatural origin or some other such assailant, who had clearly entered the hallway to eviscerate me. I responded to this new development as one would expect – by letting out what sounded like an intensely terrified but
half-hearted scream / plea / yawn / sigh, waking up those sleeping in the living room ahead of me.

     Big finish: it was a coat rack. My girlfriend was awake when I initially left for the bathroom, so she got to witness my apology / reaction to the coat rack as it happened. I’m not sure how I managed to miss the coat rack on the way to the bathroom, but I did.