If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you are well versed in the horror movie genre of that time. It was a formula that played out exactly the same way in every movie, but still had you freaked the hell out every time. Basically, it was a “what not to do” guide for situations with silent killers lurking about that gave you unrealistic confidence that you could easily survive.

Rule Number 1? Don’t go down to the basement.

There wasn’t a single person I knew growing up who would willingly go into their basement, lunatic murderer around or not. To this day, I have moments where I head into our finished basement fully expecting to be murdered. I’m genuinely surprised it hasn’t happened. If horror movies taught us anything it was…Basements = Silent Killer Waiting.

We all knew this. The writers knew we knew this. Yet, in all of the movies, the time comes when some poor character decides to go “check things out” in the basement. The others are like, “Yeah, that seems like a good idea. We’ll wait for you here.” At this point the audience is like, “RIP, bruh.” Even the person going down to the basement is like, “Not sure this is my best idea.”

Why? Why would they go down there? This question is one that has plagued my entire generation. Are they stupid? They know the killer is out there, right? Are they trying to put themselves in harm’s way?

My friends, we have reached the “Don’t go down to the basement” phase of the coronavirus horror movie, and, holy hell, I finally get it. Even if you have been the most vigilant of quarantiners and taking this seriously, the temptation is growing to venture out.

The pandemic feels like it has reached the point in the movie were all the friends who gathered at the lake house are so desperate to ignore the reality of what’s happening and get back to the drinking and spin the bottle fun they were promised, they’ve decided the only way that will be possible is to prove there isn’t a madman with a chainsaw lurking about by, yup, you guessed it, heading down to the basement.


Really though, who could blame them? I get it now. I mean, they pulled off the almost impossible hat trick of high school: A place to party, no parental supervision, and access to booze. There was probably some epic McLovin, Superbad quest to secure the alcohol, and god knows, lots of fantasies of making out with Jenny or Justin. It’s just too sad to accept that this weekend that they knew would fuel them through their twilight years with the intoxicating memory cocktail of youthful exuberance mixed with a dash of regret was not going to happen. Who among us wouldn’t resort to checking the basement as the last valiant effort to save the weekend?

If you told me I’d ever understand this logic or be tempted myself to go out and explore a basement, or any place, when I know there might be a silent killer lurking, I’d say you were crazy. Well, look who’s crazy now! Because, I’m not gonna lie, the basement is getting tempting as all hell.

I know I’m not alone in my current delusion. Before coronavirus, we all had our own lake house shenanigan plans that we had to give up on. I mean, they weren’t as good as a high school making out with Justin or Jenny for most of us, that’s some pretty amazing stuff, but they were something.

Maybe yours was graduation, or prom. Maybe it was a wedding. Damn, maybe it was your wedding. Maybe it was meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen in years. For a lot of us, it was some trip, some event, some concert, some play, some sporting event that we were really excited about. And as much as we all know that our spoiled plans are nothing compared to those who have lost their lives, their loved one, and the healthcare workers fighting for all of our futures, still, despite the guilt, we are legitimately bummed out. Lake house weekend bummed out.

The truth is that no matter how seriously you are taking this. No matter how committed you are to staying home and flattening the curve, the temptation to check out the basement is real. Hell, I even find myself volunteering to go by myself to see if there’s anyone in the shed, because, damn, flights are cheap and I’m sick of being home. It’s like we’ve all reached this collective sense of intellectually knowing nothing has changed, that the killer is still out there, but maybe we’ll just go out and take a quick peek.

Step away from the basement door!

In full disclosure, as you probably already surmised, I’m pretty fuzzy on the plot details of these movies, which, I’m sure is making this metaphor challenging for you. I feel ya. I have no idea what I’m saying either. But, here’s the thing, whether it was Jason in the mask or the chainsaw dude at the lake, did he also wear a mask? There’s one thing I know for sure…it never seems to end well when you go looking for the silent killer.

So, for those of us struggling to do the right thing, to stay safe, and to help stop the spread of the virus, I leave you with the advice I’d give my friends if I was at the lake house with them.

“Look, guys, this sucks. But Bobby and Kristin aren’t coming back. I’m as bummed as you are that the keg is going to go to waste, but we need to cut our losses and get the hell out of here. For starters, and I can’t believe I have to say this, no one go down to the basement! And, if you do, wear a mask. No, not because Jason is wearing one. (Did we know his name was Jason?) Never mind. It’s complicated, but just trust me. You guys are sweet and all, but you’ve got to get wise to this murder pattern and at least make it just a little bit harder for the chainsaw dude to kill you. I promise there will be other lake house weekends full of booze and make outs. Plus, I hear Justin is a really bad kisser. I’m just sayin. You’ll have better.”

Stay strong. Be careful. Be well!



Seven Signs of the Aging Apocalypse
The Modern Midlife Crisis

Open Letter To My Kids About Summer
The Wallet Years
Vacation or Trip: A Helpful Guide for Parents
Vacation Daddy

Related Posts

We Means You

Posted on
There’s an age-old trick in the conversations of married couples dating back…

The Wubble Bubble Ball

Posted on
Remember Happy Fun Ball from Saturday Night Live’s greatest commercials? “It’s Happy…

Big Picture Parenting

Posted on
You ever wonder if you are doing a good job raising your…

The Default Parent™

Posted on
Are you the default parent? If you have to think about it,…

September is the Worst

Posted on
Not to be totally paranoid, but I’m pretty sure September is trying…

The Modern Midlife Crisis

Posted on
It’s not your parents’ midlife crisis. Hey, how’s your midlife crisis going?…

Manifest Dresstiny

Posted on
Do you remember when I posted this photo on Facebook? When I…

Parenting from the Couch

Posted on
Forget Tiger Moms and Helicopter Parenting and the latest parental wackiness I’m…

About Jugglers

Posted on
I was just thinking about jugglers. Because, of course I’m thinking about…

Rules for Being Meredith

Posted on
RULES FOR BEING MEREDITH Handed Down From Current Writing Software 1. You…

Teenagers in the Mist

Posted on
Nestled deep within the quiet suburban setting, we come upon the natural…

The Default Parent Resume

Posted on
Resumes are kind of my thing. My entire career has been evaluating applicants…

An Ode to Laundry

Posted on
Every minute of every day you wait patiently, a quandary, Oh, there…

Melancholy Christmas

Posted on
Christmas is my favorite holiday. No surprise. It’s a lot of people’s…

Middle School in the 80s

Posted on
If the title of this doesn’t instantly traumatize you, you probably weren’t…

More Than My Minivan

Posted on
I get it. You don’t want a minivan. The entire idea of…

Vacation Daddy

Posted on
Something happens to my husband when we go on vacation. He turns…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *