Fear as a Training Tool

I am a compulsive trickster. Much to my wife’s annoyance, she is on the receiving end on a regular basis. From hiding her personal belongings to jumping out to scare her at the perfect moment, I always tend to keep my immediate family on their toes. After 16 years of marriage, plus several years of dating, you would think she should be used to it by now. And for the most part she is….

This makes my efforts that much more gratifying when they succeed….

But sometimes, they backfire on me….or at least yield results that were unexpected.

Most of the time, my tricks have no useful purpose other than minor annoyance to those of play them on.  However, last night, since our children were out of the house, I thought it would be the perfect time to put a useful scare into my wife.

I want to preface this with the fact that my neighborhood is full of decent, hard working, middle income families. I am on a first name basis with the residents of every property that touches mine, and most of the residents of the properties within view.

To the south of me are higher end, gated homes, I would call the “financial elite”, or as a minimum, the “financially well off”. Either way, bigger, nicer, fancier homes with lots of “nice” stuff. However, less than a 1/4 mile north of me is a section of town populated mostly by renters and lower income families. I’m not putting them down (I have been there myself more than a few times), but there are some seedy characters there, and I’ve witnessed more than a few illegal transactions while passing through that area. If there was ever to be trouble in my area, it would more than likely come from there. It is a thought in the back of  my mind every day.

On with my story.

It started out by watching a movie called The Purge over the weekend.  This movie is based around the concept of a free for all 12 hour window of opportunity held once a year where everything up to and including murder was completely allowed.

Here is the trailer:


As the wife and I watch this, we would cause it from time to time and pick apart the scenario the characters were in.

By the end of the movie, my wife was quite agitated and nervous by the thoughts of bad people violating our lives….and we had talked through several scenarios and better understood how each other would handle the scenarios we saw. (This is very much like the card game, Conflicted. Go here to read my review on Deck 1, and go here to read my reviews of Deck 2. More info on Conflicted is also available by clicking on the large yellow box on the right.)


After watching The Purge, it was still early, so I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to have the wife watch American Blackout.

From NatGeo:

American Blackout imagines the story of a national power failure in the United States caused by a cyberattack — told in real time, over 10 days, by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. You’ll learn what it means to be absolutely powerless. Gritty, visceral and totally immersive, see what it might take to survive from day one, and who would be left standing when the lights come back on.

Here is the trailer:


As this program progressed, my wife again grew more and more nervous.  Again, we would pause the movie from time to time, and pick apart the scene to discuss a better way to handle the situation.  “Class was in session” again, and my wife wasn’t even aware.  (More likely, she was aware, but embraced the moment, since she knows how important this is to me….and our family.)

 About halfway through the show my efforts started to backfire on me a bit.  My wife keyed in on a sound outside our bedroom window.  Pausing the show, she made me go look to see what it was. With flashlight in one hand, pistol and the other, I used into the darkness on styles and check the perimeter.

 The sound originated from a sheet of plywood that was propped up against the house. A gust of wind had cause it to topple over.  Nothing to worry about, I propped it back up at a steeper angle to hold it in place, and back inside I went to finish the movie…


Already on edge, several minutes later the wife keyed in on another sound outside.  In a frantic whisper, she informed me that what she heard was NOT a piece of plywood….


So once again, flashlight in one hand and pistol and the other, I eased into the darkness to check the perimeter of our house.


Again finding nothing of concern, I return to the house to find her with HER gun in her hand, standing in the dark kitchen, out of view of any window, standing against the wall, waiting to see what I had found. At her feet was our pitbull, also a bit keyed up from all the excitement.

Mama was ready for anything!

Mission accomplished. I had pushed the idea of “we must protect ourselves, for nobody else can be as timely” into the forefront of her thinking. She saw an issue, stepped up, and was ready. I was proud.


We finish the rest of the show with no other issues.  Being a made-for-TV production, very little bad actually happened in the show.  While there were tense moments, everything worked out in the end just like it always does on TV.

However you and I know that a movie is a fictional setting.  Reality can be much more brutal, and “happy” is not how things always end.

The fact that my wife was keyed up and responded in a manner I found to be non sheep-like made me happy. We as family try to work towards self-reliance every day. For me, having grown up in a place where many of the folks in the area are self-reliant from birth, it comes easy for me. For my wife and kids, who only know “city life”, it still strikes them as odd.


But they are learning….


By expanding the realm of possibility in my wife’s mind, she was forced to expand her thinking on how to react. And having done it once, the next time will be more natural, as it should be. That is the learning process.

Every one of us should be responsible for ourselves. The only rights we have that are inalienable are “life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, everything else, you must earn. As a society, many are losing sight of this, and it saddens scares me.  I hope that by having read this far, you, too, will have stretched your reality just a bit to realize YOU must take responsibility for yourself, nobody else will. Or should. (Yes, there are certain individuals that need society’s assistance, due to physical or mental impairments. Odds are, you are not one of them though.)

And I hope you learned that if you are coming to my house, it might be a good idea to announce yourself first :)



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American Blackout is available online, usually. Click here to see it.

And here is a fantastic website to explore the possibility of a national power outage.

For those that care, here is the sequel to The Purge, it is called The Purge:Anarchy. I’ll be watching it…




      Yes…me too…almost as happy she accepted my offer to go out on a date all those years ago….

      Thanks for making time to comment!

  1. Nothing like realistic training to hone and fine tune your skills. Putting camo on my face and charging down a firing lane screaming obscenities at paper targets does not add realistic training. Good article.

    1. And would probably get you escorted to the door…as a bare minimum….I’d have to think what they’d do on a bad day if you tried that 😛

      But I bet it would get a million hits on youtube if it was video’d!

      Hmmmm…..I have an idea 😛


  2. Great read, db! I was on the edge of my seat. Haha! I am always impressed by your antics, but the Mrs….she’s my heroine. You both are lucky in my book.

    1. Thanks, Jules!

      If you like the stories I write, yo should see the ones that don’t get published!!!

      ….mostly to protect the innocent….and the guilty.


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