This book had my attention from the moment I saw the amazingly creepy picture of the hairless cat on the cover (Creepiosity Index: 9.47). Of course, I had to check out Creepiosity. Author David Bickel has managed to pull together about 90 pictures and concepts that somehow capture the bizarre, uncomfortable realm we all find ourselves dealing with from time to time. And like many people, Bickel’s response is to point them out to us and help us laugh about them. Will it help us get over how creepy some of these things are? Probably not, but let’s give it a shot.
Creepiness surrounds us in everyday life. From the creepiness of a restaurant’s animal mascot encouraging you to eat its own kind (p.36) to kids on leashes (p.86), from the ancient, mysterious candies found in a Grandma’s candy dish all wrapped in colored cellophane (p.104) to kiddie beauty pageants (p. 118), and everything in-between, above, below, and on the edges of things brought forth from the human mind.
But how do you measure this realm of the unintentionally creepy? I’ll leave the tale of how the Creepiosity Index came to be for Bickel to tell, but it all boils down to a fancy looking mathematical formula involving neck hairs per square inch standing on end, the number of time you wince, and a 10% factor if there are clowns involved. Clowns are damn creepy at times (Steven King’s It ring a bell for anyone?) so I certainly get that. And there’s enough pseudo-science to the formula to sell me on the idea. Some things in life are too creepy to NOT be measured!
Obviously Bickel is one of the world’s most respected creepiologists. “Creepiologist” is a term not to be confused with Creepologists who study creeps (which are in a different category all together), or Crêpeologists who study crêpes (tasty thin French pancakes served with a variety of fillings). Though Bickel might get a kick out of eating a crêpe with a creep, I’m guessing he’ll stick with finding creepy pictures and determining their Creepiosity.
By far my favorite part of the book talks about “Squirrels That Look At You a Bit Too Long.” He describes squirrels as basically rats “with a great PR person” and I’ve had my share of their knowing, creepy stares from time to time. These days, the squirrels in our neighborhood are more likely to raise the ire of my two dogs in the back yard. But every once in a while I still see an occasional squirrel with a suicidal streak standing his ground in the middle of the road tempting me to “make his day.”
Bickel manages to capture those odd moments we all have in pictures we can share with others and have a laugh together. I think Creepiosity would make a great gift for a friend or as something to break the tension in a room. But overall, I’m still pondering the Creepiosity of Nursery Rhymes (p.160) and whether I should continue to warp my children…
This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.
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