For the first time ever, I went to see the burning of the famous Zozobra, also known as Old Man Gloom.
I have always been afraid of him.
The first time I remember seeing him was at the mall in Santa Fe. He was huge, with green circles around his red eyes and his white suit with blue buttons and a blue tie. He terrified me.
I guess it might of been because he reminded me of Chucky the killer doll.
But on the night of Sept. 4, I went to see Old Man Gloom get burned. When we got to the park, I was looking for the little doll that I remember seeing as a kid at the mall.
When I starting walking onto the field, there he was. He was huge. I have never seen a puppet that size. I have to admit it was freaky. For some reason, his eyes looked wicked. Those little tiny red eyes — they made me cringe.
We got a place to sit and went to the food courts (which there was plenty of), but I couldn’t stop thinking of the first time I ever saw him. I remember crying in panic at the mall because he was just the creepiest looking thing ever to me.
I had went with my nina, Rita, who told me that when she was a kid she was also afraid of him. She even had a nightmare about him. I was very happy to find out that I wasn’t the only kid so afraid of him.
My nina said, “I wonder what all the other cultures think about this?” She giggled and said, “I bet they think we are all barbaric.” I had to laugh because we did sound barbaric , yelling, “Burn him!”
After a couple of hours of music and entertainment, the lights went out and a guy in a black suit came out (he resembled a priest). He started to give a speech about sentencing Zozobra to death, which was neat because he made Zozobra sound like he was a real person.
Then fireworks started to shoot up and fire dancers came out and did their dances.
Zozobra then started to moan and groan. Which was beyond creepy. In a way, it was kind of sad because it felt like he did have feelings. He was just a really sad old man, and for a second, his eyes looked like there was a sadness and fear as he caught on fire.
And I had to think to myself, “Naomi, he is a puppet. He is not real.”
I know, I know, I sound like a little kid that’s terrified of the bogey man. But dolls creep me out. Porcelain dolls, baby dolls, any kind of doll creep me out.
Naomi Gonzales is an Optic intern and a senior at Robertson High School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org