Created By: doubledragons on August 13, 2009
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Mundane Ghost Story

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A ghost story involving rational worries rather than implausible phobias.

Someone tells a ghost story in classic fashion, probably around a campfire or with a flashlight aimed up under the face, only the ghost story is about something that is not really scary in the traditional nightmare sense, but is more like taxes, or being stuck in a loveless marriage, dying alone, bigotry, living an unfulfilling life, being homeless after losing your job, or a stupid religious-nut oil-baron becoming president through election fraud and exploiting terrorism. However, this is usually played for laughs, avoiding anything involving physical pain or death, dealing with something sillier like having to wear a stupid outfit to school, or having a bad haircut, or eating tofu burgers.

The ghost story usually bypasses fantastic and or supernatural horrors, such as the common ghost story, for something that tends to actually happen in real life to sane people, like nose jobs gone wrong, as demonstrated in The Addams Family Values.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 did this. The rich kids were reading about a family that was worrying about how to pay their car payment that month, and then they all shuddered in fear or disgust, I guess at the thought of being not super-rich.

The Simpsons featured a carnival "house of horrors" ride that presents an old woman in a rocking chair who says, "Behold! The ravages of age!"

Also, I could have sworn there was a trope for something along the lines of "adult fears" that dealt with stuff like taxes and sexual inadequacy and the death of offspring. Whatever happened to that one? Do We Have This One? It's like that, only told as a ghost story.

Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • August 13, 2009
    random surfer
    One time when The Simpsons were sitting around a campfire, Bart was holding the flashlight:
    Bart:...and that's how much college will cost for Maggie.
    Homer: Nooooo!!!!!
  • August 13, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    In one Arthur episode, Arthur was a the carnival barker at a "house of horrors" that featured the most embarrassing moments of his friends, such as the Brain wearing pajamas to school.

    Kind of related, in a Calvin And Hobbes cartoon, Calvin has hiccups and asks Hobbes to tell him a scary story to cure him. Hobbes talks about various environmental problems.
  • August 14, 2009
    Arivne
    @OP/doubledragons: "Also, I could have sworn there was a trope for something along the lines of "adult fears" that dealt with stuff like taxes and sexual inadequacy and the death of offspring. Whatever happened to that one?"

    It's Adult Fear, a Sub Trope of High Octane Nightmare Fuel.
  • August 14, 2009
    arromdee
    This trope is related to the recent Scariest Possible Halloween Costume YKTTW.
  • August 14, 2009
    FairyGodmoose
    From Azumanga Daioh:
    Osaka: Sometime last night, I was all alone in my room. When suddenly, from out of nowhere...the smell of a fart that wasn't mine wafted into my nose.
  • August 14, 2009
    Nekusagi
    There was a particularly disturbing (by its standards) Family Circus Sunday strip with Jeffy asking his dad about monsters, the dad assuring him there were none, and the final frame showing the dad walking out of Jeffy's room with Not Me ghosts marked "taxes", "recession" and "war" floating around him.
  • August 15, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    This troper evoked it at camp once, by saying "There was a nuclear war and everybody died. The end." when asked to tell a scary story.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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