Supposedly losing-your-teeth dreams mean high anxiety, so it’s no surprise that I’ve had more than a few of them.  Bloody gums, teeth falling through your fingers kind of dreams.  Teeth turning into shards of glass dreams.  Yes, those dreams.  The most memorable of them, perhaps, being the one in which, against my will, I snipped off my front teeth with nail clippers.  Maybe the only sorts of dreams that bother me more are the things-happening-to-your-eyes dreams.  I’m explaining this because in the first few minutes of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a film written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, a twitchy old man with a hammer and spike knocks the teeth out of the mouth of a screaming woman pinned under his knees.

Kindergarten.Snack-time.Children quietly convey Chex mix softly rattling across paper plates to their desks.And the one with a wooden chair on her head, a cup half-filled with orange juice balanced on the seat, dancing the Steve Martin “wild and crazy guys” shimmy?That’d be me.Minutes before, I’d told some joke the other kids laughed at.It was all the encouragement I needed to spring my inner funny on them full tilt, let loose and be the me I was at home, the me who invented the make-the-corpse-laugh game and kept a rubber-worm fishing lure in a box with holes cut in it.What could be funnier than that?Except maybe a five-year-old shimmying with a chair on her head balancing a cup of orange juice.