What Scares You?

  I had a long discussion with a friend of mine about what is truly scary. Being the one who initiated the question I sat there listening intently to his concerns and terrors. It turns out that his scares were a real downer. Not what I was going for. You know, cancer, losing a loved one, financial fallout, career ending events….real stuff. When he was done he posed the same question to me and I simply nodded and listed the same. But that wasn’t what I was going for. I was talking about odd fears and it was clear that we couldn’t salvage that discussion after he dropped the “c” word. Cancer, not….you know. Anyway, this is what I was going for so now you will know.

Jim Henson’s serious muppets. I don’t like muppets that aren’t funny and I feel that their lack of punchlines are Satan’s work. I can’t describe it but I get the heebs just watching them. I think it is a gut feeling more than anything. Sort of like eating something that has expired and no matter how good it looks you know there is something off. That’s how I feel about drama muppets. Except for Fizzgig. I like Fizzgig.

This was the first truly terrifying moment in cinema for me. In 1985 my parents took me to see Ghostbusters and I still remember having the confused notion that this was a biker movie. I don’t know what goes through a 7 year old’s head that biker = ghost busting but who knows? Regardless of my expectations, within 10 minutes it became clear what Ghostbusters was when the free floating, full torso apparition changed into that thing above. I was so scared my feet fell asleep. Actually I believe they fainted. That scene took the innocents away from the movies for me. Before then the only shocker was Bambi’s mom getting smoked. From 1985 on, I had my guard up in the theater to keep me from shitting myself like I almost did that day.

Jerry Stiller’s hands are that out of a science fiction novel. They haunt my dreams and plague my thoughts with such questions like, “where does he buy gloves?” and “can he fit those grabbers in his pockets?”. You may think this a silly fear but Mickey Mouse hands freak me out. Hrm…. maybe it is Mickey that scares me.

The process of giving and taking blood makes feel completely weak. It’s not the needle as much as the bend in the arm and I’ll tell you why. Many moons ago when I was a private in the Army, I was volunteered to attend a combat lifesaving course. Not knowing what I was in for I gladly accepted the challenge. It was a two day course involving every form of battlefield casualty and many splints where made by yours truly. But the last day was reserved for the fun task of pair up and giving each other IVs. I didn’t think too much about this until they gave us a box of tubes, needles, iodine swabs, bands and a bag of fluid. Our instructor? It was a VHS US Army instruction video from 1980. Soon we began the process of administering the IV and let me tell you, there was blood. Lot’s of it. People were passing out, heads were hitting the floor, and spurts that hit the ceiling. To this day the smell of rubbing alcohol invokes an arm jerk reaction that makes Rock Balboa look like the girl next door chucking a football. I know that maybe an exaggeration and a poor comparison but at least you are imagining Sly Stallone throwing a football like a girl.

This is a stretch but my heart would stop if it ever happened. Minding your own business, swimming in a lake, far far from the ocean when all of the sudden a great white bites you. Think of the disbelief! Ever since Jaws, and I’m not alone on this, just swimming in a pool can bring up thoughts of teeth and fins. But really, the green hue of a man made lake, muddy bottoms and unsuspecting bathers really makes for a great movie. I know Bull sharks live in lakes and rivers as well as the ocean, but I talking about the big guy. The white death. I need to write to Spielberg.

Still a little freaked out by this. Nuclear war is far from most people’s mind but not mine. Not since seeing Sarah Conner’s dream.  It makes you wonder if anyone in the 50’s knew that hiding under your desk just wouldn’t cut it.

You see? I couldn’t talk about these irrational fears with anyone but you. Thanks for listening.

19 thoughts on “What Scares You?

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  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Randy Nichols.

  2. Want to talk about odd fears. I am TERRIFIED of Robots. Terminator, I Robot, even the Stepford Wives are movies I can not sit through because of the humanistic Robots in all of them. I can’t even watch the Robots Cartoon movie.

    However, I love Starwars and Transformers….

    Go Figure ::shrugs::

    Also, french clowns. Those just are creepy as freaking hell!

  3. I’m scared of ventriliquist dummies. This was especially set in one night as a kid when I was up watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents and they aired “The Glass Eye” which pretty much scared the piss out of me to this day.

    The puppets from the Dark Crystal bother me, too. And even some of the ones from Storyteller.

  4. Funny this is the second time this week one of my friend’s blogs has mentioned the muppets from the Dark Crystal. She said that Steve Irwin’s daughter Binni Irwin looks like one of the muppets from that movie. I have never watched that movie, I started to the other day and really wasn’t interested and quit.

    Moving on…

    I have a fear of knives. Especially little knives like paring knives. About 5 years ago I accidentally sliced where my knuckle is from the top to the bottom of my middle finger on my right hand (I am left handed) and it has a fairly long scar even to this day there now. It was 7 stitches. We just moved to a new place about 2 days before that I was by myself (why does anyone leave me by myself?!?!) and actually I didn’t really have anything to do and my best friend left some cheap dvds he bought at Target a few days before that there. There were in that collection ghostbusters 1 and 2 and I am telling you this because of your story. I usually don’t include that part in my story. Anyway I tried to slice the front of the package with a paring knife he just bought because we didn’t have scissors. I looked over and saw a gaping wound and it was so deep I saw the fatty tissue underneath so I knew a regular bandaid couldn’t patch that up. First and last time I have never had to go to the ER because of an injury. I am finally warming up to chopping food up in the kitchen. For several weeks I was in shock. I just couldn’t wrap my head around what I had done. I had a splint on my middle finger for about a month I cut through the tendon in my finger and did finger exercises. I can make a fist but it’s numb right there. I still can’t watch ghostbusters, I am boycotting the movie for that reason. The second one too.

    Anyway a funnier fear for you. About 3 years ago everytime I walked through an automatic sliding door I winced slightly and for a second while walking through them I imagined myself getting sliced perfectly in half by the door. My best friend still every once in a while mentions it for a good laugh. Bastard.

    And overall I basically have fears of anything that can hurt me. I know I am a big baby. I have a fear of heights, touching a hot surface, knives like I said before, riding a bike in a bike lane (bike lanes are a lane that is painted in the city that is like a traffic lane, that is WAY to close to cars for me, I’ll stick with the sidewalk) oh yeah and sometimes if my mind isn’t preoccupied if someone else driving a car and I am sitting in it and they drive past a driveway and a car is waiting for us to go by I imagine them T boning us while my heart speeds up a little until we are completely out of there way. Yeah I know. See you later Will

  5. I echo Jodi all the way on chopping up food. My most “irrational” fear is chopping carrots. I’m convinced that the knife will slip and I’ll cut myself really badly. I can chop pretty much anything else without any problems. But carrots…I can’t handle that.

    I also went through a period of a few months where I was absolutely terrified/paranoid of driving my car on the freeway at night. My eyesight is pretty bad at night, and if I absolutely had to drive, I would be white-knuckeling it in the far right lane going about 10 under the speed limit. I’m over it now, and have no problems driving at night. But for a while it was pretty bad.

  6. I second the whole fear of sharks thing (and the ocean in general, but especially sharks). That’s one of my big ones. I also hate clowns. I mean HATE them. They’re either really annoying and not scary at all, or absolutely terrifying, but there’s nothing to like about them. Aside from the obvious ones of being poor or being some sort of failure, I have a big fear of any sort of flying, stinging insect–like bees, wasps, hornets, that sort of stuff. I think it was because when I was a kid I stepped on a yellow-jackets nest in the woods and got attacked by a bunch of them. I ended up getting stung 11 times, and ever since I’ve had a huge fear of those things. I turn into such a big baby when one’s near me. My other one is anything to do with my teeth (I’ve had nightmares about my teeth falling out and woken up really freaked out over it) and I have this occasional fear that I’m going to slam my fingers into a door, especially the car door. The thought of that one really makes me cringe.

  7. I saw The Dark Crystal in the theater and I was terrified. The Disney cartoon Fantasia scared me badly too. I have major issues with Disney cartoons.

  8. I hate spiders. Multi legged creatures of all kinds scare me. I don’t even like seeing people on crutches.

    I used to have a ridiculous fear of lighting matches. Grew out of that. Cancer scares me…always will.

    I guess my biggest fear is never finding the love of my life…and that if I ever do, he’ll look like Danny Devito.


  9. That scene from Terminator II still gives me the willies too, Will! Eight legs are okay but there is NO reason for more than that. Centipedes and caterpillers be damned!

    I think a lot about drowning too; in particular, getting caught under ice.

    I also have a fear of misusing semicolons. Okay, so I exaggerate… I wouldn’t call it a fear but when I use one there is this little nag that I’m using it wrong and someone with better grammar than me is sitting at their computer and calling me on it. I’m a grammar stickler but that frigging semicolon has always haunted me.

  10. I have a fear of machines.
    Like I stated over in my blog, ever since seeing “Maximum Overfrive” when I was a li’l bit I have the fear that at any moment, any machine can kill me. Cars, power tools, computers, it all can just go WRONG, and I’m dead meat.
    I also have a strange fear of bunnies. Bunnies just freak me out. I have no real reason WHY, it’s just… me and bunnies do not go well together.
    I’m sure that if I dive deeper in I can come up with some silly ones for you, but for now that’s what i got.

  11. Feet frighten me. I love wearing sandals but can’t stand the sight of looking at other people’s feet. I couldn’t sleep for days after seeing ‘The Dark Crystal’ but thought ‘Gremlins’ was hilarious. I’m also afraid of eating in front of people I don’t know, like on a first date. I don’t want to eat too much and then he thinks I’m a pig, but don’t want to just order a glass of water and a piece of parsley because that would piss him off. Getting food stuck in my teeth or dropping it into my cleavage is also a major concern. Worst of all: pooping in public toilets. I just won’t do it.

  12. I agree with Pammy Girl, we shouldn’t be as a society (because everybody eats) but I get highly self conscious and embarrassed if I have to eat in front of someone that I just met or don’t know that well. I think my Grandma drilled that into my head, she probably nagged alot and that is why I get embarrassed sometimes about that. It really depends on how hungry I am.

    I also used to get really embarrassed and always say no if I was in someone else’s house and they offered me something to drink. I remember my Grandma whispering “say no!!” like I wasn’t worthy enough of them pouring me a glass of milk (or water, or tea, or soda etc.) and so I got into the habit of saying no thank you even if I was thirsty. I am over that now, and say yes if I do want something to drink. Also I used to analyze what people would think of me if they offered me something else like a chance to borrow something, a chance to use something, etc. what they would think of me if I said yes and I mostly said no then. Now I just think do I or don’t I? I used to get so embarrassed so easily. i would barely do anything out of my normal habits because I would get embarrassed at the thought of it.

    Now look at me!! LOL I don’t give a shit anymore. Which is a great thing. Time makes you older and when you get older you get bolder. Or something.

    Dude, Will…my birthday is a week from Friday!! March 7th if you can’t figure it out. I better get a fucking phone call!! Or i’ll be so pissed. I really will. How’s that for pressure?!?

  13. I really don’t understand this whole fear of eating in front of people, even dates. I mean, we’re in a restuarant. That’s why we’re here. It’s not stopping me, I’ll tell ya that. If we were at the movies, would you be embarrassed and hide your eyes? I dunno…I just don’t get it. Men realize that women eat. It doesn’t shock us. You are human after all. I would rather you eat up and be comfortable than not eat and complain about being hungry all night, or even worse, just not say anything and suffer in silence.

    I honestly think that most of the things that women worry about when it comes to men (food, shoes, hair, etc), we honestly either don’t even notice that much or just don’t care. I think I can speak for the whole male gender here when I say that the fact that you went with the strapless black shoes over the strappy, white shoes or whatever makes no difference to us whatsover. If we like you and think you look nice, you’re going to look nice no matter what shoes you wear. We honestly don’t care. Chances are, we’re not looking at your shoes anyway.

    Wow, didn’t mean to get off on a whole….thing there, but somehow I did. Sorry bout that.

  14. It’s just Will, I called you on your birthday I think it’s only fair.

    DJ D I can’t vouch for the strait women but I just think people will judge me on my manners. I don’t want them thinking “oh she’s such a pig!!” with me having food all over my face and making a lot of noise while I eat etc. I get embarrassed at the thought of people being embarrassed eating at the same table with me. My sister you can hear the food moving around in her mouth and you know what is going on with the food until she swallows it’s SO GROSS!!! And the heavy breathing augh I just hope people don’t think that way about me.

  15. Clowns Billy, you forgot clowns. Where the heck are you?
    Oh, and I don’t want to bother you a third time for whatever it was. I feel really badly. I must be in a mailing Bermuda triangle or something.

  16. jdevore–Oh, well gross eating is a whole different thing. Yeah, I’m with you on that one. If a person is just pigging out and chewing with their mouth open and all that, yeah, I don’t need to see that.

    Clowns are the worst. They’re either really obnoxious or creepy to no end.


  17. DJD: My fear with eating in front of others really is a fear of making a mess. I’ve laughed and snorted things out my nose before and it just doesn’t make a good impression. Neither does having some ketchup on your cheek. For me it encompasses NOT looking like a jerk.

    And another fear I have? Men helping me in lingerie stores… even if they’re gay. Actually, just men being in lingerie stores. They either look completely terrified or are a huge perv.

    Oh and Laurie… I agree with you. My fear is not dying alone. My fear is that I’ll finally find the love of my life and while he won’t look like Danny De Vito, he’ll most likely be related to him.

  18. know what scares me….it’s kinda silly, but it stops me in my tracks and my entire body goes cold.

    i hate people in costumes. whatever costumes. as long as they are walking around behind a disguise, it scares me.

    maybe it’s to do with a childhood memory when i was between 10 and 12. there was a party at home and my dad decided to scare me with this mask of some monster. probably that is what still haunts me till today.

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