Ask Ceil – Fear Factor!

[220/365] Nuclear Fear (Explored)

Dear Ceil,

Why am I afraid of things?

Scared in Saskatchewan

Dear Scared,

You are afraid of things because…

You are sane.

Shit is scary right now. It requires a full-on pep talk for me to get out of bed these days. For God’s sake, because of the bed bug epidemic that hit the news last year, I need a stiff drink before I get into bed.

Honestly, there’s a regular smörgåsbord of things to be worried about: cancer, terrorists, global warming, high cholesterol, giant garbage piles in the ocean, Fukushima and glowing fish, mad cow disease, ebola, men, women, fast food, planes getting completely lost at a time when satellites can get a picture of you in your freaking car through the windshield, GMO’s, Jenny McCarthy.

You should be afraid. You should find the people who aren’t afraid and go shake them.

But here’s what you can avoid: Being frantic.

It’s like watching a horror movie. You see the college kids, they’re having sex, and then oops. Something weird happens, and here comes 90 minutes of dumb kids gettin’ killed. You’re on the edge of your seat. Which of the ugly people will die first? How will the good-looking blonde be half-naked during her rescue by Out Of His Element/Mostly Lucky Guy?

But y’know, we don’t really need that agitation in real life. And it is way less predictable to figure out who’s going to get murdered than it is in a movie, which makes it not nearly as entertaining, and much more screamy.

I can help. Follow these three steps to a Less-Trembling You:

  1. Turn off TV news. Between the over-the-top graphics and stomach-churning headlines, it’s a wonder that the newscasters themselves aren’t broadcasting from under the desk. I mean, what kind of person can actually tolerate a job where they deliver reflux-inspiring news day after day, after day, after day… Those people can’t be good to hang out with. Don’t invite them into the wall-sized box in your living room. And, God, especially not while you’re eating. That can’t be healthy.
  2. You don’t have to read every single news story about something horrible that’s happened. You can stop after the first 20 or 30. (Talking to myself, here.) Once you’ve gotten the facts of the story, and seen the video, and read tweets from eyewitnesses, and listened to interviews with the most tangentially-related people. (“So, yeah, I own the car that was parked in front of the bank. I mean, I owned it last month, but then I sold it to a guy who wasn’t IN the bank, but he was at the bank earlier, but he went to go pick up the new X-Men comic–which is awesomesauce by the way–and so yeah, that’s when it happened. Bad. Great car tho. 29 MPG bitches!” [Does air guitar riff.]) I think it’s safe to say that you have the story, and can probably engage your friends and family again. Maybe get a glass of wine. Maybe play some Parcheesi. Meditate. Get some “me” time, is what I’m saying.
  3. Stay away from Facebook. Whatever happens, you will have an opinion about it. And now–brace yourself–so will your family. Now, I’m not talking about your friends. I mean, you wouldn’t make friends who thought anything like that. They certainly wouldn’t try to legitimize that thing which you clearly feel is wrong and terrible and bad, bad, bad. (Except Phil. Goddamn it, Phil, I love you like a brother but your priorities, man. I just don’t know.) No, I’m talking about family. Because you’re going to see something that will transcend the limits of ignorance, and clear the way for a whole new field of vapidity. The sucking sound will be enormous, where the void of logic exists. But then you will remember that a birthday party is anon. You will see this person, and so you scroll past the offending post, sad in your heart that this person votes. (If my own family is reading this–not you. I love everything you post. See you at Thanksgiving!) So just don’t do it. Pick up an actual book or magazine if you must, but leave Facebook alone.

If you follow these three easy steps, you will be able to face the fear of this world bravely, and God willing, with very little opinion-soaked and fandazzled input from others.


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