Fear This, Not That



by Mike McHugh
150205 Breaking News

Tonight’s top story: something else to be afraid of!

Perhaps you’ve read the recent article in Parade about how most of our greatest fears in this day and age are irrational. Apparently things like Ebola, the threat of terrorism, and serial killers are nothing to get worked up about. The only reason we make them out that way is because they’ve been trumped up on the TV news.

Personally, I wish that Parade had left this alone. The network news departments work tirelessly figuring out what we should be afraid of and then hammering us with reminders of it, and in that they do a standup job. If they weren’t busy telling us what to fear, they might be forced to go out and dig up some real news, which might require talking to a Kardashian or two.

I’m happy that the news people provide this valuable service. It saves me the trouble of having to come up with my own list of things to worry about. And my list would no doubt be different from everybody else’s. Left to our own devices, we’d all be forever arguing over what we should and shouldn’t be afraid of. There’s already enough stuff for us to disagree about, what with politics, religion, which fork to use first at a formal dinner party, etc. At least with the news media telling us what we should fear, we as Americans have at least one thing that we can be united on.

150205 Sleeping Cat

What, me worry?

And without someone doing it for us, I’m sure that many of us, myself included, would be too lazy to do the necessary legwork and thus go around not worrying about anything at all. Without anything to lose sleep over, we may end up sleeping all day long. We’d be reduced to the same level as animals, like my cats, which I’m sure don’t give a second thought to Al Qaida and could thus sleep through a suicide bomb attack.

The Parade article goes on to say that we should be worried about a completely different list of things than that to which we’ve been conditioned, namely, the flu, domestic vio150205 Don't Paniclence, and heart disease. They’ve got to be kidding. I can’t be bothered with adding a whole other slew of fears to those I’m already wearing out my carpets over. I’d keep my local flooring company in business just worrying about having to keep track of them all. “Shoot,” I’d say to myself, “I completely forgot to worry today about whether I’d be struck dead by a heart attack!” That in itself would be enough to give me one.
So thanks, Parade, for your thoughtful suggestions, but I’m good with my current inventory of fears. They’re well worn, like my old pair of cowboy boots, which are shaking right now over the threat of a terrorist serial killer armed with a vial of Ebola.

© 2015 by Mike McHugh

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