I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

 

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I wish people didn’t love zombie movies. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the corpses eating humans, stumbling around like me after my 5th old-fashioned, getting their heads bashed in.  I think it’s neat.  But I’m sick of every asshole that watches the next zombie apocalypse and feels the need to tell everyone how heroic they would be.  Oh no, they won’t be succumbing to that fever, or getting trapped in that closet, or tripping over that log.  They’ll be smarter, stronger, quicker.  They’re a survivor.  They’re not going to give up.  They’re not going to stop. They’re going to work harder.  They’re a survivor.

Why can’t we just admit that most of us would be hiding in our rooms pissing our pants?  The whole world is dying and coming back and EATING EACH OTHER.  No fucking sweat, let me get my hatchet?  We’re afraid to go to movies (zombie or otherwise) by ourselves, to eat food that may contain gluten, that the spider we found in the bathroom is seriously endangering our lives.  But dead cannibalistic people swarming towards us is not the least bit scary?  Ironically, while we’re comfortable with the concept of the walking dead, we’re terrified of actually dying. Roughly 70% of Americans are afraid of death.  We can’t let go of suffering friends and family, we go to great lengths to better our own chances of living longer, and we create absurd afterlife scenarios that we have no way of ever verifying just to sleep better at night.  We’re completely frightened by the inescapable fact that we’re all on the clock.  But once we reanimate, everything changes, let’s go kill some zombies!

People could argue that it’s easy to not be afraid of zombies because they’re not real, they’re fiction, just imaginary things created to scare you.  Same as Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters, etc. But people are terrified of the devil.  They haven’t seen him either; he’s just a social construct (or is he? Oooooo he’s gonna getcha).  And this kind of fear is obviously very powerful.  God and the Devil.  The fear of your own beliefs becoming truth.  We just have to imagine Judgment Day and that can lead us into living our lives a certain way (or at least telling others how to). Humans don’t need to actually see or experience things to be afraid, just letting your mind put you there is enough, spiritually speaking or otherwise.  Try discussing getting into a coffin with someone who’s claustrophobic or talk about skydiving with someone that’s afraid of heights. I don’t want to do this. Please stop talking about this. Seriously stop.  Then they will close their eyes, shudder, punch you, and tell you that they hate your guts.

But that’s okay, it’s not all that debilitating.  Jumping out of planes or getting stuck in small places doesn’t come up in conversation too often.  And you’re not allowed to question someone’s beliefs.  Because being scared into believing that something bad will happen to you if you don’t believe isn’t enough. You need to be scared that someone criticizing your faith might make you reconsider things as well.  Fear all around.  Fears on the house.  Three cheers for fears.  We’re afraid to think, or afraid to listen to those who think differently, or afraid to feel the way we do if it might upset someone.  Didn’t anyone learn from Yoda? “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”.  Is it sad that we need a 2 ft tall muppet to break it down for us that we ‘re letting our fears and insecurities hurt ourselves?  Yes, but it’s more sad that he’s right and we still ignore him.

We’re afraid of everything.  Dying, sure.  But at least that one will come true.  Apparently 60% of the things that we fear will never actually happen.  In relation to our health, 88% of the things feared won’t happen.  That’s a shitload of worrying about nothing, huh?  We’re afraid of snakes even though the most of ones we would encounter can easily be defeated by a house cat.  We don’t live in the jungle.  Or Australia.  People are often afraid of clowns.  Yeah, they’re creepy, but unless you were violated at McDonald’s as a kid, then you’re probably being a little ridiculous.  What are they going to do, put acid in their squirting flower?  What kind of neighborhood did you grow up in?  Of course the fear of clowns is not as ridiculous as some of the phobias that exist.  You’ve seen the lists right?  Irrational fears of things like blushing, cosmic phenomena, or belly buttons.  Also, THE FEAR OF BEING TICKLED WITH FEATHERS.  My god, please don’t let me meet these people.  If God does exist, what in the holy hell was he thinking creating people that don’t fear zombies but are paralyzed by thought of the number 8.  Or string.

I’m not insensitive (yes I am), I realize some of these fears are out of peoples’ control.  But I refuse to accept that every stupid fear that we have cannot be changed or that our actions should be excused because of it.  I’m afraid a lot of things, but most of them are reasonable.  I think.  For instance, I’m afraid of ledges, which I like to think is a good thing since falling off of them would result in my untimely death.  When your fears are actually just common sense, then you’re probably doing okay.  Pretty much anything that could cause my death fairly easily…. zombies, hard drugs, an angry man with a gun, I would say I try to avoid.  Exceptions have been granted to fried chicken and alcohol.  I do think a healthy amount of fear is okay.  What fears me the most about fear are the things that I fear that have no reason to be feared. Fear fear fear fear fear.  I’m afraid that what I meant to say (wink) is that if you’re going to fear something there should be a consequence.  That is how rational people (an oxymoron I understand) should act.  I’m afraid of jumping out of a plane because I think that I will make a large dent in the ground and I’m not a cartoon who can crawl out of the body-outlined-hole in the ground and dust myself off.  It’s that easy.

But why do I have to fear things that really don’t matter?  The biggest fears that I have are not the ones that keep me alive, but the ones that keep me from really living (yes you can call the corny police now). The fear of failure, of looking stupid, of embarrassing myself.  The fears that stop you from doing something new because you tell yourself “Oh I could never do that” like you’re some 1950s repressed housewife.  I had a dream (an actual sleeping dream… not like a lifelong goal…sorry for having to clarify… thanks MLK) of doing stand up recently.  Go get a drink, climb up on stage, tell some funny stories, go home feeling good.  Now I’m not even sure if this is something I would actually want to do, but I’ve already convinced myself there is no way in hell that I would put myself in that position.  Terrified.  Stomach is uneasy.  Can’t do it.  But…why the fuck not?  There’s literally nothing bad that could happen to me.  Someone is not going to throw a tomato at me.  And even if they did, how fucking hilarious would that be?! “How’d the set go?” Terrible, I bombed. Oh, but someone hit me with a tomato. Tell me that is not going to make someone laugh.  Which I thought was the whole point?

But the fear ruins it.  The fear that people won’t laugh.  Or maybe the fear of tomatoes (Ntomatoephobia, in case you were wondering).  Unless you are speaking in favor of Nazis or against Game of Thrones, you’re not going to be in danger for getting in front of people and simply speaking your mind.  Yet 74% of people are afraid of public speaking.  So instead we avoid it.  Speaking candidly or trying something new shouldn’t feel more life and death than…life and death.  If you’re like me then you’ve been doing this your whole unadventurous life.  For example, when I was 7 years old my parents bought me a pair of ice skates, took me to open public skate, and….I was too scared of falling in front of everyone so I went home (boo freaking hoo).  And then I grew up and one day the skates didn’t fit, and I never got to use them or learned how to skate.  Heard this story before a few hundred times?  Yeah, me too, but we still NEVER FUCKING LEARN from it.  People share the same stories of missed opportunities and letting fear ruin their lives as a warning, and we ignore it, because we’re all a bunch of scared little bitches.

Nothing bad will happen, or, if nothing else, no one is going to eat your brains.  If you have a long embedded phobia, you should get help for that instead of avoiding it.  If you’re afraid of questioning things, it’s okay, thinking is hard, but we have plenty of time and more puppets to explain things gently.  And hey, we’re all afraid of dying.  But we’ll work through it.  Or we’ll die trying (thanks fiddy).   But you don’t need to keep lying to yourself at the expense of others. It’s not their fault.  It’s not their fault.  (Don’t do this to me Bake)  No, it’s not their fault.  And for the biggest cowards, the losers like me that fear themselves the most…for god sakes man take a chance on something!  Try out for that play, take that singing lesson instead of wailing away in the car, sign up for those classes (do you really want to keep doing the job that you’re doing for the next 30 years?), and ask that pretty girl on a date, even if you have to do it by email.  And if it goes wrong…GOOD.  Then at least you’ll get a story out of it.  Trying something and failing at least earns you a funny story, while being too afraid to do anything just leads to more sad stories like this.  So remember don’t tell yourself you can’t brain zombies until you’ve tried it.  No, wait, that wasn’t the point.  Ah fuck it, I’ve got an open mic to find.

 

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One thought on “I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

  1. Pingback: Dr. Bakelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Divorce | dayolddoughnuts

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