Review of “Irrational” Fears

September 18, 2008

I’m not a doctor, but I know irrational when I see it. I’m an ENTJ on the Myers-Briggs test.

My recent encounters with what may or may not have been an alien attack bee got me thinking of things I’m afraid of. Which got me thinking, since Rick S. jogged my memory, that maybe it wasn’t a bee that got me–maybe it was something FAR more dangerous.

But first, some other, ahem, irrational fears. I wrote about this many winters ago, but because of the incoming SWARM, I thought it deserved re-visiting.

The Dark

My son Ian is 13, and he’s sometimes afraid of the dark. Which isn’t weird, it’s his reaction to the dark that’s weird. When Ian’s home alone, or just downstairs alone, and needs to go from one part of the house to another part of the house, he runs as fast as he can. To outrun whatever might be in the dark.

I should point out that Ian loves scary movies. We recently watched Alien together, and I couldn’t be prouder. But I suspect he’ll be running faster after that.

Uniqueness-2 out of 10 (who isn’t afraid of the dark? Seriously, who?)

Validity-8 out of 10 (the dark, is, in fact, scary. Because you can’t see in it.)

Potential for Embarrassment As Adult-5 out of 10 (I don’t care how old you are, you STILL can’t see in the dark.)

Total Score: 6 out of 10


Turns out, monsters aren’t real. You can look it up. But every time Maddy (15) sees a show or hears a story or watches a movie involving monsters, you can set your watch by her coming into my room in the middle of the night, freaked out and unable to sleep.

The crazy thing is, her coming into my room in the middle of the night is waaaay creepier than any monster movie. She comes in around 2am, and stands in the dark next to our bed, without speaking or moving. Eventually I can feel that Samara from The Ring is standing by my bed, and I wake up screaming.

My reaction isn’t irrational. We’ll get to my irrational fear in a minute.

Uniqueness-3 out of 10 (Can you name 5 people that aren’t afraid of monsters?)

Validity-8 out of 10 (Let’s just assume for a minute that monsters ARE real–what, you’re not going to be afraid?)

Potential for Embarrassment As Adult-5 out of 10 (No reason to be embarrassed. Except for the NOT REAL part.)

Total Score: 6 out of 10


Holden is 10. He’s sometimes afraid of lightning. But he’s also a tough little nutjob. He just lays in his bed and takes it. Which I appreciate.

Uniqueness-3 out of 10 (Turns out, lightning IS scary. Unless you’re lightning boy from X-Files. He definitely wasn’t afraid of lightning.)

Validity-8 out of 10 (Well, um, considering that a lightning strike is about FIVE TIMES HOTTER THAN THE SURFACE OF THE SUN. I’d say it’s valid.)

Potential for Embarrassment As Adult-5 out of 10 (Only if you pee your pants.)

Total Score: 6 out of 10

Little People

One night, Kim and I went over to her sister’s and my brother in law Rick S’s house to watch The Office. It was a fantastic episode, where Dwight and Michael essentially reenact the scene from Scarface where Tony knows that Frank tried to have him killed, but Frank doesn’t know that Tony knows.

Anyway, after The Office was over, we started watching My Name Is Earl on the Tivo. So we’re just sitting there, watching, and about ten minutes in, Earl and his brother walk out of the bearded lady’s house, commenting about how nice she was, when they’re distracted by a dwarf running up the sidewalk. It’s funny.

But what’s funnier, is that as soon as the dwarf appeared, Kim said “we’re oughta here” and leapt off the couch and bolted for the front door.

She doesn’t have anything personal against little people, really. But they creep her out to the point of not being able to watch any TV show or commercial or movie or billboard or cereal box with little people depicted.

Apologies to any little people who may be reading. Remember, these are IRRATIONAL fears.

Uniqueness-8 out of 10 (Have you seen Nacho Libre? Those little guys are freaking nuts.)

Validity-2 out of 10 (Nacho Libre is just a movie. After all, they’re called “little people” for a reason.)

Potential for Embarrassment As Adult-5 out of 10 (I’m torn, I’ll admit it.)

Total Score: 6 out of 10

A Variation of the Clean/Dirty Underwear When In an Accident Fear

So that got us talking about irrational fears. And then Kim’s sister, Rachelle, shared hers.

Shelle is afraid of having a heart attack (which is an irrational fear all by itself, she’s about 110 lbs) while blow-drying her hair, because her hair would only be half dried, so half would be properly styled and half would be all skiwampus, and the EMTs would arrive to save her, but would be distracted by her half dried hair, and would comment to one another that, sure, she seemed nice enough, but jeez, she sucked at styling her hair, that looks just terrible.

Kim figured they would say “wow, her hair would have been really cute if she could have just had the time to finish before clutching her chest and falling to the floor.”

Me, I’m just hoping the blow dryer comes unplugged from the wall as she falls, so she doesn’t blow dry her face for fifteen minutes while lying unconscious waiting for the ambulance.


Shelle is also afraid that when she’s old she won’t be able to wipe her own butt. This seems like it should really be Rick’s fear, since that would end up being his problem to solve.

Uniqueness-10 out of 10 (What, like you’ve heard of this before.)

Validity-2 out of 10 (Although, this would be cool on 20/20.)

Potential for Embarrassment As Adult-1 out of 10 (This would be a great party story. Almost makes you wish it WOULD happen–I confess, I DO wish it would happen.)

Total Score: 5 out of 10


That’s right, I said Hummingbirds. Here’s the thing about hummingbirds—they are like enormous Africanized bees, except instead of a little bitty stinger, they have these 3 inch long shivs stuck to their faces. They hover around your head, they dive bomb you, they are my worst nightmare. Imagine if one of these little kamikazes actually connected with your head—you’d end up looking like a wind chime or something. I can’t watch The Birds without sweating through my clothes. And my recent encounter with the mutant human-killing bee (or was it a hummingbird?) isn’t helping.

My kids think this is the funniest thing in the world. Of course it’s not. That honor goes to There’s Something About Mary. But every time the kids see hummingbirds on calendars or posters or whatever, they always ask if they can buy it and put it up in my office. Kids are so cute.

Uniqueness-11 out of 10 (Just because I get universally ridiculed for this, and have never heard anybody, ever, express sympathy.)

Validity-9 out of 10 (The terror of a hummingbird shiv to the eye cannot be denied.)

Potential for Embarrassment As Adult-11 out of 10 (Did I mention the universal ridicule?.)

Total Score: 10 out of 10

Also Considered

My friend Trevor can’t eat when there are handicapped people around. And there was a kid on the Maury Povich show who was so afraid of peaches he would collapse in convulsions if he got near them.

See, if that were me, my wife and kids would be constantly leaving peaches around the house, under my pillow, in my car, everywhere. Cuz these are the same folks who buy hummingbird feeders and put them in my yard. Love them.


7 Responses to “Review of “Irrational” Fears”

  1. KanyonKris Says:

    My friend Jeff was camping with his and another family. They had setup a hummingbird feeder and scores of the little hummers were zipping around. One bird came right up close, face to face with Jeff and, get this, stuck it’s beak into his nostril! I am NOT making this up! Evidently his nose looked like a flower. Jeff flinched (violently) and the bird flew away. Apologies in advance if you have nightmares the next few weeks because of this story.

    After seeing Jaws as a kid (almost teenager) I was afraid taking baths that a Great White would come up through the drain and eat me. But I’m over this fear now.

    I’m still on uneasy terms with needles. Nothing exciting here, it’s pain, I don’t like pain, especially when you know it’s coming.

    Either I’m having deja vu or I said some of this stuff before. Apologies if it’s a repeat.

  2. Eber Says:

    Kanyon – what hummingbird doesn’t love nostril nectar? I also had the same fears about sharks in the plumbing – only mine was spawned by the Carol Burnett Show.

    Dug – classic.

  3. bikemike Says:

    don’t tell me there are no monsters…
    did you not see The Exorcist? that stuff is real, man.

    although, i couldn’t figure out why they didn’t just take the girl/demon outside in the middle of the day and everybody would laugh at the demon cause all he could possess was a ten year old girl.

    it still scared the crap outta me.

    i’m also afraid of lawyers, orthopedic surgeons that tell you running won’t hurt your knees and Sarah Palin.

  4. BotchedExperiment Says:

    I was thinking about you and humming birds last night. I came out of the door and there was what looked like a big moth flying/hovering my way.

    It swooped down to the flower bed that was 1/2′ away, and just hovered around sticking its stilleto in some flowers. Of course, I realized it was a hummingbird (I could even hear the hum of its wings) and wondered if you were in my place whether you’d go running away flailing your hands.

  5. Bob Says:

    That’s strange, because CBS news recently did a report on killer hummingbirds in Mexico that were migrating north. I can’t find the URL. I’ll keep looking, but listen — don’t worry about hummingbirds. Don’t even think about them. I’m sure FEMA has a plan.

  6. Rick S. Says:

    So you didn’t like the hummingbird feeder I got you for your birthday?

  7. KanyonKris Says:

    bikemike – I’m not just afraid of Sarah Palin, but ALL politicians. Proof monsters ARE real. Seriously, they can’t be our same species. They’ve evolved (devolved) into a very successful parasite. Think about waking up in the night to find Orin Hatch at the foot of your bed. {shudder}

    Does Nancy Pelosi speak some new language? The words sound like english, but the result is something that sounded good but has zero meaning. But then perhaps she is just an extreme example of this further adaptation of the homo-politicus to their environment.

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