5 Things I’m Truly Terrified Of

1. Snakes

Yeah man, it’s super cliché, I’m afraid of snakes. It’s going to spiders and insects next, so don’t expect too much originality any time soon. But there’s a reason that snakes top everyone’s list of things they’re afraid of. They’re terrifying. All slithering around and sticking their tongue at you. “Go ahead,” they appear to be whispering telepathic threats directly to my mind, “Try something. I don’t need limbs. I’m either going to wrap my body around yours until I squeeze the life out of you, or I’m going to inject you with a deadly poison.”

image - Flickr / James Hall
image – Flickr / James Hall

And even the so-called harmless snakes, they’re riddled in E. Coli and salmonella. There’s a reason that snake owners keep their beloved pets trapped behind cages. It’s because they’re deadly, and hateful, and poisonous even to the touch. I’ve seen snakes in the wild exactly four times. And each time was so horrifying that it’s been permanently imprinted into my memory in photorealistic detail. Non-scary things don’t mess with your mind like that. Snakes are fucking evil.

2. Spiders and insects

These guys are even worse than snakes, because while there aren’t too many snakes in New York City, that absence is sure lost amid the sheer number of bugs. I’m not even joking, I had a dream the other night where I was sitting on my couch, watching TV, when a big, brown cockroach ran across the floor and under the TV stand. That’s what a regular dream is for me, I’m just sitting around, not doing anything, and look, a giant bug. Even worse, and I swear to God this is the truth, I woke up in the morning, went downstairs to start making coffee, and there was a fucking big brown cockroach just hanging out on the staircase wall. What the hell dude?

Spiders, well, I used to only be sort of afraid of spiders. But after spending a couple of years living in Ecuador, I suffered a few traumatic experiences that elevated the threat level to code red. Like, we had to hand wash all of our clothes and leave them out to dry. So one time I took a pair of pants that was hanging in the sun, and right as I put my left leg inside, a giant – and I mean fucking giant – spider popped out the other end. It had to have been six inches across with its legs spread out. I saw the hair, that pulsating oval-shaped middle section. These things would occasionally be sprawled out on either side of the mosquito nets when we woke up in the morning. I’m telling you, I’m pretty sure they could get inside my head also, and while the snakes were all aggressive and threatening, the giant spiders reveled in a constant state of foreboding. Like, what’s up buddy. How you doing? You want me to crawl all over your face when you’re sleeping? Haha. I probably won’t. But I might.

3. High blood pressure

My dad has high blood pressure. So does my younger brother. And I’m always worried that one day I’m going to get it too. I get so worried about it that, whenever I go in for a physical, I can feel my heart start to race, I try to catch my breath but it’s no use. I tell the doctor, “Hey, doc, I’m feeling really nervous about this high blood pressure test. I’m thinking you’re going to get some readings that look like high blood pressure, but are only actually due to me thinking about maybe having high blood pressure. Does that make sense?”

image - Flickr / Iqbal Osman
image – Flickr / Iqbal Osman

And he takes the blood pressure test and he’s like, “Well, you’re a young guy. Nothing to worry about. And yeah, you told me about how nervous you were, so I’m sure that’s it. Probably nothing to worry about. See you next year.” And I spend the rest of the year thinking, what if I really do have high blood pressure? Why did I give the doctor that nervous disclaimer? What if it’s real, but because of me opening my big mouth, the doctor’s dismissing what’s bound to be an eventual life-threatening problem? Should I be taking Lipitor? Holy shit, it’s happening again, my heart’s racing. I’ve got to like, chill out for a second.

4. Global warming

But I can’t chill out for a second, because it’s too hot, or it’s too warm. I’m talking about global warming. What’s it going to look like here ten years from now? Or thirty? I live pretty close to the East River. Am I going to have to move? Are there going to be more hurricanes? Are my kids going to grow up fighting people for spots on some sort of a dystopian government issued water-rationing line?

And that’s just the big-picture stuff. If the weather gets warmer and wetter, it’s only a matter of time before bigger bugs start making New York their year-round home. And then all of those Burmese pythons that are on the loose in the Everglades, they’re going to find their way up north eventually. And there’s going to be like fungus everywhere, mushrooms growing in the basement every time the water level gets too high. And there’s going to be toxic black mold and I’m going to breath it in, and that can’t be good for my overall well-being, not to mention my potential high-blood pressure. Do you guys feel like it’s getting harder to breathe all of the sudden? Does anybody have a paper bag that I can hyperventilate into for a second?

5. The New York Rangers getting any further in the playoffs

I still can’t believe they won last night. I went to watch game seven at a bar, just to see all of those blue shirted buffoons let out a collective cry of disappointment, if the Penguins only did what they should have done three games ago, what the Flyers should have done last month. And then I went on Facebook, and everybody was hashtagging “believe.” Isn’t that a New York Mets thing? I know the Rangers have been around longer than the Mets, but I’m pretty sure “Ya gotta believe” is the Mets.

image - Flickr / Alessandro Olsen
image – Flickr / Alessandro Olsen

All while my New York Islanders are just hanging out, their muscles are probably atrophied by now after having limped through basically the entire season. No way the Rangers get any further. I won’t be able to handle it. All of those Long Island kids that I grew up with, sitting in attendance at every Isles home game, wearing Rangers jerseys and doing that stupid “Potvin sucks” chant that wasn’t even relevant when we were little kids. And I shudder to imagine the arrogant gloat if the Rags do somehow manage to … no, I can’t even get myself to type out the words. I refuse to acknowledge even the possibility. Call me bitter, I don’t care, I’d sooner leave New York. And that’s a scary thought. You know? There’s so much to be afraid of. I’m just constantly terrified. TC mark

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