SOCIAL STUDIES Page of My Book: Things I'm Afraid Of … Emily Foster

There are things that everyone should fear, like online dating, demonic babies and spiders living inside your ears. Sharks seem pretty terrifying, as do lobsters (and other beings that might remove chunks of your skin out by mauling, biting or pinching). Every day in New York City, I’m afraid of stepping in human poop on the sidewalk. And what if I step on a crack and actually break my mother’s back and then I have to wipe her butt as part of her daily care?

I get scared when I hear footsteps coming down the hallway – a rhythmic clip-clap of heels that I assume belong to a woman, only to see a guy round the corner in his fancy ladyman shoes. I’m definitely afraid of gout, even though I don’t really know what it is. My friend told me once that he was working at a retirement home and some poor sweet dear old lady’s UTERUS FELL OUT. I didn’t know that could happen but now I’m afraid of that too.

All of these are rational, justified fears that I think about constantly. But my number one fear in life is slightly less rational: dead bodies in the water. I can’t pinpoint when or why it started. I’m sure a psychic would tell me that I violently drowned in a past-life, my body swept away in torrent of despair and dashed dreams. A psychologist might point out that I grew up in Detroit – the murder capital of the US, surrounded by Great Lakes.

But I blame the scariest show I ever saw when I was a kid: Episode #98 of The Cosby Show entitled “Gone Fishin’”. In it (as if I need to remind you), Theo catches the dead body of a gangster while on a fishing trip. An amazing episode of family TV, it left me scared and permanently damaged.

Whenever I’m in the water, I imagine that, like Theo, I’m about to come face-to-face with a corpse – a simple brush of their dead hair against my ankles, perhaps an unexpected finger tickle as I swim by. I know they’re in there, lurking somewhere beneath the surface. Osama Bin Laden. I rest my case. But I refuse to let this irrational fear keep me from entering the water. I am so brave, it’s almost unfair.

While there are many “important” fears in life, like “will I die lonely and unhappy?” and “will I get a terrible disease and live out my days in pain?” I prefer to squash those because you can’t know what’s coming next. But if you see a body of water (not pools, although sometimes pools), there’s probably a dead person in there. I hope you see the lesson there.

Photo credit: Runner’s World

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  1. my IRRATIONAL fear….velvet. beat that haha

  2. I’m afraid that when I get married and want to have kids that I’m not going to be able to conceive. I don’t know if this is irrational, but I just want to have my own kids so bad!

  3. I have an irrational fear of driving next to semi trucks because I think the tires are going to shred and fly off and hit me.

    I also have a fear of tripping and knocking all my teeth out, guess that’s what 5 years already spent in braces will do to you :)

    Sidenote, anyone else find it odd that the picture came from Runners World? lol

  4. I’ve heard about old lady uterus’ falling out too. And I was shocked, SHOCKED to hear such a thing could happen!!!!

  5. I don’t like for people to touch me at all, but I’m mostly afraid of other people’s skin touching my skin. It’s pretty weird. My mother thinks there’s something wrong with me, but she gets angry with me because I don’t like to hug.

  6. My number one irrational fear – getting hit by a train. As if I’m in many situations where a train will hit me. (AKA never.)
    Floating dead bodies are frightening though. I don’t blame you.

  7. Whatever you do, don’t watch the lord of the rings scene with all of the dead bodies in the water that float by. Or Titanic. Or CSI Miami. :)

  8. I can’t set foot in the ocean due to wayyy too many Shark Weeks as well as my dad allowing me to watch Jaws at a very young age (still one of my favorite films, though).

    Also, I once worked at a restaurant where the morning bartender was an older lady, like past retirement age, and her uterus did, indeed, fall out behind the bar.

    True story, cross my heart.

    So yes, that’s terrifying.

  9. im afraid of FISH swimming in the same place as me… i start thinking they’re out to eat me. Blame pirahna stories…

    • oh man, i have the same fear! my friends decided to up to this lake to swim and i just stood by the edge crying because i saw a fish in the water.

  10. Oh man, I shouldn’t have read this. Dead bodies in water touching me has now been moved to the top of my irrational fear list…I probably won’t be going swimming any time soon now.

  11. Your fear is more rational than my weird weird weird phobia of jewelry (mostly the metal of it). I’m thinking it goes back to seeing Little Rascals when Alfalfa gives Darla the ring in her food. Well, all I could think about was her swallowing it, and what a choking hazard that was. I’m engaged now but don’t wear a ring…try explaining that to people!

    • Your Fiance is so lucky to marry a lady who doesn’t want a pricey ring!

      Emily Foster | 8/30/2011 03:08 pm