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Scared Silly

From aphids to zombies, Seven Days staffers fret over the frightful


Published October 29, 2008 at 5:26 a.m.


This time of year we like to think about things that go bump — or shout, “Trick or treat!”— in the night. But what our pagan forebears worried about seem like childish superstitions next to the nail-biters of 2008: an impending presidential election whose outcome could not be more critical. An economic catastrophe whose depths are not yet plumbed. Global warming. Wars in the Middle East. And, oh, yeah, what’s this about a flu pandemic? Dark times, indeed.

Here at Seven Days, we got so carried away obsessing on our fears of the moment that the deeper ones bubbled up, too. Who knew we were such ’fraidy-cats?

But there’s no better balm than the commiseration of friends. That’s why we decided to take the edge off by sharing the scare with you.

A few common themes emerged, which we’ve clumped together, but some answers were a little more . . . idiosyncratic. And notice, not a single staffer mentioned terrorists. Go figure.

  • Ugliness in politics (the haters)
  • Assassination
  • Palin 2012
  • The (pro-Obama) polls being wrong
  • Republicans stealing the election
  • If Barack Obama is elected, will “The Daily Show” still be funny?
  • If John McCain is elected, will he allow “The Daily Show” to continue broadcasting?
  • The Electoral College: Does anyone understand why we do this?
  • That President Bush has screwed up the country so badly it won’t matter who the next president is
  • That Vermont Democrats and Progressives will never mount a legitimate challenge to Jim Douglas
  • Getting hit on a bike
  • Running into someone riding a bike
  • Bridges collapsing
  • Planes crashing on my house
  • Running out of water
  • Flesh-eating zombies
  • Another Great Depression
  • Opening my 401(k) statement
  • Canada invading the U.S.
  • E. coli
  • Meteor strikes
  • Getting sucked into an alternate universe
  • Global dimming: the theory that the world’s air pollution acts as a filter and has masked the true potential impact of global warming
  • Vermont Yankee meltdown
  • Getting attacked by a lamprey in Lake Champlain
  • Getting tangled in seaweed and drowning
  • The heating oil company
  • More restaurants burning down
  • Stupidity (the ignorant; anti-intellectualism in America)
  • Bumper-sticker philosophy
  • Bad grammar
  • Giant flying cockroaches
  • Bats inside the house — hate ’em
  • Check that: Bats! OMG, I HATE bats! And I have a funny story about accidentally ending up in a bat exhibit in Sweden.
  • Aphids on the houseplants
  • Slugs, the ickiest creatures on Earth!
  • Doberman Pinschers off-leash
  • Getting bitten by a squirrel with rabies
  • The possibility that cellphones cause brain tumors
  • More McMansions. Or, a lot of empty, foreclosed McMansions
  • The death of print media
  • Cars with televisions
  • Evil clowns
  • Thinking about lists of things that scare me . . . seriously.