Monday, October 18, 2010

Fears and Facts

First, I must start this post with a little about podcasts, although that has nothing to do with what I want to tell you.

In iTunes, there is a whole “podcast” section. Click on it. There are, like, 80 billion (rough estimate) awesome podcasts out there for all your podcast needs. I mean, really it’s like recorded XM radio. And I think they're all free. So go there.

WHILST you are there, specifically look for This American Life and Stuff You Should Know (or click those links and get there faster.) These are two amazing podcasts. The former is like what this blog would be like if it were informed and written by someone who took AH Journalism class and had connections and were much, much better.

The latter, Stuff You Should Know, is basically like nerdery for the non-nerds. AKA me. Examples of podcast titles:

1. How Food Cravings Work
2. How The Hells Angels Work
3. How Kleptomania Works
4. How Braille Works

And the list goes on. Practically forever, and/or at least until 2008. SO! Why am I telling you all this?

I am telling you all this because I recently listened to a Stuff You Should Know podcast about quicksand, and I feel like my entire life is turned upside down right now.

Yes. We almost have a “making ends meat” situation on our hands here, people.

Turns out, it’s basically impossible to die in quicksand. Amongst all the reasons is that quicksand is never as deep as a human being. And even if you stepped in it, you’d basically just float at the top, not get sucked into it.

The thing is, besides having the malady of a weak bladder, I was also a fairly paranoid child. And after a few movies where people got stuck in quicksand (OR WORSE, ATREYU’S HORSE DROWNED IN THE MUCK AND OH MY GOD I STILL CAN’T HANDLE THAT) I was convinced that I would some day die from falling in a pit of quicksand. I didn’t know how or why, but the idea terrified me to my very soul.

But no one ever brought me the facts of quicksand. They just said “Oh, Emily. You won’t die in quicksand.” And left it at that, with no substantial evidence to change my mind! And just telling me that there is no quicksand in Illinois would have helped not at all because NO ONE SUSPECTS THE QUICKSAND INQUISITION.

It reminded me of my fear of robbers. I was scared to go to bed at night because I knew a Bad Guy would break into our house and steal all our things and kidnap me and my siblings. And you know what convinced me otherwise? My mom told me that since she and my dad’s bedroom is in the basement, that the robbers would come in those windows and she and my dad would just beat them up.

Bam, end of that fear. I mean, when you’re four, who’s more badass than Mom and Dad?

As I walked around Chicago, listening to the podcast, I had to keep pausing it in order to reflect on the MANY things I was scared of, if only someone had given me good reason not to be.

Like fire. I was sure that a fire would start in our hallway and none of us would be able to get out. And all I really needed was someone to stick a fire detector up there, assure me that a fire would start in the kitchen far away from us, and I would have slept like a baby.

Or escalators! I had a late fear of escalators, spawned from the 90’s show, “Rescue 911.” The thing is, I didn’t realize that a show with the word “Rescue” in it might possibly mean that everything would be okay. So of course I turned it off right in the middle of the reenactment, here

Instead of watching the last two minutes (which I just did thanks to the wonder of YouTube. By the way, STILL SCARY.) when the boy looks all healthy and rosy-cheeked again:

But, see, if someone had just told me, “That boy was fine, and it won’t happen to you because you are not SITTING on the escalator” then the fear would have evaporated in seconds!

Cold hard facts. That’s all I ever needed. Or, really, looking at all of these fears, all I actually needed was the internet. SO GET ON THAT, 1992.


Anonymous said...

Oh poor Em... they actually had the internet in 1992, by then Gopher was out, it may have been real texty and lacking in pretty pictures, and to use it you had to dial up (although you got to hear the modem tones, nothing more beautiful than a healthy carrier tone), but it was there and all ready to calm your fears with nice friendly facts.
Here's a nice little history of the Interweb if your interested.

Emily said...

Oh, no, I know there was plenty of internet by 1992. I mean, beside the fact that I just KNOW that, I distinctly remember Ms. Wiend explaining to us how to enter a website into an address bar and me having no idea what she was babbling about.

Sra said...

1) How could you discuss your great fears of quicksand without mentioning Princess Bride?!
2) I thought we were still using DOS in did I not know about the internet - oh wait, I had Berkley. :(

FreeFlying said...

I have a very real and serious desire to try quicksand. And it is absolutely never available to me. Like, why don't they have it available at Disney? Seriously.

Adrienne said...

so what explains the whales, then?

Emily said...

Um, all these things: