Of Course I’m Afraid of You


Why wouldn’t I be?  You spend most of your time, as far as I can tell, saying and doing everything you can think of to hurt me and the sort of people I care most about.  You seem lonely, confused, and paranoid, and have sought out the exclusive company of similar people.  All of these are obvious warning signs that someone – namely, you – is going to end up hurting people.  And so it makes perfect sense to be afraid.

I would also be afraid of a curiously slow-moving raccoon who is foaming at the mouth.  It might dart forward and bite me, or someone I am with, and transmit a serious disease.  I would be afraid, similarly, of a drunk blind man who is firing a gun down the street at random.  One of his bullets might hit me or another person who also does not deserve to be shot.  There are many things it makes perfect sense to be afraid of.

It is easy to be scary.  All it takes is to be witless and angry.

I think that many people, both good and bad, place far too high a premium on the idea of not being afraid.  Fear is your body telling you – often for a perfectly logical reason – that it would be better to avoid something, if possible.  When you boast that people are afraid of you, you are boasting about how obvious it is to them that you should be avoided.

Being scary is not nearly as impressive, or as difficult, as you seem to believe it is.  There are a thousand ways in which you can seriously frighten a great number of people right now, if that is what’s really important to you.  You can strip yourself naked and run down a busy street, ranting and raving and swinging a baseball bat.  I guarantee that people will be afraid of you.  And not just women and children.  Even men who are bigger than you are will be afraid, and move out of your way.  Even the police will be a little afraid, for their own safety in addition to that of others, and they are trained and armed.

Go do it right now, if you don’t believe me.

If you don’t want to, I suppose that is understandable.  It would almost certainly end badly.  But if you were to do this, just hypothetically speaking, do you think it would make you feel better about yourself?  Would it make you feel powerful and special?  Or would it make you feel foolish and ashamed?

It is very, very easy to frighten and upset people.  Anyone can do it.  Animals do it all the time.  Lightning and falling objects do it, and they are not even alive.

It is true that they are powerful.  Your average bolt of cloud-to-ground lightning carries around 100 million volts, and a decent-sized grizzly bear, weighing in at well over 1,000 lbs. and nearing ten feet in height when reared up, is unimaginably strong compared to any man.  Even water molecules, which, alone, are not only harmless but invisible, can drown someone if there are enough of them in the same place.

These things are also, however, fairly easily avoided, and so I don't spend a lot of time thinking about them, and neither does anyone else.

I suppose, if it were important to me to prove to a grizzly bear that I am not afraid of it, I could also do that fairly easily.  I could buy a big gun, go find a grizzly bear, announce that I am not afraid of it, and then shoot it.  But I don’t feel like doing that.  I can think of an effectively limitless number of things I’d rather do.  Honestly, I could probably spend the rest of my life listing things I would rather do than go tell a bear I’m not afraid of it and then shoot it, and still not be finished with the list by the time I died.

And absolutely none of this means that I am less cool than bears.

Bears are, though, now that I think about it, still pretty cool for completely unrelated reasons, so maybe they were a bad example.  Did you know they can partially recycle their own feces during hibernation?  That’s awesome.  I wish I could do that.

You know what I don’t wish I could do, though?  Be the kind of insufferable shithead who anonymously intimidates rape victims.

asshole poster thing
I am amazed that "expose" isn't in all-caps.  Amazed.

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