Im afraid you're afraid: 448 things to fear and why

Melinda Muse

Summary

Is it too much to ask that the world be a safer place than it was a hundred years ago? Obviously so. The safer tomorrow of our dreams is mad, bad, and dangerous. We have every reason to be scared witless. With nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, it's no longer survival of the fittest, but of the wariest! I'm Afraid, You're Afraid: 448 Things to Fear and Why is a textbook of life's hazards - from Abstinence to Zippers, Martinis to Yard Sales. It's all here. Things you mustn't touch, places to flee, creatures and people to avoid. Be afraid, be very afraid, but don't forget to laugh, especially at your fears.

BABY-FACED BOYS

Looks deceive. Baby-faced boys are more likely to be delinquent and commit more crimes than their less cherubic-looking pals, divulges a recent study that suggest that the sweet-appearing juvies intentionally try to derail their submissive image by acting naughty, not nice.

DARK-COLORED CLOTHES Seeking one human, M/F, S/M/D, juicy, no DDT; reply to Stagnant Pool 29.

Not to get personal, but you're likely to be bitten by smitten mosquitoes if you insist on wearing dark-colored clothes that advertise what a tasty Goth you are.

JERKY The can-be-lethal E.coli bacteria has been found in venison jerky. An Oregon outbreak of food poisoning was traced to the hides of deer slaughtered by hunters. Call it Bambi's revenge.

PARAKEETS Sounds a might peckish but a plumed pet can make you sick as a dog. Psittacosis, a disease transmitted to humans from birds of the parrot family, is spread by inhaling bird-dropping dust, which can remain infectious for weeks. Now you know what the caged bird flings.

PICKING YOUR NOSE The indecorous practice of nosepicking can be calamitous. If a ransacking finger gouges the mucous membranes of your nasal passage, it might bring on an infection that could travel to your brain and cause a blood clot. Use a hankie, not your pinkie.

REFRIGERATOR MAGNETS Fridge magnets attract trouble. Little kids swallow them; adults get facial cuts and eye lacerations after sideswiping the appliance decorations. Ice the kitsch.

STUFFED ANIMALS House mites often infect cuddly toys. The scavenging little buggers might decide to abandon Winnie the Pooh to take refuge on your flaky, oh-so-tasty scalp. Nesting in your hair, the mites deposit poop proteins and, if you're prone to asthma, the fecal pellets could set off an attack. Shampoo your beanie, baby.

YO-YOS Dentists are reeling about the tooth-cracking dangers of yo-yos, which can whirl as fast as 11,000 rpm. Parents, mind dentists' warning: For very young, uncoordinated children, no yo-yo, ma.

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