“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Published October 18, 2014 by Kristie


I am not afraid of ebola. I just want to say that, right now, as a big “fuck you” to the media that has been doing its damnedest to foment national panic (and evidently failing because the fact that they keep hammering at it, becoming ever more shrill, indicates to me that they feel that the popular hysteria level is not where they’d like it). According to the Huffington Post, 40% of Americans have some fear that they or one of their family members will contract ebola. Which seems like a lot to me; but then again, it probably isn’t a stretch to suspect that 40% of Americans are probably also afraid of asteroid collision, zombie apocalypse, and spiders crawling into their ears at night as they sleep.

You contract ebola like you contract HIV. It’s not the common cold. Casual skin-to-skin contact where there are no open sores isn’t going to do it. I get that; therefore I am not worried.  And the good news is that 60% of Americans, a solid majority in sensibility, isn’t either.

There were 4 cases of pneumonic plague–yes, The Plague™!–in Colorado in July. This is the kind that DOES have airborne transmission, but did you hear of it this summer? I didn’t until I looked up USA plague statistics for this post.  Granted, it’s curable, and ebola is not (although neither is it necessarily fatal), but still–double the number cases, and it was a non-issue, this disease that killed 75-200 million people in the 14th century. There are thousands of flu-associated deaths every year; the flu killed 30-50 million people in 1918-1919, and yet we debate each year whether or not we’ll get a flu shot. But 2 ebola cases in a country with excellent sanitation and health facilities, and people are losing their shit. Which probably only confirms to them that they’ve got The Ebola.

I am firmly convinced that there is a not inconsiderable segment of the population that, deep in their quivering brainstems, has not evolved a fear response beyond that of the tiny mammals that tried their best not to get stomped on and/or eaten by dinosaurs. They are afraid of everything, all the time, and find living on this planet day-to-day harrowing at best, because at any moment they can be killed multiple ways, by tsunami, or a carjacker, or an illegal alien, or their drinking water, or whatever the local news has been hinting at all day but will not tell you what’s threatening your life until you tune in at 10 o’clock. (If I can wait several hours to find out what might be killing me today, I figure it’s not imminent.)

But I think it is worth remembering the truth that scared people are controllable people (how else do you pass the USA PATRIOT Act?), and before succumbing to the fear-mongering du jour, you have to ask yourself who benefits from your fearfulness? It’s a significant act of revolution to refuse to be overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear, especially fear in the abstract. Reasonable people take reasonable precautions in life, and let that be enough, realizing that there are no guarantees and never were. For those people who would like to lock themselves away from all risk in life, I’ve got news for them:  Life is inevitably fatal.  People who accept that tend to do better in their lives, and make more of them.  If your fear of death makes it impossible for you to actually live, then you’re pretty much DOA at this moment.

For the record, I am also not afraid of the following:

-ISIS invading the United States:  They’ll need a navy for that, and it’s a long trip they’ll probably not survive if they set out by boat to get here.  If they attack us, it’ll be by a handful of people, a la 9/11.

-Asteroids:  If we are headed the way of the dinosaurs, there’s not much we can do about it. This solar system has been evolving since long before we were on the scene, and will continue to, regardless of our adorable little plans.

-Becoming part of the eventual white minority in this country:  People’s concern about this baffles me. There are no non-racist, non-privilege-protective reasons to be concerned about remaining the majority race. My concern level about this is non-existent.

-Flouridated water

-Pit bulls

-Undocumented immigrants

-People who don’t speak English

-Microwaved plastic wrap

What I might be afraid of is the behaviors of scared folks, and the people who would exploit that fear to make them do stuff that’s not very nice.  Frightened people lash out, usually all out of proportion to the actual problem.  They are dangerous, because they suffer from two diseases out there already that I fear more than any other:  the loss of reason and the loss of compassion; they are epidemic, and kill more people than ebola ever will.

The Shambler, by Rick Grimes (with apologies to Don Schlitz and Kenny Rogers)

Published October 12, 2014 by Kristie


So 4 years ago or so, Scott was excited to watch this new show called The Walking Dead.  “Zombies!” he said.   He was very excited about the zombies.  I’m not sure if I ever gave it a fair shot during the premiere, but if I watched it at all, it was a short, horrifying stint in front of the TV.  It was so unbelievably gross, these zombies.  “They spent their entire budget on gross-out makeup!” I complained.  And the noises…ugh.  So it came to pass that when Scott watched The Walking Dead, I would absent myself, if not from the house, at least from the room.  I’d hide out in my office, with the door shut, and crank my music or my amp up loud enough to drown out the zombie racket.  He didn’t make me watch Walking Dead; I didn’t make him watch Nashville.  In this way, we kept the peace in our marriage.

As the years passed, I became less and less sensitive to the weekly presence of disgusting zombies in my living room. Where at first I’d shield my eyes as I walked from my office through the living room to the kitchen while he was watching it, I stopped bothering.  Somehow, the fakeness of the zombies finally settled in my consciousness, and despite their continued overwhelming grossness, it didn’t bother me so much.  And Scott would tell me the plot of some of the episodes, and as a human drama, it sounded fascinating.  And towards the end of the 4th season, I found myself settling into a chair during the less disgusting parts, getting sucked in.  So when our Sunday night group was looking for a new show to watch, he suggested he’d be interested in watching it from the beginning again, and we all agreed to give it a try.  We all agreed it was fascinating, yet brutal, but in the end, we moved on to something else after the surprise savage murder of a favorite character.  And Scott and I watched the last half of season 4 on our own in a 1-day, 8-hour binge, and then lamented the 2-month wait until the start of new season.

Our wait has ended, because Rick Grimes and the gang are back TONIGHT!  In honor of this occasion, I have crafted the following parody incited by an offhand comment I made to the mister last week, which shows an unprecedented amount of follow-up on my part, if I may say so myself.  You may click on the title if you wish to enjoy a multimedia experience.

The Shambler

On a warm summer’s eve on horse bound for Atlanta

I met up with the shambler; we were both dead on our feet

So we took turns astarin’ ‘cross the distance in between us

I saw it as a rotting corpse and it saw me as meat


It said, ¨Son, I’ve made a death out of eatin’ people’s faces

Leaving the nose for last and starting with their eyes

So if you don’t mind my sayin’ I can see you’re short on ammo

For a taste of your kidney I’ll give you some advice


So I shot him through the eyeball and he sank down to the asphalt

but the ruckus caught the attention of the herd now turned my way

I should’ve stayed in that coma, I thought as I ran for safety

with apologies to dear Old Paint whom I did betray


You gotta know when to hack ‘em, know when to whack ‘em

know when to shoot ‘em up, know when to run

You never count on safety when you hear that spooky music

There’ll be time enough for restin’ when the season’s done


Now every human knows that the secret to surviving

is knowing who to send away and knowing who to keep

‘Cause most folks, they’re not winners, and every day’s a loser

and if you’re smart you’ll keep one eye open when you sleep


By the time they finished eatin’ I was hastily retreatin’

trying to live another day, not really sure what for,

because this life is the pits, I can barely protect my kids,

just endless days of misery, of hunger, and of gore


You gotta know when to hack ‘em, know when to whack ‘em

know when to shoot ‘em up, know when to run

You never count on safety when you hear that spooky music

There’ll be time enough for restin’ when the season’s done



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers