My Fear of Gangrene is NOT Irrational

I love when I discover a new humor blog. My four favorites (Hyperbole, 27b/6, FIIMT, The Oatmeal) post pretty infrequently… Probably because they’re all famous, so I guess you can do that shit. So when I find a funny blogger who posts on a regular basis, I am insta-hooked. Last week, I discovered Mooselicker. Dude is funny as shit, I can’t wait to have time to actually read all of his posts, but the one I linked to above on bees is awesome.

Basically he talks about how he hates bees and he spent his childhood taking great joy in finding violent ways to end the lives of bees. I appreciate his past efforts, because as a child I was TERRIFIED of bees. When I say child I mean up until like, 11th grade. I once almost ran off of a cliff on a family trip to some canyon because I saw a bee. My dad grabbed my arm and was like “GET IT TOGETHER, MAN.” He was super pissed that my irrational fear almost led to my death, but I think now he thinks it’s a cool story he gets to tell about saving my life.

Another time, in 9th grade I spent about an hour trying to get into my house through the front door, but every time I’d get up the courage to get near the door the carpenter bees that had made their homes in our bay windows would buzz around me. I ended up getting in through the basement door and when my parents got home they found me locked in our basement and sobbing/hyperventilating. I was trying to unhook the latch we had to “secure” the basement, so they thought I was a burglar. I was sobbing from bee trauma but also because I was convinced a murderer lived in the crawlspace in the basement and I made a huge effort to never be down there alone.

Once my parents realized I was not trying to burgle them and instead was their very terrified, incredibly weird child, they hugged me and my mom was like, “You know carpenter bees don’t have stingers… Right?”

The saddest part is that I actually DID know that.

Remembering this story led me to thinking about all of the fears I’ve had, both past and present. I’ll start with those I’ve actually outgrown and in a future post talk about the ones I still have.

Bees! I am not scared of your tiny, tiny stingers anymore, bees. Hornets, however, are another story. Motherfuckers are terrifying.

Rabies! My mom grew up in Iowa, so I’m privy to a lot of what I like to call “farm knowledge.” Because you teach your kids what you grew up learning, a lot of shit I learned was along the lines of, “Don’t skinny dip in quarries. I know they look like fun, but they are so cold that your heart will momentarily stop beating and you will drown. That’s how Diane De Keizer died.” It was a Dutch town in Iowa. All of the kids had weird names like that.

So naturally, as my mom needed to impart all farm knowledge on me, she taught me about rabies.

Because I loved (and still love) all animals so much, learning about rabies was almost as traumatic as learning that Santa Claus didn’t exist but at least that wasn’t until in 5th grade when I’d learned that binge eating was a fantastic coping mechanism. All four-year-old Tiffany wanted was to hug a squirrel. Learning that if a squirrel actually did come up to me it was probably rabid and going to eat my face off and then I’d be rabid and I might eat my mom’s face off was so confusing and terrifying. I have since learned that rabies doesn’t really work like this, but one time I had to run outside to grab something out of our mini van and upon getting outside I realized it was dark, I was alone and there were DEFINITELY some rabid owls out at that time. Rabies is kinda like zombie animals.

Gangrene! Along with farm knowledge, we also didn’t have cable when I was kid, so National Geographic specials were my jam. The day my little brother was born, I was watching one on giraffes, so upon meeting my infant brother I recommended that we name him Camouflage. Sadly, my parents were set on Patrick Claude, but I still think he would have made an awesome Camouflage. He likes to climb rocks and shit, so it’s fitting.

Anyway, one time we were watching this Nat Geo special on people climbing Mt. Everest or something like that. Had anyone ever successfully climbed Mt. Everest in like, 1992? Google is telling me that yes, and that happened in 1953 you dumbass, but whatever. I got confused… The 90’s were a different time. So at some point, one of the people got gangrene and they had to get their leg amputated and I was like HOLY SHIT SNOW CAN DO THAT TO YOU?

I used to get really bad charlie horses in the middle of the night, and I would sleepwalk/talk. I woke my mom up in the middle of the night, sobbing about how I had contracted gangrene and now I was going to have to get my leg amputated. Whenever my mom tells me that I was an easy kid to deal with I think of this moment and am like, really?

Oversleeping! This fear had possibly the shortest lifespan of any of my fears, which makes sense since it was the most rational. The Catholic school I attended for several years considered 7th grade the start of high school, so with that I was forced to experience an extra two years of final exams. This sounds terrible, but I actually preferred test taking to class because I could leave when I was done and I always finished with more than enough time. This isn’t so much a testament to my intelligence as it is the fact that I didn’t check my work and just wanted to go buy snacks from the school snack bar.

My first final exams experience left me scarred because I missed my alarm clock and woke up at 10:30 AM after completely missing my Portuguese final. I was inconsolable and although the teacher let me take the test later, I developed right then and there an obsessive fear that I was definitely going to oversleep and ruin everything always.

Because of the sleep walking/talking thing, I would often wake up in the middle of the night, look at my alarm clock and go running into my parents room. Once I’d get there I would be so upset that I wouldn’t think about how strange it was that my parents were sitting in their pajamas, relaxed and watching television.


They’d always start laughing and my tears would turn to confusion.

“This isn’t funny?? Do you understand that I’ll never get into an Ivy if I keep missing class like this.”

“Tiffany, it is 11 PM. You’ve only been asleep for like, twenty minutes.”

I can’t remember when the fear went away, but I actually did oversleep through a final exam my first semester in college. Luckily, music school understands that its students are musicians who are often lazy, sleepy or disorganized and doesn’t really penalize it. Music college needs students too.

Being randomly slapped in the face! No, no, my parents didn’t beat me. Not even a little bit. In fact, the most violent thing to ever happen in my house is being “Tickled Tortured” by my older brother. Which actually was kinda torturous, but not exactly abusive.

I’m very scared of conflict (still) and I am regularly paranoid that my family/friends are mad at me for some undefined reason, so I guess when I was younger I decided that maybe one day they’d slap me in the face. Also, I was allowed to watch “Melrose Place” and they did that a lot to each other so it seemed within the realm of possibility.

For years I would be in conversations and suddenly have the overwhelming desire to run and hide lest someone up and slap me in the fast, but I guess learning about things like whiskey slaps and 50 shades of Grey made getting slapped seem not so bad.

Retinal detachment! This one sort of goes with a general hypochondria thing, but I have pretty much kicked it, unlike my fear of instantaneous cancer, which I am certain I have at least five forms of right now. Sometime around my senior year of college I noticed all of the floaters in my eyes and became obsessed with them as they are a sign that your retinas can detach. Because I am (still) scared of doctors, I put off going until I have so convinced myself that I have every disease ever and have spent countless nights laying awake in fear. Or in this case, countless hours just looking back and forth at a light bulb, watching the floaters and freaking out.

Even after the eye doctor told me I was ok, I still was pretty convinced he was wrong. He was old so I thought maybe he’d become senile or something. The way I finally overcame the fear was by naming every last floater. My favorite was Freckles, the one that sort of looked like a patch of freckles, obvi.

So, I think that’s all of them that I can think of right now. Next up, a list of stuff I’m STILL terrified of, which is basically a list of the different types of serial killers there are. What? There are different types of serial killers?

Oh yeah, you better believe it.

Peace, love and zombie woodland creatures,


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5 thoughts on “My Fear of Gangrene is NOT Irrational

  1. Mooselicker says:

    Thanks for the kind words. Compliments get me out of bed in the morning. They also got me into someone’s bed once. That was a mistake.

    You’re not crazy, you know that? If you are I am too. A gangrene fear is normal. I remember I got mine when I saw the Leonardo Dicaprio movie The Beach and a Swedish guy got it then they smothered him with a pillow.

    I’m not so much afraid of being randomly slapped. It’s probably because I’m a guy. I more feel like someone will punch me. I never have been punched or slapped. I mean, not in the face. I’ve been “girl punched” in the shoulder because I have a knack of saying the wrong thing.

    I’ll return the favor and like your Facebook page because God only knows it’s exciting to see the first week everyone clicking it then watch it slowly wither away.

    • Yay, thanks! The blog FB profile is basically the worst thing I’ve wasted my time on with this blog so far. Really all that happens is my good friends who were nice enough to like my page are now punished by double blog posts on Facebook. Sorry, true friends.

      Thanks again for killing bees.

      • Mooselicker says:

        Don’t worry. I didn’t even bother making a Facebook fan page for this blog because I didn’t need everyone to see how unpopular I was.

        I don’t kill the bees for you. I kill them for us all.

  2. Thx for the trip down memory lane…many chuckles there. FYI, I saw on Dr. Phil (so you know this is gonna be good,right?) a Dr. Lawless. He has written a book “Retraining The Brain”. He has successfully help people overcome their fears quickly and easily. I’m going to look into because I’m so totally upset that I am afraid of MRI’s. I’ll let you know how that goes. But after seeing the scary blood-thirsty squirrel pic, I may have to put another fear on my list.

  3. […] Gangrene – you know this was bound to happen […]

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