It must be nice to go through life being able to pretend you’re not scared of anything. How lovely it must be to act like driving over bridges isn’t worrisome or that ice skating doesn’t terrify you, because let me tell you, if you fall down someone is skating over your fingers and severing them. According to my brain it can happen, but it’s OK, you just keep pretending. Hooray you.
I, on the other hand, am incapable of hiding my fears; in fact those are merely a couple of them. Other fears of mine include clowns, because they can murder you while hiding their identity. I’m scared of dolls, because they can murder you while hiding their identity. I don’t know what this fear would be called but when I moved into my first apartment I requested to be placed on the 3rd floor because I was convinced that if the building collapsed (whatever that fear it called) I would survive on account that I would be at the top crushing people as we fell, instead of me getting crushed. I don’t know if that’s how it would work but you have to admit, it’s hard to argue with that logic.
For a while I was terrified of water park slides but that was primarily because I was scared karma would get me on one. During the summer of my senior year a girl I went to school with, who was working as a lifeguard, tried to prove she could go down one of those swirly tube slides the fastest by building up a bunch of water before she slid down.
Like this but about 3/4 of the size.
She built up so much water that on one of the turns she ended up flying off like a cartoon. It was like a video you’d see on Tosh.O, and like all of the other videos on his show, when I heard the story, I laughed. 16-year-old Jenn was a nightmare. At that moment I knew 2 things: 1) I was pretty sure my reaction was my ticket to Hell, and 2) do not get on a water park slide again, ever! That didn’t last long because the following summer I accompanied my aunt, uncle and cousin to a water park that had tons of slides. My first and only slide of the day was one of those tall slides that are pretty much parallel to the ladder. As I prepared myself to slide down it all I could think was “don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look down”, which is precisely what I did. Couple that with the fact that you travel down that thing at a unreasonable amount of speed and you can imagine my reaction: I stuck my arms and legs out as wide as I could like a starfish in an attempt to slow myself down. It didn’t work and I think made me go faster, and because I was so focused on not tumbling forward to my death I forgot to plug my nose and ended up choking on a bunch of water when I finally made it to the bottom.
Anyway, all of those fears are child’s play compared to what’s plaguing me now. A few weeks ago while driving home I was nearly side-swiped by an asshole who was texting while driving a fairly large truck. I. Was. Pissed. So I did what any other angry driver would do: I sped up to catch up to him. Yeah, that’s right, I became just as reckless just so I could show him my pissed-off face. As soon as I caught up with him I noticed a woman on the passenger side holding her phone up, pointed in my direction. I immediately slowed down. That’s it, I thought. My new fear is about to be realized. Now mind you the windows were incredibly tinted so there’s a good chance the woman was simply taking a selfie, but that’s not how my brain works. My brain makes me think the worst and that worst would be becoming a meme. Yeah, that’s right. I’m terrified of becoming a meme. Not the fun kind where you come off looking witty, I’m talking about the one’s that make you want to never leave the house again. And for an introvert like me that’s a hard feat to accomplish.
My fear stems from a couple of things. First off I’m not at all photogenic, to the point where I feel like my photos should come with a disclaimer. I don’t need a stranger posting a unflattering picture of me, I do that on my own just fine. Second, I don’t want to be known for whatever face I was making when the meme was created because I have self-diagnosed Tourettes of the face and I can assure you the picture will do me no favors. Recently my husband and I had dinner with another couple and their kids – one of those kids being 12-years-old and whose aspirations include becoming a YouTube star. While taking her daily 694 Snapchats she happened to catch me in the background of one of them, which she proudly showed me. Like all my photos it was very unflattering; if it were a meme the caption would read “when you’re drunk and hungry and everyone gets their food before you do.” And while that’s precisely what was going on if I’m going to become a meme I’d like to be the one who willingly created it. When I arrogantly asked her to please not post pictures of me without my permission (who the fuck am I, seriously) her response was “um, you got in my picture.” 12-year-olds are assholes.
I Googled “fear of becoming a meme” and couldn’t find a word for it so I invented Memeofmephobia, and now that it has a name it’s a real thing. Feel free to use it and share it, except with a therapist because it’s so new they may not be adequately trained on how to cure it, or they haven’t heard of it at all. Some therapist.