Everyday horror

Halloween is outdated; adult life is scary enough

Halloween, among other things, is a time for scaring yourself senseless; how is it any different than regular life?

The appeal of haunted houses or paying to have people dressed as zombies chase you through a cornfield is lost on me. Everyday chores, preparing for the future, getting by in classes and trying to socialize are all horrifying enough. Have you seen my GPA or how dirty my bathroom is? You can’t possibly frighten me more than the idea of graduate school.

If you aren’t convinced of the terrifying nature of simply living in the world, here are some examples.

Making small talk with strangers

Having to wake up every day and live in the world is a scary prospect in and of itself. Statistically, the world is where all bad things happen. Most days, we manage to get home, look death in the face and say “not today, my friend.”

But even on solid days where everything’s peachy, there is the likelihood of small talk.

It can happen anywhere: an elevator, the line at Tim Horton’s, before or after class, on a bus, in a cafe. Nowhere and no one is safe from a friendly stranger.

Small talk has many variables to grapple with; what topics are popular enough to bring up? Who is this person? How long is this going to go on for?

Outgoing personable people can interrupt our blissful solitude, holding us verbally and socially hostage for three or four minutes to the whim of someone who just wants to chat.

Cleaning the house

People are generally messy. Whether it’s a large-scale pollution epidemic or a layer of clothes coating our bedroom floor, we don’t really tidy up until we absolutely have to.

If you clean regularly – bless your heart – you probably don’t face as much of the dread as the rest of us. If you’re like me and only clean up when the mountain of laundry requires an oxygen mask to climb over, you know the helpless feeling that comes with staring at the task at hand.

Shirts and underwear mixed with handouts from classes that never found a folder, all with a light sprinkling of whatever else was mindlessly thrown into the mix; it’s a scary sight.

To my roommates: I’m sorry. The upstairs bathroom is a true horror show I have not found the strength to yet deal with. I do not know what’s going on in there and I’m not sure modern science has the answers yet. One day, I will find the strength.

Calling anybody about anything marginally important

Apps like Skip the Dishes allow us to order food without having to actually talk to anybody, avoiding the odd anxiousness of simply speaking to another person over the phone.

Maybe it’s simply the prevalence of texting in our generation, but we just don’t like calling. We go to great lengths to avoid it; we search websites thoroughly for any online, non-verbal way to get something done.

I once dealt with not having a debit card that could’ve been unlocked with a simple phone call to my bank. You want me to speak to a strange person through a rectangle about anything at all? Sure, ok.

Just cooking

Almost every aspect of cooking can go so horribly wrong that it kills you. And yes, I am incompetent enough of a cook that this is a deep concern. I’ve burned my hands cooking ramen noodles more times than I care to admit.

From 2010-2014, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of 166,100 fires caused by cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association. To make you and I even more nervous, an average of 480 people die and 5,540 are injured per year by those fires.

But let’s say you’re really good at not burning down your house while making a simple meal. No fires for you; you’re Mr. No-Fire. Fires shake in their boots when you come to town.

Well, Mr. No-Fire, the FDA estimates one in every six Americans a year get sick from a foodborne illness a year; a truly terrifying average of 48 million cases annually.

And the real kicker with cooking and eating is you’ve got to do it every day. Yes, the idea of eating being a requirement for living is not exactly a huge revelation. But with the multitude of things that can go wrong, how does anybody just cook casually?

Debt, finding a job, paying bills, looming nuclear war, fascism, fear of being alone, etc.

Truly spooky.

Dan McKeon is a copy chief and can be reached at dan.mckeon@ubspectrum.com