Dr. Beads

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fear is Funny if it's Not Yours

I was helping my daughter with Spanish vocab the other day and she said something I hadn't heard before: "Estoy asustado."

I asked her what it meant. "I'm scared," she replied.

"I learned "Tengo miedo" for that," I said.

She nodded sagely. "They have many ways to say, 'I'm afraid.' The Spanish are a very fearful people."

I imagine that this permeates Spanish culture...

National motto: "I'm scared!" (Alternate: "You d-d-don't s-s-scare me!")

Baby's first sentence: "Mama/Papa, I'm thcared!"

Typical grade-school writing assignment: "What scared me on my summer vacation"

Typical high-school writing assignment: "Ten things that scare me, and why"

Dating-service questionnaire asks, not for turn-ons and turn-offs, but fears, grouped into "really scary," "moderately scary," and "not at all scary"

Typical graduate thesis in liberal arts: "Fear in literature" (or history, or psychology)

Typical graduate thesis in science: "The neurochemical bases of fear"

And, of course, most popular self-help book: "The Gift of Fear"