This Is What I Fear

by Jeremy Eccles

My son, Nathan, chose not to trick or treat this year. For the first time in a dozen years, I did not have to confront the chilly, autumn Michigan winds and various forms of precipitation. Furthermore, since I had this extra time, it led me to ruminate a bit on Halloween. In particular, what scares me and what does not frighten me:

Icy roads give me the chills, literally. I am also scared of guns, and those who rationalize them. I also fear all of the terrible consequences of climate change. Droughts, floods, severe storms, and worse, could so easily be the norm, over time.  I’m also afraid of change, especially unexpected.

Speaking of the unexpected, I loathe surprises, since, as a grown-up, they rarely turn out well. Injustices, such as hunger, massive income inequality, bigotry, and the despicable treatment of women and girls around the globe, also terrify me. I’m also afraid of what will happen to all of these young men in America, who continue to not take their education, future, and any consequences, seriously. I’m also worried about the devaluation of all forms of art, the acceptance of intellectual and creative theft, the decline of American movies and reading, and small talk. I am afraid of Christmas, religion, germs, technology, and time. I do fear a great deal about being a Bad Dad. (Do I do enough to avoid this fate?)

I don’t fear the weather – except the consequent icy roads. I hate the cold, but what’s the point? I also don’t worry about death. I boldly expect I will die someday. I also doubt if I will make a dent in this world. It’s okay. I don’t fear silence. I welcome it. I don’t fear being alone. It helps me reflect.

Unlike many others, public speaking does not get my blood going. It will be well received – or not. I also don’t fear crime, and did not, even when I lived in Detroit. I don’t worry about money – since my wife handles the bills. I never said I was a good guy. I don’t worry about cops – I’m White. I certainly don’t have any angst over terrorism.  Creepy crawlies get me, but only marginally.  I don’t fear this generation – well, anymore, than any of the previous ones.

I also don’t fear lists… or bad writing.


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