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The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Jeff Baker, Boogieman In Lavender

The Only Thing We Have To Fear…

by Jeff Baker

NOTE: I usually post this around the 13th of the month, but I may be away from the keyboard for a couple of weeks. So I’m posting this way early! —-jeff

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

“High Ang—Ziety!” —– Mel Brooks

I think I have anxiety issues.

This has taken me decades to realize. I’ve always been apprehensive about doing things. Always. I’ve joked for years that I was afraid of pretty much everything, which to some degree may be true. But it’s all a little more complicated than that.

I worry a lot. And I’m always a little hesitant when starting something. Yes, apprehensive. Back in 2010 when I drove to the airport to pick up the man I would eventually marry I kept thinking that if anybody gave me a way out of this I would take it. Even though that was the best thing I have ever done I was so scared of it all going blooey that I felt I would have backed out if I’d had a good reason.

I could give you a bunch of other examples; waiting days to make a phone call I needed to; putting off checking on something until the last minute; waiting to file to renew my health insurance until the last minute because I was sure I was going to get cut off.

All unfounded, I admit. But still very real.

And I’m not one of those people who is totally ruled by fear or stays in the house with blinds drawn because he’s afraid to go into the world. I just have a whole lot of apprehension. Almost always.

Right now, as I write this in May, I’m getting ready for a trip to California (from Kansas) to scatter my husband’s ashes. I decided to drive partly because there are places in the Southwest (where I used to have family forty years ago) that I want to see again, and partly because I’m worried the airline would lose his ashes if I fly. (I’m afraid of flying, did I mention that?) Totally unreasonable, but I feel it.

Nonetheless, I’m going to make the trip and I am actually looking forward to it. I’ve been a professional truck driver, I know (I mean, I KNOW) I can do this. But I’ve got worries all over; like am I gonna get lost? Is the car gonna be okay? Will everything go all right? This in spite of having the car carefully checked out (it’s okay) and planning the route on the major highways to my destination in the Bay Area.

So what does this add up to?

It adds up to the fact that I may have doubts and fears and worries but I am not ruled by them. I don’t know how I’ve managed that but I do! And I’m not afraid of everything; the two biggest fears people have faced are death and speaking in public. To those things, I say “piffle.” I’m not crazy about dying but when it finally happens it happens. As for speaking in public, I’ve been on stage and I loved it! (I was a stand up comic for a while.) One of the toughest guys I know is just about paralyzed by the idea of speaking in front of a crowd. He isn’t afraid of anything else. Not me!

Two of the people I admired most in the world, my Grandmother and my best friend from college, couldn’t have been more different. They both gave me the same advice; not to worry.

Somehow, I seem to be doing pretty well, even though I have completely ignored that advice!

And in spite of fears and worries I am still going strong and my life is not a dismal train wreck with boogiemen hiding in the shadows. (Except for the ones I write about!)

As another old college friend of mine used to advise, I keep plugging away…

Jeff Baker’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the online ‘zine “RoMMantic Reads” and the Amazing Stories site. His World Of Three Moons story “The Ghannidor-Ra” has just been published in “Schlock Webzine.” He blogs about reading and writing sci-fi, fantasy and horror around the thirteenth of each month in this same space. He isn’t too afraid of running out of ideas for this column, or looking intimidating in a profile pic. Jeff regularly posts fiction on his blog and wastes time on Facebook at and Mastodon (as “Mike Mayak.”)

And here’s the Mel Brooks song:

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