When You Have A Ridiculous Fear

Once again, The Onion hits a bit too close to home with this hilarious article about a theater audience that completely freaks out when performers leave the stage and take their act into the aisles.

I will admit to being afraid of almost everything; in some ways, I am a female version of Bob Wiley, taking baby steps to everything. I don't like the dark, don't like certain numbers, don't like horror films, don't like crowds, don't like heights- you name it, I'm probably afraid of it. Yet these are fears that can be conquered for the most part, through practice, exposure, medication, and a general outgrowing of things. The big fears in our lives are usually the easiest to work on, as they can be targeted and broken down into tiny pieces.

And then there are the smaller fears; the ridiculous things we hate to admit to anyone, because they seem so insane and embarrassing. I have a friend who is terrified of clowns, and quite embarrassed about it. "Because I know, logically," she says, "that it's just a dude with makeup on. But it's still so fucking creepy." My younger sister is afraid of "anything with wings" and dreads the springtime, as it signals the return of birds, bees, and moths. It's not a paralyzing fear, just a general sense of being creeped out that she can't seem to outrun.

The Onion piece brings up one of my ridiculous fears: audience participation. When I was in 6th grade, we took a class field trip to see CATS, and as soon as those giant costumed people started roaming up and down the aisle, I had the same reaction as one of the fictional audience members in the Onion piece: "Oh, man, are they? Shit," one audience member was overheard saying as the energetic ensemble began filing down previously unseen stairs and past the front row. "Shit, shit, shit."

I suppose it is a boundary issue: watching the show is one thing. Having the show sit next to you is quite another. I know some people LOVE shows like this, and rave about the interaction, but I still get freaked out, even though everyone teases me for it. This same wave of dread kicks in every time I find myself in a situation where someone suggests "icebreaker games" or when I have to go through the receiving line at a random wedding. Some of us just like to sit back and observe, and it's strange when you suddenly feel the tables being turned on you. Especially when those tables are being turned by performers dressed as giant cats.

So what are your ridiculous fears? And do you have a means of overcoming them?

Oh No, Performers Coming Into The Audience [The Onion]