fear factor


    One of the food blogs I read regularly is Smitten Kitchen. I don’t know who writes it, but it is among the most beautiful and accessible of the blogs that take food seriously. In one of her recent posts, she asked people to talk about why they were afraid to cook. Her list set me to thinking about fear in general and, for some reason, my thoughts fell into rhyme.

    Fear Factor

    It’s my favorite room, but that’s not true for some;
    when it comes to the kitchen, those some come undone,
    who’re afraid to sauté or to simmer or sear,
    who’d opt for some take out and grab a cold beer.

    We’re all scared of something – it doesn’t have to be cooking
    that makes our palms sweat or sets us to looking
    with eyes of suspicion and stares of disdain.
    No, it’s much more than food that sets our fears aflame.

    The things that are scary go past breads and béarnaise,
    beyond cupcakes and corn (you know some call it maize),
    to the questions and quandaries that fester and foment
    in both fears for a lifetime and fears of the moment.

    Some fears are big, like tornadoes or earthquakes;
    some fears are small—think of hangnails and toothaches.
    A snake or a spider can send some running to hide,
    while a few are afraid of things battered and fried.

    Some are scared of the dark, or of turbulent weather
    And others that N’Sync might just get back together
    Some are frightened of hula hoops, hot wings, and horses,
    Others scared of their marriages, some of divorces,

    Some are scared of Al-Qaeda, some of Al Roker,
    Or that they might be doused with their kid’s Super Soaker;
    Some are scared of the new, some afraid of the old,
    Others fear that their neighborhoods should be more patrolled.

    Some are scared they will die, some are scared they will live;
    Some are frightened the blood drive will ask them to give.
    Just the thought of a needle can give others a chill,
    and then there’s the terror of the credit card bill.

    The climate is changing, gas prices are rising –
    perhaps, that we’re fearful is not so surprising:
    nuclear warheads can make us afraid —
    that Celine Dion songs are allowed to be played;

    Cat-burglars, kidnappings, foreign attacks,
    cockroaches, coal mines, that mole on your back;
    Outsourcing, outside, and some outboard motors,
    slick politicians and party-line voters;

    Insurgents, incumbents, wifi, and water,
    on particular days – your own sons and daughters;
    foreclosures and Fox news, dark streets at night,
    lumberjacks, lawyers, and airplane flights;

    Kleenex and Clorox, Keanu Reeves movies,
    people who still say things like “far out” and “groovy,”
    botox and beetles, eviction, ebola,
    satellites, cell phones, and sugar-free cola;

    Loneliness, failure, new places, old wounds,
    arthritis, amnesia, rejection, blue moons,
    chemicals, cholera, downed power lines,
    clear cutting, kudzu, signs of the times;

    TV evangelists, late night news anchors,
    hankers and flankers and cankers and bankers,
    being buried alive or left somewhere for dead,
    hybrids and hotheads and the not-so-well-read;

    I’m fearful of stopping lest I leave something out;
    I’ve yet to mention Google or gout,
    or governments – see, there’s so much to fear:
    the Yankees, umbrellas, poodles, cashmere.

    Whatever our fears, we all have our reasons
    for running and hiding, for living in seasons
    of conflict and doubt, of turmoil and stress
    because of the things that make life a mess.

    The fears are quite real, and so are our choices
    to push through the scared and find other voices
    To speak to our fears without acquiescing
    to all that is frightening, but instead keep ‘em guessing.

    Whether frightened of food, or afraid of the dark,
    of undersea monsters or dogs that don’t bark,
    one simple reminder can keep us prepared:
    before you can be brave, you’ve got to be scared.



    1. Lord, have mercy. I’ve never seen anybody rhyme ‘aquiescing’. But I don’t get out much.

      Dude, it is wonderful to hear your voice rising so often. Sounds like you are coming up out of the dark…

      (and, pardon me, but isn’t it ‘Roker’?)

      You da man. This was a killer piece.

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