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The only thing we have to fear ...

I got an email last week from a public relations firm pitching a column from an "empowerment expert" (whatever that means) on how to overcome fear. The author, a former master Air Force sergeant named Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez — also known as the "Pink Biker Chic," lists 11 fears that she says commonly hold people back from achieving their goals.

Among the commonly held fears she lists in the piece are: Fear of success, fear of leading, fear of speaking, fear of power, fear of being alone, and fear of failure. 

The last one is the only one I think most of us have in common. Fear of success? How many of us really fear that? Not me. 

This is all way too broad for me. The stuff I fear is a bit more real and closer to home, and it varies from day to day and week to week. 

Here are a few things I currently fear:


• I fear "supercommittees" that cause my 401k to drop like a Vikings offensive lineman trying to protect Christian Ponder.

• I fear my Thankgiving turkey will either cook too fast, so that it dries out and tastes like old shoe, or too slow (I hear medium rare doesn't work very well for poultry.)

• I fear hitting reply all in an email I should never have sent in the first place.

• I fear clicking on an attachment that's responsible for everyone in my address book getting an email from some guy in Nigeria who wants me to hide his money in my bank account in exchange for a million dollars.

• I fear people with tattoos on their face.

• I fear things in the freezer that might have been there since the Clinton administration.

• I fear my 2-year-old black lab will ruin supper. (She has been known to run off with an entire pound of bacon when my back is turned.)

• I fear that I might forget to put the garbage out at the curb, especially when it is 90 degrees and we have just had fish for dinner.


• I fear my oldest sister, because when she was my debate partner in high school she perfected a cold stare — one she still uses on rare occasions — so piercing that when I had not done my research and relied on her to bail me out, it burned a hole in my brain.

• I fear needles, broken glass, wild parsnip, venomous insects and foods I don't yet know I'm deathly allergic to, like maybe eel intestines or rooster comb or goat bladder.

• I fear being stuck in an elevator, either by myself or with a guy with a piece of foam rubber cheese on his head.

• I fear the transmission will go out on my car just after the warranty expires.

• I fear long, heavy rains, leaves in the gutter and water in the basement.

• I fear Jesse Ventura will stumble upon back issues of my column on the Internet.

• I fear knives that are too dull.

• I fear knives that are too sharp.


• I fear my water softener has stopped working.

• I fear raw oysters this far from the ocean.

• I fear small group "sharing" discussions at seminars and training sessions.

• I fear Cliff Clavin extroverts who talk loud and seem to know everything about anything, especially when they decide to run for office.

• I fear the dreams I still have, more than a quarter century after graduating from college, where I am either naked in school, or taking a final for a class I have never been to. Or both.

Maybe I'll write a book.

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