5. Eighth graders:
When I was a child, eighth graders were scary because they were bigger than I and they used swear words. Now, eighth graders are scary because they are the single most belligerent age group. Eighth graders fundamentally do not give a shit about anything. Anything! Those little fucks will dare their friends to drink mixtures of Tabasco, mayonnaise and piss. They’ll passive-aggressively put down each other’s outfits to the point of total social annihilation. They have no morals. They have no sense of reason. You are right to fear them.
When you were a kid they were always shushing you out of nowhere and asking if you really wanted all those Judy Blume books. One time, I lost a book. Totally lost it. I haven’t used my public library card since 5th grade because I’m sure I must have $10,000 of late fees racked up. I recently found the Meg Cabot book that I essentially stole – it wasn’t worth the ensuing life of crime. Now, library books have much higher stakes. If I so much as breathe the wrong way on one of my history class texts, the librarians might actually kill me. I mean, I’ve heard some of those books are bound in human skin…and I’m not saying that the librarians at the John Hay are responsible for that, but I’m also not not saying that.
3. Strangers in Vans:*
*or any vehicle. Or just strangers in general. The concept of stranger danger was a very prevalent part of my childhood. I was warned countless times never to even approach a strange car, let alone call one to my location and give the owner my credit card number through the Internet. (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Uber). Though this common-sense fear has obviously been cast aside for the sake of cheaper cab fare, there are obviously some remaining qualms. (See: Uber Worst Case Scenarios.)
2. Mistaking Someone for Your Mom:
At some point in every child’s life, they grab the pant leg of a female stranger. This grab is usually accompanied by some tugging and shouts of “MOMCANWEGETOROES!” The moment of realization that the pant leg does not belong to your mother is the worst mixture of humiliation and terror available to small children. In adult life, the experience of mistaking a stranger for your mother is quite different. Instead of running away screaming and trailing Oreos, you experience an urge to run towards this motherly figure while simultaneously begging for home-made food and unconditional support. And that’s a whole different breed of terror and humiliation.
1. Scooby Doo on Zombie Island:
Remember this one? The one where ALL THE MONSTERS WERE REAL? Because I sure do. I almost pissed my pants. I didn’t sleep for days. Scooby Doo on Zombie Island remains the scariest movie of our time. You cannot convince me otherwise. Seriously, watch that shit again. It’s terrifying.