We live in a frightening world. Halloween itself was originally a festival intended to ameliorate a deep primal terror of the oncoming winter. Nowadays, we have much more esoteric, sophisticated fears, most of which don’t revolve around starving or freezing to death, but which are nonetheless serious and important in their own ways. Luckily, there are books about those modern phobias too. This year, defuse your deep-seated anxieties through the life-affirming magic of knowledge.
Fear: Public Confrontation with Someone Smarter Than You
There he is: your enemy. The Harvard professor with three Ph.Ds and a DARPA partnership. The jerk who builds his own solar panels and eats vegan and volunteers in an orphans’ high school in Hondouras during his ample vacation time. Screw this guy. This guy is going down TODAY. You suck in a lungful of righteous air, pull yourself up to your full height, and declare to his smug face that this is the penultimate time he will offend you with his presence.
Except that you actually meant ultimate, and now everyone in the square is laughing their socks off at you. Your mortal enemy flashes a dazzling smile and says, “Well, I guess I’ll
see you next time!” Ooooooh, you hate that guy!
Don’t let this happen to you. Know your words. The Dictionary of Disagreeable English will teach you the difference between a hawk and a handsaw, as well as between exceed and acede, lose and loose, fortuitous and fortunate, and much more. Reiterate your distaste for that interloper with balletic poise and a linguistic dagger’s edge.
Fear: The Workers Controlling the Means of Production
This is America, land of the free market and home of the corporation. We’re theoretically a staunch capitalist people here in the good old U.S.A., but speaking as someone who makes their living giving away books for free in a limited sharing economy, we’re probably more afraid of the word “Marxism” than we are of the fact.
However, a communist uprising does sound conceptually scary, so sure, why not? Some people are afraid of spiders, but you’re more sophisticated than that. If the thought of the proletariat rising up against the bourgeoisie keeps you awake at night, then what you need is a real-life example of worker empowerment done right for the good of everyone. That actually happened in Massachusetts recently, and with the exception of almost four people, everyone agrees that things are better now.
We Are Market Basket chronicles the brave actions of the store managers, checkout workers, stockroom associates, and administrators of Market Basket, the most diverse and affordable grocery chain in the Northeast. When an internal management coup threatened to steer the company toward higher prices and lower wages, the workers revolted. It was a very stirring drama and the book is probably going to be a movie someday, so read up.
Fear: Incompetent Psychiatrists
We’ve established that you have fears. In this context, we’re going to pretend that your fears are reasonable. However, just between you and me, you should probably seek some real help.
In case you haven’t noticed, so-called professionals abound. There’s a hefty handful of psychiatrists in every small town and burg in Massachusetts. You can’t wade through a rainstorm without encountering a few itinerant psychologists hanging out in parking lots, waiting for trauma to occur. Who are these people? And what makes them think that they know anything about your problems?
Don’t get snookered into telling your woes to a fraud. Educate yourself first! The Psychology Book will fill you in on attachment disorder, healthy hatred, cognitive dissonance, and all the other things that are wrong with you. Now, when faced with a professional who wants to know about your mother, you’ll be able to spot their tack and jump to your own conclusions.
Spores are creepy, ancient reproductive aerosols that float through the air and get in your lungs. Some of them give you allergies and inflammation. Who knows what other havoc they’re wreaking within the delicate mechanism of your brain?
Spores have been around since the dinosaurs walked the Earth. Notice that the dinosaurs are now gone. Coincidence? Or sinister correlation?
Don’t take a chance on spores. Borrow A Field Guide to the Ferns and their Related Families as soon as you can. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.