Paralyzed By Fear–Part Six-Looking Like a Fool

Posted by Steven Russell on Monday, December 1, 2014

I think it’s our greatest fear. I think we fear being taken as a fool greater than we fear death. We all know what it feels like to be the fool, to sound like an idiot, to be embarrassed, and to feel the skin start to heat up and the back of your neck start to crawl. It causes us to stay home, keep our mouth shut, ask our friends’ opinions, spy on others, and worry. Worry and worry more.

Or is it such a large fear? If it’s such a fear, then why aren’t more people keeping their mouths shut when they say stupid things over and over? If we fear what others think of how we look, why are so many people so ridiculously dressed? Why do people spend so much money on things that are supposed to make them look better? Do we not know when we are fools or are we all secretly trying to be fools in desperate hope to be noticed?

I recently visited my father in Ohio. My sister and I went out into his garage and dug up boxes and boxes of family pictures and we found a treasure trove. As we looked back at older and older albums of photos, we laughed and laughed. What were we thinking? How could we go out of the house looking like that?

Exhibit Number One:


It was 1976. I was fifteen. What’s with those pants? Did our parents really buy them for us? Our hair. What was that about? I walked around high school looking like that.

Exhibit Number Two:


What? April 1973. I was twelve. Had I not learned anything from this tragedy that would have saved me from the horrors that I would commit in high school? How could my parents let me out of the house looking like that? Who in their right minds would manufacture pants like that? Did I not see that that shirt did not go with those pants? It makes me nauseous just to look at it. Also, the hair. You can see how my mother has to duck around it just to see the camera.

I’ve saved the best for last. July 1972. It was around my twelfth birthday. I can’t believe, for one, that my father took this picture. I can’t believe that someone didn’t destroy it before it came into the light of day and that my dad had it printed and placed it in a photo album. I also can’t believe that I scanned it and am going to put it online for who knows how many people to see. I’m overcoming fear and I really don’t care what people think. Not about my hair, my beard,  or what I wear or don’t wear. I dare to be the fool.

Exhibit Number Three:



Rebecca on December 1, 2014 at 10:04:33 pm said:
Well throw me right into exhibit one, and two! Thank you for leaving me out of three! I was quite happy I thought most of the time. Why do I look so miserable? And Mom looks very Jackie O!! Why didn't we get her sense of fashion? By the way, neither Mom nor Dad purchased my plaid pants. I made them! :-)

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