Global warming looms on the horizon, threatening to alter all life as we know it, and turn Cleveland into a top-notch beach resort. North Korea has a nuclear bomb, a million-man army, and a five-foot tall madman leader who is obsessed with Dolly Parton movies. So many things can go wrong in the modern world, that we need several 24 hour cable news networks devoted exclusively to Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. But what scares a typical American even more than American Idol? What are we really afraid of?
After a brief survey of friends, I came up with this starter list:
o Your HMO outsources all its doctors to India. The only employees left at the local clinic are low-paid technicians who speak with accents you can’t understand while taking your blood and probing private parts with various high-tech instruments you’ve never seen before. Between episodes of One Life to Live, your doctor appears briefly on the TV monitor to tell you to schedule a trip to New Delhi for exploratory surgery.
o After exploratory surgery you are fitted with an experimental monitoring device that sets off the alarm every time you try to leave the library or convenience store. It also sets off the car alarm if you try to sit down within 100 feet of where you’re parked.
o You write an Oscar-winning screenplay, but are forced by the producer to share the award with “co-writer” Ben Affleck.
o Having run out of corn, America begins turning coffee beans into bio-fuel. Rush hour traffic now smells like freshly brewed espresso, the price of which spikes to $47 per demitasse cup.
o After spending all week downloading every song in your CD collection into iTunes, your kid erases them all to make room for a new computer game that allows him to join with kids from China, Japan, and Russia in exterminating cartoon rats.
o You win an all-expense paid trip to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day the day after your doctor tells you to give up drinking.
o While you’re leaning against the Leaning Tower of Pisa for a vacation photo, it finally topples over.
o As you get older, you suddenly begin to lose your memory and after a few months can no longer remember who you are, but still can’t seem to forget who you owe money to.
o By the time your kids are finally old enough to behave themselves at restaurants and appreciate spicy Mexican/Indian/Thai food, you can’t eat it anymore because you’ve discovered what heartburn is.
o Hillary Clinton gets elected President and is caught in the Oval Office having sex with an intern.
o Due to the horrible Mad Turkey disease, all turkeys are removed from stores before Thanksgiving and replaced with new, super-healthy 25-pound giant rabbits.
o You are pushed into a circus tent by two insane clowns, who force you to watch them make balloon animals and throw cream pies at each other for hours.
o Your daughter borrows your credit card and has it tattooed onto her forehead, starting a new fashion trend after she poses for a photo which becomes Internetionally famous. Your next credit card statement resembles the national debt of Argentina.
o In order to capitalize on America’s addictions, corporations come up with new products that do the opposite of what their original products did, like doughnuts that lower cholesterol, and cigarettes that cure cancer. Then you begin nagging the children, “Do you want your teeth to rot? Finish eating your gummi worm candy, it’ll keep you from getting cavities!” and “Stop playing and come inside and watch TV! The more you watch; the smarter, better looking, and stronger you get!”
o You lose your high paying job at the Free Money Mortgage Company, which forces you to default on the loan for your swanky beachfront condo and move back into your parent’s basement.
o One morning your computer refuses to accept your password, freezing you out of all your files. A few days later the computer disappears, along with the office copier. Two months go by before your worst fears are confirmed: The machines are found in Palm Springs, where they’ve started a business selling all your best ideas.