My Greatest Fear

My Greatest Fear #55: The Hooligan Sucker Punch

My Greatest Fear #55: The Hooligan Sucker Punch

Tonight I was walking with a few friends to get dinner. It was a chilly evening, and I was wearing my Manchester United jacket. I realized as we walked that one of my greatest (completely unfounded and irrational) fears stems from this jacket. I got the jacket as a gift for being in a wedding […]


My Greatest Fear #54: Laughing Out Loud During a Moment of Silence

My Greatest Fear #54: Laughing Out Loud During a Moment of Silence

Have you ever been in a situation where it randomly occurs to you that now would be the worst possible time to do something, and then, because you put the thought in your mind, you’re a little worried that your subconscious might take over and do the thing you definitely don’t want to do? I was […]


My Greatest Fear #53: Driving Without a License

A few days ago I accepted a short-notice dinner invitation (Vietnamese food–how could I say no?) with a former coworker at 5:30 in the evening. The only conflict was that I had a teleconference at 5:00, so the call would likely begin while I was home and continue while I drove to the restaurant. That’s […]


My Greatest Fear #52: Being Unable to Open a Jar

My Greatest Fear #52: Being Unable to Open a Jar

There are certain disadvantages that come with (a) living alone and (b) having conspicuously weak wrists. Yesterday I had a fresh jar of Hacienda salsa that was asking to be sampled. But when I tried to open it, it simply would not budge. I tried all the usual tricks: I tapped on the lid with […]


I Survived a Vicious Bout of Public Speaking

I Survived a Vicious Bout of Public Speaking

The company publishing my crowdfunding/Kickstarter book, Berrett-Koehler, recently invited my out to their Oakland office for an “author day.” As they explained it to me, they do these author days so that every person involved in the production, editing, marketing, and multimedia ask can meet with the author to discuss the process. “Also,” they added, […]


My Greatest Fear #51: When You Accidentally Adjust a Setting in Your Car but Can’t Figure Out What You Changed

My Greatest Fear #51: When You Accidentally Adjust a Setting in Your Car but Can't Figure Out What You Changed

This happened to me, and it can happen to you. I was driving back from the grocery store today and needed to turn on my turn signal, which is done in my car (a Camry) by pressing down on the lever to the left of the steering wheel. However, my hand clumsily knocked into the turn […]


My Greatest Fear #50: Spraying Toilet Water in My Eyes

My Greatest Fear #50: Spraying Toilet Water in My Eyes

When I was a kid, one of the weekly chores I had to take care of was cleaning the toilets. The method my parents taught me was to squirt cleaning fluid in the toilet, roll up my sleeves, and clean the toilet with an old rag. For some reason it never occurred to my parents […]


My Greatest Fear Guest Post

My Greatest Fear Guest Post

The other day I was talking with my friend Katy, and as she was telling a story, I realized that we had stumbled upon a perfect example of a “greatest fear” like the ones I write about here. I invited her to tell the story in her own words. Thanks Katy! *** My Greatest Fear: […]


My Greatest Fear #49: All Comment Notifications Sent to Spam

My Greatest Fear #49: All Comment Notifications Sent to Spam

This might be the very first “greatest fear” entry that was inspired by something that actually happened, and the fear persisted afterwards. Because this just happened. For real. And now I’m terrified it will continue to happen. An hour ago I refreshed my WordPress dashboard to see the latest stats. I happened to glance down […]


My Greatest Fear #48: Getting a Potato Chip in My Eye

My Greatest Fear #48: Getting a Potato Chip in My Eye

As I wrote about on a recent blog entry, I’m a little bit in love with Billy Goat potato chips right now. I only eat a few before lunch and dinner, so it takes me over 3 weeks to get through a bag. It’s been an amazing 3 weeks. I finally finished off the bag […]


My Greatest Fear #47: Forgetting to Go Invisible After Finishing an Instant-Message Conversation

My Greatest Fear #47: Forgetting to Go Invisible After Finishing an Instant-Message Conversation

Who would have thought I’d have 47 greatest fears? That can’t be good. I don’t like instant message for the same reason I don’t like text conversations: They end up feeling like a long series of interruptions. Occasionally I’ll chat with someone online via instant message or let a text conversation happen, and it’s not […]


My Greatest Fear #46: Missing 2 Minutes of a Movie to Go to the Bathroom Even If My Bladder Will Explode

My Greatest Fear #46: Missing 2 Minutes of a Movie to Go to the Bathroom Even If My Bladder Will Explode

If I were a betting man and people were taking bets on my bladder, I would bet that my bladder will someday explode while I’m watching a movie in a theater. And I’ll probably keep watching the movie so I don’t miss anything. Here’s how I know I have a problem: Tonight I was a […]


My Greatest Fear #45: Misleading a Police Officer

My Greatest Fear #45: Misleading a Police Officer

The title of this post is a bit misleading, but the full title would be so long. That’s why I get to write words here. This morning I pulled out of my parking lot and turned onto the street. I realized that it was an overcast day, so I turned on my headlights. And then […]


My Greatest Fear #44: The Copy Machine Light

My Greatest Fear #44: The Copy Machine Light

Today at work, I made a copy on our big copy machine. As I always do, I closed the lid all the way before pressing the Start button. Because, you know, I don’t want to be blinded by the copier light. When you were a kid, did your parents tell you not to look directly […]


My Greatest Fear #43: My Greatest Childhood Fear

My Greatest Fear #43: My Greatest Childhood Fear

Today I saw Monsters University, which was WAY better than World War Z and not quite as good as Monsters Inc (which is probably my second favorite Pixar movie after The Incredibles). Unlike the original, it delves much deeper into how different children are afraid of different things, and sometimes those things can be very […]


My Greatest Fear #41: Cutting Off Circulation in My Finger While Flossing and Losing the Finger

My Greatest Fear #41: Cutting Off Circulation in My Finger While Flossing and Losing the Finger

I’ve flossed my teeth every day for the last 14 years. You could drive a Hummer over my gums and they wouldn’t bleed (okay, not the best choice of words there, but I’m sticking with it). I use the same thick Glide floss that James Bond uses to strangle villains. It doesn’t take me long […]


My Greatest Fear #40: Having 21 Items in the “20 Items or Fewer” Checkout Lane

My Greatest Fear #40: Having 21 Items in the "20 Items or Fewer" Checkout Lane

Yesterday I hurried through the grocery store on my way home, checking off items on my list like a professional shopper. When I arrived at the front of the store to check out, I discovered that most of the lanes were crowded, with one exception: The 20 Items or Fewer aisle. I scanned my cart, […]


My Greatest Fear #39: Doing the One Thing You Absolutely Must Not Do

My Greatest Fear #39: Doing the One Thing You Absolutely Must Not Do

The cup of urine stared at me. I stared back. I knew I was moments away from drinking it. Let’s back up a little. On my recent post about beautiful places in the world, I mentioned the sensation you get when you’re on top of a tall building or cliff and you know that the […]


My Greatest Fear #38: Staining My Dress Pants the Day After I Get Them Back from the Dry Cleaners

My Greatest Fear #38: Staining My Dress Pants the Day After I Get Them Back from the Dry Cleaners

Confession: I don’t go to the dry cleaners all that often. I wash my other clothes on a regular basis, but for some reason it rarely occurs to me that my dress pants–which I wear several times a week–can get dirty. But they do. And then they smell of farts. Despite knowing that, usually the […]


My Greatest Fear #37: Passing Out from Exhaust Fumes While Cleaning Snow Off My Car

Last Saturday night, it snowed in St. Louis. I woke up Sunday morning to find my car covered with about 4 inches of powder. As I was brushing snow off my car (I brush ALL of the snow off my car, even the hood and roof. I’m always worried that if I leave any of […]


My Greatest Fear #36: That the Awesome Guest Star Won’t Become a Series Regular

My Greatest Fear #36: That the Awesome Guest Star Won't Become a Series Regular

Recently, something terrible happened on New Girl. Olivia Munn left the show. Granted, she was only in three episodes, but I love me some Olivia Munn, so to add her to one of my favorite shows made me a very, very happy man. But I was also a nervous wreck during those episodes, because I […]


My Greatest Fear #35: That the Laptop Is Still on After You Close It

My Greatest Fear #35: That the Laptop Is Still on After You Close It

The way laptops should work (and 99% of the time, this is how theydo work) is when you close them, they go to sleep, and when you shut them down and close them, they do indeed shut down. But every once in a while, that’s not what happens. Instead, the screen stays on and overheats the whole machine. […]


My Greatest Fear #34: Getting Stuck with a Full Bladder

My Greatest Fear #34: Getting Stuck with a Full Bladder

A few years ago, I was on a flight back to St. Louis. I kind of had to go to the bathroom just before we started our descent, but I was in a good plane-coma state, so I decided to wait until we arrived to use the more spacious airport bathrooms. Big mistake. We ended […]


My Greatest Fear #33: That I Can Smell Toxic Odorless Gases and I’M SMELLING ONE RIGHT NOW

My Greatest Fear #33: That I Can Smell Toxic Odorless Gases and I’M SMELLING ONE RIGHT NOW

Sorry about the all-caps in the title there, folks. I can’t bold or italicize in the entry title. I have what scientists call a “fairly keen sense of smell.” I wonder if people who get migraines have heightened senses, because when I used to get migraines, the slightest foul odor from 50+ feet away would […]