June 16, 2005

Rant, Part II

Different people find different things frightening. Just as one person might yelp at the sight of a spider but the next pick it up and make it a pet, everyone has their own reactions to different stimuli. People whose fears tend to be irrational or debilitating enough to seek professional help in overcoming them are often treated by the process of desensitization. Over time, repeated exposure to the source of the fear can result in "normal" reactions to flying, dogs, snakes, whatever.

Fear is a learned response. Just as a two year old is not afraid to run out into a busy street, or grab a hot pot on the stove, humans need to learn, either from personal experience or education, what actions and situations pose an actual danger to them. Some people come to enjoy the rush of adrenaline that fear produces. Others become so overcome by their fear that they go to great lengths to avoid the frightening object or situation.

By-and-large, a pre-schooler does not differentiate between reality and make-believe. When I see a scene in Amityville Horror where the babysitter is trapped in a closet with a very pale, scary-looking little girl who grabs the baby-sitter's hand and forces her finger into the gaping hole in the little girl's forehead, I know that there won't be any dead children in my closet when I get home from the movie. How does a three-year old know that? Maybe that scene won't bother the child. Maybe instead she will think that if those children's daddy can try to kill their mommy with an ax, hers might too. Maybe she'll develop a fear of doors and windows locking themselves so she can't get out. Or maybe all of those will haunt that child for a long time to come, developing into phobias about closets, bearded men and locked windows that could affect her long into adulthood.

For parents to take a small child to an "R" rated horror film without any thought to the effect such a film might have on their child's emotional well-being is selfish, irresponsible, and bad parenting. But what really pisses me off is that I can't tell these morons what I think of them--for fear I will lose my job.

Posted by Susie at June 16, 2005 11:37 AM | TrackBack

I have to say that the last line of your post makes me sad.

Welcome to America.

We understand that you have an opinion, but if you express it we must eliminate you from the workplace.

Fear of starvation and bill collectors will keep you in your place!

Now, back to work.

I just don't think that is the direction our founding fathers had in mind.

Posted by: Sarah the penguin at June 16, 2005 04:55 PM

I know, Sarah. But then I think, what would it be like if the counter girl called me a cow-murderer for ordering a Big Mac, or a salesperson made rude comments on how I looked in a pair of capris? I know for a fact that if the cashier who sold me my cigarettes tried to lecture me on the evils of smoking that I'd never shop at that store again. So I've made my "retail hell" bed, and now I have to lie in it.

Posted by: Susie at June 16, 2005 06:24 PM

You say "lose my job" like it's a BAD thing ;-)

Posted by: Harvey at June 18, 2005 10:44 AM

It's not really the problem of the customer.

It's the problem of the employee.

If it bothers you so much, then you don't belong in the industry.

Vegans don't work at McDonalds because it helps a cause they are against.

I'm not sure what capris are, but I'm sure I could make a point about them as well if I did.

This is how it goes...

Me: I'd like a pack of cigarettes.

Clerk: Cigarettes are evil.

Me: You are providing me with evil cigarettes for your own financial gain. How do YOU live with yourself?

Clerk: ...uh...

Me: That's what I thought. Now, bring me a pound of heroin and a donut with sprinkles.

(It's not a good idea for me to stay up late and make comments)

Posted by: Sarah the penguin at June 18, 2005 11:49 PM