In different parts of the world, they refer to it as different things. Out on the West Coast, it’s Mr. Scary (as in, “Oh, boy. Mister Scary is coming to visit today”). You’ll hear “The Sunday Scaries” a lot – that’s perhaps the most common name and simultaneously the most boring, although it has the added benefit of usually garnering an understanding head nod. I feel like I could mention “The Sunday Scaries” to a bushman in Africa and he’d get it.
“Ah, yes,” he would click, with an understanding smile. “Like when you wake up and realize a hyena made off with your baby while you were passed out drunk?”
The name I’ve always stayed true to is one a friend of mine coined years back – The Fear. Don’t know what it is? Yes, you do. You just didn’t know it had a name. Allow me to paint a picture; The Fear is best explained through shared experiences rather than definition.
Your eyes open, slowly, to the sound of a 90’s movie playing on the TV. Nothing seems to be coming into focus no matter how much you blink – at that moment, you realize your contacts are in for the 3rd straight day and have officially melted into your eyeballs. You are now the first human cyborg, but instead of being able to run at high speed or lift heavy objects, you’re just sort of blind.
The next thing you realize is a thin layer of shit-tasting film covering the entire inside of your mouth, which is as dry as Ghandi’s flip flops. You are consumed by a primal urge to brush your teeth – for the first few moments, nothing else in life matters.
As you sit up, a few crumbs trickle onto the floor. You brush the remaining crumbs from your chest, wondering what they’re from; when your feet come to rest on a pizza box instead of the normal wooden floor of your apartment, you have your answer. Despite being completely disgusted by yourself and your surroundings, you are still a tiny bit drunk and curiously peek into the pizza box, noting that there’s still a good 3/4th’s of a meat lover’s slice in there. You pick a tiny piece of sausage off of it and eat it, making a mental note to revisit this discovery after you get your bearings.
Kicking the box away, you fumble around for the remote to turn off that god damn TV. In doing so, you realize you have absolutely no idea what time it is. Searching your pockets – jeans that you are still wearing – reveals that you do have your wallet (whew), but your phone is gone (fuck). “I’m sure it’s just on the counter or something,” you tell yourself. This is the first of many lies you will tell today, to yourself and your loved ones.
Putting one foot ahead of the other, you stand and make your way to the bathroom. One foot has a sock, the other does not – and you don’t know it yet, but that missing sock will never be found again and end up as one of the great unsolved mysteries of your life. You will look out the window of the nursing home in 50 years wondering where the hell that sock went. Anyway, in the bathroom you find toothpaste, water, a contact lense case – the bathroom is your friend. That is, until you accidentally catch a quick glance of yourself in the mirror.
Bloodshot eyes complete with deluxe eye boogers (you might normally call them “sleepies” or “sleepydust” or something cute like that, but trust me – on this morning, the only word that applies is boogers). Some sort of cheese/sauce combo stain on the front of your shirt. Crusty corners of the mouth. Hair all fucked up. Nostrils operating at 14%.
You know the phrase “a face only a mother could love”? This is the moment that you realize if your parents saw you right now, they would cry.
Quickly angling the mirror in such a way as to allow you to brush your teeth without being forced to acknowledge your current state of being, you start to think.
“What the fuck happened last night?”
That’s The Fear. I guess if it had a medical term it would be “anxiety,” but it’s oh-so-much more than that. Causes of The Fearinclude but are DEFINITELY not limited to:
– Drinking and/or drug use. This is the foundation upon which you build your Fear.
– Looking at your texts from last night. Yeah, like that one to a girl you hooked up with sophomore year and haven’t spoken to in 4 years. She was in town this weekend, and your drunk ass thought you could chirp at her – no response. To either text. Plus, now she knows you creep on her Facebook and keep tabs on her whereabouts. Good job, Rico Suave.
– Late-night eating. Oh, that’s cool, you went to soul cycle twice this week? You also consumed 4,000 calories in 25 horrifying minutes last night – and this was after you vomited, so yes, it counts.
– Spending money like you’re the man (you’re not). That whole “buying shots for the whole group” thing was great – really, for 30 seconds you were definitely the life of the party – but those girls left the bar five minutes later and now you can’t pay the cable bill. “Hey Dad! Yes, I’m doing great! Random question – What’s our HBOGo password again?”
– Unfortunate hookups. Ah, that’s a classic one, isn’t it? Even your aunt had a couple Walks of Shame back in the day. When he/she/it rolls over and gives you a nice big “good morning!” smooch and you start wondering if they’d be cool taking the fire escape out? Fear City, Population: You.
– Losing items (phone, wallet, debit card, etc). A lost or broken phone is classic Fear (double points if you’re not due for an upgrade for 6 months or longer); a lost debit or credit card has the added bonus of forcing you to walk into the bar to retrieve it on Monday during lunch.
– Putting off responsibilities. You were going to hit the office and do some extra work on Saturday to catch up, and then your buddies asked if you wanted to go meet up with some chicks at Frying Pan; a gentle nudge is all it takes, huh?
The Fear has no known cure, although it is treatable and quite common, and symptoms usually only last a day or two (I’ll let you insert your own herpes joke here). As it is Sunday and I know many of you are working through your own Fear, I’ve compiled a list of remedies and treatments – both FDA-approved and some of the more holistic/Eastern variety – for you to combat your Fear.
Smaller, lighter treatments:
– Putting on mesh shorts and a comfortable t-shirt. It’s the simplest thing – physical comfort will alleviate some of your mental discomfort. This will buy you 3-5 minutes to plan your next move.
– Cleaning yourself up. Brush your teeth, shower, and see how much better you look. It won’t save your soul, but now you can stop avoiding mirrors.
– Cleaning your apartment/abode. Wait, save that half-slice from the pizza box – tin foil, fridge it. Later on when you’re still hungry after ordering food, that’s a nice little reheated snack.
– Doing laundry. It’s a relatively simple and mindless task, which makes it easy to complete on a day when your brainpower is equivalent to a Rhesus monkey, but it still feels pretty adult-ish. When wracked with Fear, it’s akin to doing your taxes and making a 5-year plan.
Bigger, more impactful treatments:
– The company of friends. Living rooms are the place to be on Sundays; as you laugh and commiserate, focus on funny or positive stories (“I dunno man, I think Emily was feeling you!”) or if none of those are available, on the mistakes of people not present (“I can’t believe John hooked up with Rachel. She is gross, bro”).
– Speaking of, one of the most effective treatments is finding and emphasizing people who have it worse than you do today, whether this is in your own head or with a partner. “Duuuuude! Bill just texted me – he got a $500 fine for public urination last night! That SUCKS!”
– The warm embrace of a woman. Spoken from a man’s perspective, the bosom of a female is absolutely the best year-round treatment for The Fear. It’s not even sexual; it’s more maternal than anything. Everybody wants a girlfriend on Sunday – everybody.
– Making mature plans. Take a pen and paper, or your Google Calendar, and make grown-up plans for the next couple of weeks. Maybe outline a new diet, or set up a schedule for depositing some money each paycheck into your savings account (which you plan on definitely opening first thing tomorrow morning, of course). Hell, if you really want to get nuts, make a 6-month plan: by March, you’re going to be financially stable and the proud owner of new 6-pack abs. Now lean back and confidently smile at the thought of The New You: Coming Soon. Whether or not you follow through on this isn’t important; it’s just about tricking yourself TODAY. One time I even upped my contributions to my 401k while laying in bed, then reversed it the next day. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Experimental treatments (the jury is still out on these):
– Smoking weed. There’s a bit of a debate on this one in the Fear Community. Personally, I was always of the opinion that it’s a short-term mortgaging of your Fear in turn for more intense fear once it wears off in an hour. Some people swear by it. Ask your doctor if smoking weed on Sunday is right for you.
– Ordering a nice Sunday feast. It sounds great in theory – you and your roommates huddle into the living room, throw on a movie, and pull up Seamless. “Let’s get some wings, baby!” I will say that during football season (by the way – NFL football is the closest thing we have to a cure, but it’s only available for 4 months of the year as of this writing) it’s a good move, but otherwise, it’s a slippery slope. After the food is all gone, all you’re left with is more guilt and your own tortured thoughts. That being said, some days nothing besides a greasy bacon cheeseburger will do – I understand.
– Sunday Funday. Perhaps the riskiest of all Fear-reducing tricks, Sunday Funday is often referred to as “doubling down on yourFear”. It’s not a treatment at all, really – what you’re doing is delaying the inevitable. Go out there and keep the party going, boozy brunch right into an afternoon day drink session; within an hour you’ll feel great and wonder what you were so worried about in the first place. Just be warned: Monday morning you’re going to seriously consider jumping in front of the 6 train.
There ya have it. One man’s take on The Fear. Delay it, embrace it, avoid it, treat it – whatever you do, just remember:
The only thing we have to fear is The Fear itself.
– By Jack Gashi