Number one. Games. Remember that game “Sorry”? That really passive aggressive game where you're just like, “Sorry!” and you knock somebody back to the beginning of the game and they lose all of their fortunes like the Book of Job. My dad, I remember we were playing Trivial Pursuit, and it was a Great Lakes question. He said there were seven Great Lakes instead of five. He was wrong and he was so upset. And this was in the days where you could only fact check with an old school encyclopedia. So he left the dinner table to go find the encyclopedia and just never returned and it was like... okay.
Number two. Greed.
Number three. The sweetly off-key singing of children.
Number four. Being tortured.
Number five. I had a really severe eating disorder when I was a young adolescent and a teenager, and I hate as an adult even using that term because I think when people hear it they often think of it as a diet gone wrong or something that's somehow superficial. I don't know. And it was true hell. I mean, it's really sort of feeling the runaway train of an addiction. That's how I felt anyway during those years, that I was living in this runaway train and I was very underweight. I was very overweight at different points when I was in high school, and it felt very unsafe. I remember naively going to the doctor and saying, “Hey, is there some medicine you could give me, or a pill, so I could just think my thoughts again?”
Number six. Passing addiction on to my children.
Number seven. I'm terrified of talking on the telephone. When I was a teenager my friends got together. They were so frustrated that I just never answered the phone or called them back, and they bought me a pager. It's just numbers. Goodnight was numbers. 1-4-3 I remember was I love you. You know? Fuck you, fuck me. 1-2-3 is I miss you. And then you would sign off with your code.
Number eight. Hurting someone with my car. I remember just going into a little playpen of cars and I hit all the cones and a man was like, “All right. You're a licensed driver in the state of Florida.”
Number nine. I'm a writer so I'm also afraid of disappointing readers, right? I remember one time I thought this was so hilarious reading an Amazon review that said, “I wanted to read a masterpiece but this is just a book.”
Number ten. A world without animals. Just like a gray world, a cemetery a world where, you know, where we're thinking and moving alone.
My name is Karen Russell and these are 10 things that scare me.