Remember when we were afraid of acid rain? I think R.E.M. wrote a song about it. It all seems kind of cute now, looking back on it. It all seems so naïve and innocent in a way, to be afraid of rain.

Now we have big, grown-up fears.

Global warming is very scary. I mean, the whole frickin’ planet is melting or something and there’s nothing we can do about it except wave goodbye to polar bears as they float away on what’s left of an iceberg. Remember when we were supposed to be afraid of icebergs? OK, we’re all a little too young for that but we’ve seen Titanic, right? We know what those suckers were capable of.

China is scary. It’s just so big. And all those people buying up America and putting chemicals in baby food. Now we have to be afraid of baby food and lead in toys and six year olds competing in the Olympics. It just never ends.

Cows are scary. They carry all kinds of diseases that can turn your brain to mush and they eat all that grain and people starve and then they have a lot of gas which burns a hole in the ozone layer or something.

Terrorists are scary and apparently they can be anywhere at anytime. Can’t say I’d know one if I saw one in the street but I’m afraid of them. Iran is scary. I know very little about Iran but what I know isn’t good, so I feel my heart beat a little faster whenever I hear about Iran.

Pakistan is scary, too. Not sure why but it has something to do with caves and terrorists, and you know what I think about terrorists.

The economy is way scary. What are we going to do when there’s no stock market left? I mean, we need a stock market, right? My fingers are actually sweating right now and I can barely type just thinking of what will happen when we no longer have a stock market. Or money.

We know this is going to happen, why do you think there were so many stampedes on Black Friday? People are stocking up on televisions and Elmos and DVD players because we all know in a few weeks money will be worthless.

Black Friday is scary too; people died. Enough said.

Living in America scares me. I mean, I’ve seen shit flush down a toilet slower than the decline of this country.

Whatever happened to bomb shelters? Anyone else think it’s a good idea to bring those things back? I think it’s a good idea.

Anyone here know how to grow food underground?

Weather is scary. Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires. What the hell, man? We can send people to the moon but we can’t stop a hurricane? It’s all a conspiracy.

Spies are everywhere. Don’t think they aren’t. They could be reading this as I type. I may as well unplug everything and build a shack in woods. Worked for Thoreau. Well, not really, he ended up in jail.

Christmas is coming and that’s scary, too. You can’t say Merry Christmas without offending someone. You can’t say Happy Holidays without offending someone else. You can’t eat roast beef for Christmas dinner because of the cow thing and you can’t have a tree because of the global warming thing. You can’t string lights outside because they are bad for the environment and egg nog will clog up your arteries so fast it’ll make your head spin. It’s one huge PC landmine field and I’m in a panic just thinking about how I’m going to survive the next several weeks unscathed.

Even light bulbs are scary. Who knew? Carbon footprints frighten me. They are like that plaster cast of Sasquatch’s foot you see on television only bigger and blacker and looming over me so that I start to hyperventilate every time I turn on a light or run my lawnmower. I mean, I have to cut my grass, people! What am I supposed to do, get a cow to graze in my yard? I don’t think so.

There seems to be no way out of this mess. Our collective hand basket is full and careening towards hell at top speed and there’s no one left to talk us down off the ledge. Whoa. Mixed metaphors frighten me, too.

And if you think things are bad now, just you wait until 2012 or when the aliens land, or both. Then all this stuff will look like play-time; you can bet on it. If you have money, that is.

Someone once said we have nothing to fear but fear itself. I think that’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

We have nothing left but fear. Right?

Tree Smith lives in Ohio and is a poet searching for her activist voice. She's nearly always pissed off about the state of the world but is really nice once you get to know her. She can be reached at: Tree201@aol.com. Read other articles by Tree, or visit Tree's website.

14 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Don Hawkins said on December 6th, 2008 at 10:09am #

    Tree that was good very very good, thanks. Let me think about this whole fear thing.

  2. eileen fleming said on December 6th, 2008 at 10:43am #

    LOL at your words as sharp as two edged swords and i know what you mean about being pissed off at the state of the world.

    but good news-only pissed off people make a difference.

    Here is my take on FEAR-which is just one way totalitarian regimes control the people.

    “We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world – no longer a Government of free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men.” – Woodrow Wilson

    A few days after THAT DAY,when President Bush went on TV and told we the people to “GO SHOP!” If we wanted to HELP and that “They hated us because we were free!”

    I did NOT react with FEAR, but curiosity.

    I wondered if ‘They’ hated us so much to target and murder innocent people had something to do with Americans mindless over consumption of the world’s resources and apathy towards the poor and oppressed.

    Up until THAT DAY we call 9/11, I was your typical self-satisfied, self-centered, uninformed, misinformed comfortable American.

    THAT DAY, changed everything, even though I did not know any of the innocent who were terrorized, vaporized, agonized nor their families or friends, i had a visceral connection and a dream the third week of June 2001, that made some sense on THAT DAY we call 9/11.

    THAT DAY also inspired me to begin to research so as to learn WHY did some people in the world hate us so much that they could target and murder innocent people?

    I learned PLENTY!

    And being a Christian Anarchist of The Beatitudes; meaning I follow what the Master taught-not any institution

    And what is non-negotiable if you claim you be a Christian is that you wake up and comprehend that to be forgiven; you must forgive.

    That to follow him meant you must pray and bless and love your enemies-not bomb, torture or occupy any.

    And that it is the Peacemakers who are the daughters and sons of God.

    And so, I was also led to the Interfaith non-profit Olive Trees Foundation for Peace, founded by a 1948 refugee from the Galilee, Dr. Khaled Diab and to journey six times to Israel Palestine and all roads lead to Jerusalem.

    What follows, is CHAPTER 10: THAT DAY excerpted from KEEP HOPE ALIVE if you are interested:


  3. bozh said on December 6th, 2008 at 11:54am #

    on this farm one does not raise lambs- only pigs. when these pigs graduate, they r rapacious glutons, obedient to the ruling class for a life time. thnx

  4. Maxwell Black said on December 6th, 2008 at 12:12pm #

    Oh Tree, that was such a cool piece! I think you’ve already found your “activist voice.” I loved the toying with contradictions and you made me laugh and squirm in my seat simultaneously. For example:

    “Spies are everywhere. Don’t think they aren’t. They could be reading this as I type. I may as well unplug everything and build a shack in woods. Worked for Thoreau. Well, not really, he ended up in jail.”

    Tee-hee. Shudder.

  5. Tree said on December 6th, 2008 at 12:30pm #

    Thanks, everyone. I’m glad you like the piece.

  6. John Hatch said on December 6th, 2008 at 1:48pm #

    Ok, I’m escared too. But I think Big Dick did 9/11 and there’s still time to do another one and tell Barack to do a flying ****. Tree, if you do get a cow for your lawn, don’t light its methane farts for fun. Spies WILL be watching. Maybe even me. I’m serious, but escared.

  7. Tree said on December 6th, 2008 at 2:30pm #

    John, duly noted.

  8. Ramsefall said on December 6th, 2008 at 2:39pm #


    innocent approach and curious tone, especially enjoyable is “I’ve seen shit flush down a toilet slower than the decline of this country”, a brilliantly vivid metaphoric analogy. Creative indeed are you.


    Best to you.

  9. DavidG. said on December 7th, 2008 at 2:03am #

    Tree, why call yourself ‘Tree”? Trees are so nice. They are so peaceable, so inoffensive, so beautiful.

    How about Piranha? That seems a more apt pseudonym for an activist, especially one who tells it as it is.

    Nice post, Tree! I wonder if the sheeple will read it, take heed? Probably not. They’re busy drinking beer and watching television.

    I think we’ve passed the point of no return anyway.


  10. Tree said on December 7th, 2008 at 9:21am #

    Thanks again for the comments.

  11. Don Hawkins said on December 7th, 2008 at 10:51am #

    New US military report on global warming raises worry
    Calls theories on the cause ‘contradictory’
    By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | December 6, 2008

    WASHINGTON – A new US military report has come under scrutiny for asserting that the scientific data on what is causing global warming is “contradictory” – a position one leading specialist said indicates the government still hasn’t fully embraced the urgency of climate change.
    The long-range planning document, published Thursday by the US Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for developing blueprints for future military strategy, is intended to provide a “basis for thinking about the world a quarter of a century from now.”
    But a section of the 56-page report on climate change and natural disasters prompted criticism yesterday from some leading specialists who said that spreading the inaccurate perception that the causes of climate change remain an open question could result in government agencies not taking the issue seriously enough.
    The report, titled Joint Operating Environment 2008, states that “the impact of global warming and its potential to cause natural disasters and other harmful phenomena such as rising sea levels has become a prominent – and controversial – national and international concern. Some argue that there will be more and greater storms and natural disasters, others that there will be fewer.”
    It adds: “In many respects, scientific conclusions about the causes and potential effects of global warming are contradictory.”
    That last line in particular was singled out at a panel discussion hosted yesterday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, on the topic of climate change and national security.
    Sharon Burke, a former Pentagon and State Department official who is now a specialist at the Center for a New American Security, said the report was factually “wrong” and “out of line,” saying that there is a wide consensus that human activity, namely the production of greenhouse gases, is responsible for global warming.
    Other specialists had similar reactions when they read the report.
    “It’s very wrong,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose work was cited in the military report. “The jury is not out” on what is causing global warming, he added. “I don’t know where that statement came from, but it’s pretty bizarre.”
    Emanuel also took issue with the report’s assertions about future storm intensity.
    “Everyone pretty much agrees that the intensity of events could go up with global warming, although we argue how much,” he said in an interview.
    The Joint Forces Command maintains that it is fully cognizant of the threat posed by climate change, saying the purpose of the report was not to debate what is or isn’t causing global warming.
    “We are in complete agreement that climate change will be a national security driver in the future,” said Rear Admiral John M. Richardson, director of strategy for the command. “We are focused on the implications of climate change. We see what is happening. What is causing it is not in our purview. The commanders have to deal with the effects.”
    He added in an interview yesterday: “Don’t take away that we think it is any less important.”
    At yesterday’s conference, specialists agreed that the cascading effects of global warming – including drought, flooding, population flows, and disease epidemics – present the United States and other countries with enormous security threats in the years ahead – warnings that have been echoed by recent Pentagon reports and intelligence assessments.
    Ronald Sugar, the CEO of Northrop Grumman, one of the nation’s leading defense companies, spoke of the need for private industry and the government to begin the difficult task of bridging the enormous knowledge base about what is happening to the earth’s climate to development of technical solutions that can help repair it.

    “We have to build something that does not exist,” Sugar said.

    But Burke said in a follow-up interview that it remains worrisome that some in the military command responsible for helping prepare for future dangers still appear to question the science of why global warming is occurring. She believes there are many in the government who still don’t fully embrace it. That makes it far more difficult for the leadership necessary to move the country to make the enormous changes necessary, she said.

    We have to build something that does not exist, We have to build something that does not exist. The last time I checked Human’s used to do just that as the norm so what happened? What’s up with this doing nothing Part.

  12. Don Hawkins said on December 7th, 2008 at 12:02pm #

    You are in your kitchen watching TV a commercial is on from our friends at Exxon telling us they are doing things in tune with nature as carbon combines with oxygen you know that horseshit. When you look over and the pork chops you were just cooking have just caught on fire. Right in front of you is a fire extinguisher that if used would put out the fire. A little clean-up after words but you still have a house. Kind of like the commercial you were just watching the fire at first seems not real. Then fear comes into play and instead of taking the extinguisher that you never thought you would need and putting out the fire you run from it and out your front door to the neighbor and call the fire department that only takes about ten minutes to get there and the fire is now in the roof. The next morning with no more home people are telling you you are Ok and that’s the important part. I still think using the extinguisher it was right there if you could have is the important part.

  13. DavidG. said on December 7th, 2008 at 11:51pm #

    I’ve changed my mind. ‘ Tree’ is apt.

    Activists can be nice people. It’s just that those who pull the strings aren’t!


  14. MooseCracker said on December 9th, 2008 at 5:33pm #

    I was gonna say we all just need to kiss and make up but apparently we’re supposed to be scared of kissing too now, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7772902.stm