Yesterday a news report on the radio terrified me so much that I nearly crashed my car into Wendy’s as I drove by. It was some chilling stuff, and it literally made me forget about every other bad thing that could possibly happen in my life. I was so petrified that I don’t remember the report verbatim, but the reporter was interviewing an expert, and it went something like this:

Reporter: “Doctor, what can you tell us about this threat to our safety?”

Expert: “We’re talking about a neurological condition here. It’s caused by an amoeba swimming up your nose and into your brain.”

“Holy Mother of God!” I think.

Reporter: “That sounds awful. Can this amoeba attack you while you’re just standing around in your house, or does it live somewhere in particular?”

Expert: “No, it generally lives in warm, freshwater lakes and rivers.”

I think, “Okay, I don’t go to the lake that much.”

Expert: “But it’s been known to live in home water systems.”

“I’m never taking another shower! Or drinking water!”

Reporter: “That means that none of us is safe! What does this amoeba do once it attacks you, doctor?”

Expert: “The symptoms to watch out for are fever, headache, and stiffness in the neck.”

I start to breathe again.

Expert: “And then it eats your brain.”

Reporter: “What? It eats your brain?”

Expert: Yes, it takes about two weeks and then your brain is eaten and you die.”

Reporter: “Isn’t there any cure?”

Expert: “Unfortunately, no. Only one infected person in history is known to have survived, and we have no idea why. If the amoeba attacks you, you’re pretty much a goner.”

I think, “This is like a horror movie! Who gives a shit about zombies when we’ve got real amoebas eating our damned brains? Why the hell are we spending money researching cancer and AIDS when these amoebas are stalking us?”

Reporter: “What can we do to protect our children from certain death?”

Expert: “Fortunately, humans are not this amoeba’s preferred prey. They would rather eat some nice, tasty bacteria. So, amoeba attacks on humans are not all that common.”

Reporter: “How many people have been attacked this year?”

Expert: “Well, only three.”

Reporter: “In the city?”

Expert: “No, in the entire country. But they all died.”

Reporter: “Are there precautions we can take to prevent these amoebas from devastating our families?”

Expert: “I’m happy to say that very simple precautions can protect you from the amoebas. The best one is to just hold your nose.”

At this point, in my mind I took over the interview.

Me: “Did you say, ‘Just hold your nose?’”

Expert: “Yes, although I suppose you could get someone else to hold it for you.”

Me: “Isn’t three people a year nation-wide a low success rate for the amoebas? It seems pathetic. Shouldn’t they get into another line of work?”

Expert: “Well, they’re doing their best. I did say that humans are just a sideline for them. I’m sure they do better with bacteria.”

Me: “Doctor, why are you wasting our time with a so-called threat that kills three people a year?”

Expert: “It’s not a waste of time. The amoebas live in warm water. It’s summer, so the water is warm. People should be alerted to the dangers.”

Me: “Isn’t it true that thousands of people die every year for reasons we’re unable to determine at all?”

Expert “Yes, that’s true, but—”

Me: “For all we know, those people could be getting killed by ghosts. Why aren’t you stumping the radio news circuit warning people about the ghost catastrophe?”

Expert: “You don’t have to be that way about it.”

Me: “You’re right. I can’t possibly employ enough sarcasm to make you look more idiotic than you already look.”

Expert: “I don’t have to take this shit. I have an MD and a Ph.D.!”

As the expert slams down his phone in my imagination, I pull into my driveway. All of my normal fears once again cluster around me like drinking buddies. I have standards. I demand high-quality fears, and any piss ant fear like terror of amoebas can just find somebody else to drink with.

Cower in fear, humans. And bacteria.