Simple story. I was talking to a guy I see a lot at one of my favorite Oakland grocery stores. We were speaking about how scary some of the bizarre changes in the weather have been. “The really bad [changes in the weather] are pretty freaky,” he explained, “but they’re pretty far down the road.” He went on: “The stuff that really scares me are the things that are a threat right now.” I asked him what some of those things were, and he gave me a list. I asked him if I could record him speaking, and I told him I’d be doing a drawing of him and writing this short anecdote. Mad props to him for giving me permission. Here’s what he said about the six things that scare him the most.
- Guns really scare me. I’ve never owned one, never touched one. I don’t like ’em.
- The cops scare me worse than guns, ‘cuz some of then just don’t like Black folks. I’m just speaking the truth. Some of them don’t like people like us, and their guns are legal.
- I’ll be honest. I’m scared of dying. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I’m scared of the unknown.
- I’m scared of women. I mean, not all women, not like you. I mean I’m not really scared of women at all, really. Seriously. What I mean is that I’m scared of a woman breaking my heart. I scared of heartbreak. I am admitting to you right now that I am scared of having my heart broken.
- When I was a kid, I saw a photo of a man who’d been struck by lightning. Scared the something out of me. I’ve hated lightning ever since. In the summers I’d go see my grandparents in Arkansas where they had real thunderstorms. I couldn’t even stand it. I’d climb under the bed.
- I guess this ties in with hating guns, but I am definitely scare of getting shot. Some of these young men walk around talking about having a target on their back like it’s something to be proud of. I can’t understand it myself. We were never like that. They have so much to live fore. I’m scared of getting shot. In some ways, all Black men have a target on their backs, but I’m working to stay away from violence. I’m a man of peace.
- And I’m also scared of spiders.