To start the New Year out, I sat down with Fear to talk about his celebrity status in this exclusive, candid and sometimes surprising interview. A word of warning: Fear has a bit of a potty mouth.
Me: Before we get started I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your hectic schedule to talk with me. I know you’ve been busy on the Trump campaign.
Fear: My pleasure. I was actually a little surprised that you asked to meet with me like this. Most people aren’t willing to face me. They usually push me away or hurl obscenities at me. I get used a lot. Nobody understands me.
Me: Oh dear, are you . . .? Can I get you a tissue?
Fear: Don’t be ridiculous.
Me: Right. Well, I’ve been reading about how it’s best to, you know, confront you. Speaking of, what’s with keeping me awake at night?
Fear: Self-doubt and I are long-time collaborators in sleep deprivation. We work in tandem. Sometimes we bring in Loneliness. Some of our best work is done when people are trying to fall asleep. Fertile mind and all. It’s nothing personal.
Me: Okay. So, Fear, wow, you’ve seen a tremendous soar in popularity recently. You’re everywhere. To what do you attribute this surge in success?
Fear: Well, for starters, there’s a lot of scary stuff going on in the world right now, so people are particularly receptive to me. But I’ve never been in a better position, tactically speaking, thanks to mind-numbing TV and social media.
Me: Social media?
Fear: I’m no stranger to anyone, I’m sure you realize that by now. But I didn’t anticipate this collective phenomenon. You guys are spreading me around at unprecedented rates. I don’t have to do anything. And nobody checks facts anymore. It’s awesome. The number of likes and shares I’ve gotten on Facebook alone this year is astounding. Right behind the virtues of drinking hot lemon water. And those little Minion guys. What’s that all about?
Me: You know, from the movie, Despicable Me? Hey, come to think of it, you kinda remind me of . . . never mind. What other factors, in your estimation, have contributed to your overwhelming popularity?
Fear: The press has been particularly helpful to my cause. Just take a look at the headlines. Death, gun violence, refugees, natural disasters, terrorism, climate change, financial crises. It’s my food, baby. It’s what I thrive on.
Me: But those are all real things happening in the world. Are you suggesting we should ignore them?
Fear: Hey, who am I to tell you what to focus on? All I’m saying is that the world is made up of balance, good and bad, yin and yang. Always has been, always will be. You don’t think Joy and Happiness and Compassion are out there doing their thing? You just don’t hear about them as much. They’re like Britney Spears and Brazilian bracelets. They’ll be back.
Me: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment in recent years?
Fear: Well, Greed and I did a bang up job on the War in Iraq, and I’ve done some impressive work with Big Pharma, but if I had to pick one, I’d say the anti-bacterial soap campaign. Do you realize how much money I made for the Dial Corporation? While people all over the world went hungry? What is it with you guys and germs?
Me: What about our fear of otherness?
Fear: Hey, I like how you think. But I can’t take credit for that one. Sure, I planted a few seeds. But you guys developed the fear of each other all by yourselves. I think you might want to talk to Ego on this one.
Me: Any enemies?
Fear: Gosh, there’ve been so many over the years. Gratitude’s a big pain in my ass. But right now I’d have to say Yoga and Elizabeth Gilbert.
Fear: Well, yeah, the whole yoga, spiritual meditation, being in the present, opening up the chakras stuff. All that mind-body connection makes it hard for me to get in there and take over. It’s bad for business.
Me: Okay, I get that. How does Liz Gilbert fit in?
Fear: She’s been all over my ass for years. But now she’s gotten personal in her new book, “Big Magic: Living Creatively Beyond Fear.” She claims I single-handedly keep people from realizing their dreams and ambitions. She even wrote a letter to me in it. It’s actually pretty powerful. Damn it, I swore I wouldn’t go there.
Me: Thanks for the tip. I can’t wait to read it. One last question if I may. Something I’ve been wondering for a long time. What’s your relationship with Risk?
Fear: “I am your fah ther.”
Me: Wow, I’ll have to think about that one. Can you stop with the Darth breathing though? You’re freaking me out.