Nightmare on Main Street

by Sally Applin

Halloween has come and gone, but the really scary stuff is just getting started. For the record,  I’m not talking about friendships here, I’m talking about strangers. 

Lately, I’ve noticed a trend of people needing to tell each other scary stories. Its sort of like the whole nation is being traumatized and the way that they are dealing with it is to “share the scare” with others. In this way, they are holding the “scare hot potato” for a moment, until they pass it along to the next unsuspecting soul.

No one seems to ask how we’re doing, without getting some terrible traumatic story in reply. I haven’t met anyone lately who replies with a “great, thanks for asking” or “couldn’t be better!” or even a “fine thank you.”  Its as if the polite query of “how are you?” has somehow become the magic key to open the floodgates of whatever trauma, drama or problem is plaguing the person given the polite query.

As a culture, are we past the point of “fine, thanks, and you?”  

If we are seeing others rewarded for airing their disasters online, in the press or on TV, have we become collectively conditioned to do the same with hope of the same reward?

Since when did it become the norm to tell strangers your deepest fears?

Trend: Fine thanks is going away. For whatever reason, the collective conscious of the American public has no qualms about telling strangers how awful things are for them. If you are going to use “How are you?” with a stranger, brace yourself–the reply might be more frightening than you expected.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

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