Tete-a-tete ArchivesAn eclectic sampling of my award-winning humor columns. New columns can be read online at www.nashuatelegraph.com on the first Thursday of the month, with columns posted here later in the month.
More in "Tete-a-tete"
- Tete-a-tete: Newsboys reunion concert elicits a nostalgia suckerpunch, yet reminds that awesomeness does not change
- Tete-a-tete: When it comes to cat toys, sometimes there are strings attached
- Tete-a-tete: Youngest Brother finds a hobby thanks to 'The Great British Baking Show'
- Tete-a-tete: Evolution of a football fan, or why I'm looking forward to Super Bowl LII
- Tete-a-tete: Younger Sister's penchant for staying on schedule never takes a holiday
- Tete-a-tete: Grandpa had a 'Wonderful Life'
- Tete-a-tete: Streamlined technology makes it easier to come home for the holidays - unlike when I was in college
- Tete-a-tete: Terrifying toys make childhood memorable
- Tete-a-tete: The pitfalls of dining out as a slow eater
- Tete-a-tete: Pop culture references lead to unexpected connections
- Tete-a-tete: "Handicapped accessible" doesn't really mean what people think it means
- Tete-a-tete: The ins and outs of the college moving experience
- Tete-a-tete: When dealing with cabin fever, this cat's on a roll
- Tete-a-tete: An artistic masterpiece 20 years in the making
- Tete-a-tete: Promp and circumstance: Modern-day prom prep
- Tete-a-tete: Blue Apron - a Pandora's box of weekly culinary adventures
- Tete-a-tete: Serve up a slice of family traditions, new or old
- Tete-a-tete: 'Family court' has a whole new meaning at our house
- Tete-a-tete: Drafted on the farm: Grandpa's war at home
- Tete-a-tete: With family, you have to give it the ol' college try
- Tete-a-tete: Walk a mile in my Boots: Viva la feline difference
- Tete-a-tete: Slacker movies offer unlikely heroes
- Tete-a-tete - Bag that theory: Purse contents aren't all that enlightening
- Tete-a-tete: Keeping up with the pace of modern-day elder care
- Tete-a-tete: Easter dinner reveals a shocking family secret
- Tete-a-tete: Time flies when you forget to change the clocks
- Tete-a-tete: Here in New Hampshire, we don't take voting 'for granite'
- Tete-a-tete: An Eagle takes flight in another family milestone
- Tete-a-tete: When choosing heirlooms, cross your Ts and dot your ... claims
- Tete-a-tete: Even the best-intentioned Christmas traditions can fail to take hold
- Tete-a-tete: How to enjoy a wedding, even if it's not your own
- Tete-a-tete: A tale of unintentional cat ownership
- Tete-a-tete: Admissions about the college admissions process
- Tete-a-tete: Avoiding car-tastrophe while purchasing a new vehicle
- Tete-a-tete: As American as apple pie: U.S. culture, through other eyes
- Tete-a-tete: The geek gene runs strong in our family
- Tete-a-tete: Grieving entertainment losses with a few simple steps
- Tete-a-tete: Parents, do not give your child the name equivalent of the April birthstone
- Tete-a-tete: Memento or clutter? Don't leave that decision to the historians
- Tete-a-tete: How Mom and Dad saved Christmas (and a hamster)
- Tete-a-tete: Having trouble keeping your New Year's resolutions? It could be "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" Syndrome
- Tete-a-tete: When Christmas starts before Thanksgiving (a reflection on temporal discombobulation)
- Tete-a-tete: Sizing up a new family pet, or the difference between a cat and a hamster
- Tete-a-tete: When your worst fear comes true
- Tete-a-tete: Family game night can leave you drawing a blank
- Tete-a-tete: When you have a really good reason to skip class
- Tete-a-tete: The downside to the world's most flattering bridesmaid dress
- Tete-a-tete: Say it with flowers - just don't say where you got them
- Tete-a-tete: Shockingly true tales of my Herculean, heroic great-grandpa
- Tete-a-tete: For goodness 'sakes - generational namesakes can confuse
- Tete-a-tete: Confused by the weather? Signs spring has almost sprung
- Tete-a-tete: Seeking the Holy Grail of a universal bridesmaid dress
- Tete-a-tete: Love poetry gone bad, or why I'm still not allowed to use matches
- Tete-a-tete: A traveler's guide to the Big Apple
- Tete-a-tete: Feats of strength aren't just for Festivus festivities
- Tete-a-tete: Change comes from within - sometimes, literally
- Tete-a-tete: Car games: from punch-buggy to punching cell phone buttons
- Tete-a-tete: I mustache you a question about costume practicality
- Tete-a-tete: Functional furniture is making my family dysfunctional
- Tete-a-tete: Jungle Speed board game can bring out the beast in you
- Tete-a-tete: To call it a ‘mooving’ ride would be inaccurate
- Tete-a-tete: When saying ‘sweetheart’ just won’t do
- Tete-a-tete: Eat your heart out, Festivus: Stymchastynchula is here
- Tete-a-tete: Hoping Korean music can explode in the U.S. with a K-pop
- Tete-a-tete: Holidays, especially with Grandma, are always colorful
- Tete-a-tete: Sometimes, it's the grilled cheese that makes the memories
- Tete-a-tete: Still recovering from Dad's forays into home education
Tete-a-tete: When your worst fear comes true
It has been said that 90 percent of the things we’re afraid of will never happen. This is comforting until you realize this means that 10 percent of the things we fear actually will happen.
And this 10 percent isn’t restricted to the more typical fears, such as being in a car accident. Nope, the completely irrational fears are fair game, too.
Take mine, for example. I have a very specific form of mottephobia, or fear of moths. This is due to coming across the movie “The Silence of the Lambs” on the shelf at our local video rental store when I was a child. To refresh your memory, the cover features a close-up of Jodie Foster’s face with a terrifying-looking moth where her mouth should be.
Ever since then, whenever I see a moth, I get a little panicky and I automatically close my mouth, rolling my lips inwards. My body seems to be under the impression that if the moth can’t see my mouth, it won’t try to land on it or fly into it.
Over the years, my family has tried to convince me that moths are far more interested in cozying up to the nearest light source than in attacking my face. But that’s why it’s called an irrational fear – it’s not supposed to make sense.
You can therefore understand my consternation when I walked into my bedroom a few days ago and discovered an enormous black moth that resembled Darth Vader’s helmet clinging to the wall above my bed.
I enlisted Mom’s assistance in exterminating the unwanted insect, but by the time we returned to my room, it was nowhere to be found. Mom assured me that it had likely flown out of my room and would turn up elsewhere in the house.
She was, shall we say, slightly incorrect.
The next night, after I had turned off my lights and was nearly asleep, I heard a sound like the flapping of wings. I quickly turned on my bedside light and scanned the ceiling. Nothing.
I turned off the light and tried to fall asleep, telling myself it was only my imagination. And then, I heard banging coming from the large Japanese lantern above my bed. I turned it on to see what could be causing this noise, only to discover I had angered the lurking Moth Vader.
It flew out of the lantern, banked in the middle of the room, and then flew directly at me. More specifically, it dive-bombed my mouth.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to scream with your mouth closed. It doesn’t really work.
I shot out of bed, and the moth came to rest on the wall above my bed, settling in just high enough that it would be hard to reach with the fly swatter that I keep behind the dresser for such emergencies.
This was one of the rare occasions I was glad that my eyesight is not the greatest. Without my glasses, I was spared the high-resolution version of this winged terror as I tremulously tried to mash it into the wall with my well-used – and somewhat mangled – fly swatter.
I succeeded in crushing it enough that it left a ghastly black smudge on my wall, but not enough to kill it. It crumpled to the floor and scuttled off under my bed to lick its wounds. Like their less threatening cousin the butterfly, some moths do have tongues.
I quickly came to the dreadful realization that the moth had retreated so far under my bed that I couldn’t have another whack at it unless I crawled under the bed with it. This would give Mothra another chance to barnstorm my face, with the added bonus of triggering my mild claustrophobia.
There was absolutely no way I was getting back into bed until this issue was resolved, so I did what any self-respecting adult would do: I walked up the stairs from my apartment to see if my mommy and daddy were still awake.
I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see Mom washing dishes. With grateful tears in my eyes and the occasional horrified shudder, I brought her up to speed on my eventful evening. She listened sympathetically and kindly agreed to never refer to my peculiar mottephobia as an irrational fear again.
Armed with the heavy-duty fly swatter from the kitchen, Mom crawled under the bed and vanquished Mothra on my behalf. It took two napkins to dispose of its remains.
After thanking Mom profusely, I snuggled back into bed and stared at the ceiling in wide-eyed terror until the sun came up and I finally drifted off to sleep.
There’s something about surviving one of your worst fears that makes you a little braver. I’m still terrified of moths, but I feel more confident that I can handle the worst case scenario if, God forbid, it needs to happen again in order to fulfill my 10 percent quota. Granted, my response may still involve requesting parental backup, but I will do so in a stronger, less quivery voice.
There is definitely something to be said for confronting your fears head-on. Just keep your mouth closed.
– Teresa Santoski
Originally published Oct. 2, 2014.