‘The Scared Witless Club’ | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

‘The Scared Witless Club’ | Mark’s Remarks

By on August 1, 2018 at 10:00 am

In my most evil moments, when I am ready to criticize and judge everyone on the face of the Earth, I talk about some people who are members of the “Scared Witless Club.” A crass, less apologetic person may call the club something that rhymes with witless. But I digress.

You know the folks I’m talking about: The ones who are keyed up and run around with their eyes wide and their hands shaking. They seem to be nervous about everything in life.  They seem to be afraid of most things. They are hard to understand.

Older folks who are members of this club have been members most of their lives.  They are unable to enjoy much in life, always thinking something needs to be accomplished.  When they sit in a nice hotel on vacation, they worry about wasting time or about being on time to all of their leisure activities. They worry about losing their money or getting sick or something. The scared witless club members are unable to relax because there is always something to worry about.

Younger folks, middle-aged if you will, can also be members. They worry that their children won’t be able to take care of themselves. These same people have hovered over their children and tried to tell them what to do (and still will when they are older). They worry constantly about their children’s choices and are often in bondage to perfectionism. When their children try to have fun, they are warned not to play too hard or to wash their hands or to not get dirty. These people usually end up making their children nervous wrecks and they themselves become club members by default.

Then you come to the next age group. The younger adult club members are the ones who never leave their children in the care of anyone else and rarely put their children down at all.  They boil pacifiers and put all plastic toys in the dishwasher every night to kill germs. They get up in the middle of the night and watch their children breathe and feel much safer if their children just get in bed with them, regardless if this makes things tough on the spousal relationship. Members of the club who are parents of young children often sacrifice everything and lose their identities. And then they become older members of the club and their children have moved on when they find themselves alone and depressed.

Teenage and college-aged kids have a hard time letting their hair down when they are members of this club. They are uptight about most things.  These are the types of kids who can’t attend any type of social function without knowing there will be a friend there to latch on to. These types of people make sure there are certain people there and stay with those people all night, meeting no one new and not venturing far from the group. Scared.

Youngsters, junior members of the club are usually trained by their scared parents. These are the types of kids who freak out if their clothes don’t match.  These kids have worried parents who take them to specialists and get them diagnosed with all types of disorders to take the focus off their poor parenting. Sometimes these kids are medicated unnecessarily. The parents of these kids have parent conferences with teachers and wonder how they can help their kids lighten up. 

When I have allowed myself to snap out of my nasty, evil and judgmental frame of mind, I have had compassion for these people. There is always a reason for their behavior, whether it be something passed down from their parents or some traumatic experience. It would be nice if I could get past my intolerance of such people and try to understand them. 

But really, it’s none of my business and who am I? I can be polite and as compassionate as possible. It’s not my problem, after all. But I know these people need understanding. And in many cases, they need friends too.

We need to reach out to them instead of rolling our eyes.

And, I’m preaching to myself here.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.