My Missing Gene

I don’t have the gene that makes me enjoy feeling scared.

My sister used to call me a titty-baby. On one hand, it’s one of the more hysterical names a person can be called—if you really think about it (and its possible origin). It’s also wholly inaccurate in this instance, because I wasn’t even nursed, so she jumped off from a faulty premise.

Now that she has a child and watches her filthy mouth, she calls me a fraid’y cat (probably a cuter version of scared’y cat). I accept both of these, even though I consider myself more in the precious puppy family than finicky cat family.

Regardless, what some call being a chicken, I just call being logical. Why on Earth would I knowingly scare myself? What do I gain from being startled, afraid or on edge?

No, sorry, I do not enjoy roller coasters. I don’t like the wretched anticipation I feel when I’m suffering through the long lines, only to climb into a bucket of death. I’d rather be doing just about anything else—picking weeds, fixing wifi issues, trying to understand a customer service rep.

titan um no

And I really … I mean REALLY … hate the click-click-click sound and feeling as the carts hitch themselves up the hill of horror. With every click, a new and exotic cuss word pops into my brain until I’ve strung together whole sentences of nothing but colorful language that would offend a sailor.

Along with that, I’m just thinking, “Why, why, why am I here doing this to myself? I hate this thing, I hate this place, I hate pedicures that hurt, I hate hearing 911 calls, I hate it when grown people say tush, I hate it when someone answers only 1 of my 3 questions in an email, I hate it when companies spell their name with a K when it should be a C.”

So yeah, I don’t enjoy roller coasters. I don’t actively seek out ways to feel frightened. I’ve been on many and will probably have to be on a few more during my life, but I won’t like it and it won’t be my idea. I’m not scared I’ll get injured or fall to my death—I just simply don’t enjoy feeling scared when I don’t have to.

I guess that’s why I don’t watch many, if any, scary movies. I don’t mind something that’s psychologically thrilling, but if a film is categorized as a horror movie or has possessed beings or shadows holding machetes, I’ll pass. I just have no desire to throw away two good hours actively terrifying myself and knowingly facilitating bad dreams.

I know I’m not the norm. I realize many people love all things scary. I’ve just decided I’m missing that thrill gene.

Side Note: In my opinion, it’s one of the better genes to be missing. About the only one I’d swap it out for is the one where I don’t hear all the horrific noises people make when they eat … or jingle their change, or tap their pencil repetitively, or type really loud like they’re doing a drum solo on their keyboard, or crackle their water bottle, or eat anything in the nut/carrot/apple family at work, or breathe. Oh dear, I just realized this could be its own blog post—it’ll be called “Misophonia and My Untimely Demise.”

Sometimes when I’m watching Amazing Race, one of the contestants will say, “Oh! Bungee jumping! I’ve always wanted to!” This, along with, “Which heels go with this dress?” are two things you’ll probably never hear me say. It has to be a gene that makes a person want to climb really high off safe ground, get harnessed up and plunge to possible death/certain whiplash. Yes, odds are that you’ll survive and have an adrenaline rush, but is it worth the risk?


I’m not saying these people are crazy, I’m just saying I don’t understand the appeal of putting your life in peril. It’s gotta be a DNA thing.

An adrenaline rush is no more appealing to me than, say, a delicious sandwich. I mean, it’s good, but I won’t risk heart palps or my life to get it.

Leaving work last week, I was overzealous in my descent of the stairs—and missed one. Thankfully, I landed safely on the next step; but, not before my life flashed before my eyes—and that was enough of a scare to last me a solid six months. Would an adrenaline addict think, “Whoa, Dude! I’m totally doing that again tomorrow!”?

They say that “perceived danger” is what draws adrenaline junkies to skydiving, haunted houses, swimming with sharks and driving at high speeds. But here is the thing—I perceive danger on a much smaller scale—like trying a new sushi roll, using a public toilet or skipping my daily multivitamin.

I’ve also heard that the aftereffects—the sense of relief knowing you’re safe—is the appealing part of being scared. But what I enjoy is already being safe … without a harness or helmet.

A person with the thrill gene might say, “I just feel so alive afterwards!” But I can eat a great meal, or take a hot shower, or put on a stellar concert in my car and feel alive. Actually, sometimes creating a really solid Excel document does the trick.

Truthfully, I love excitement and spontaneity. I even love things that could be dangerous if not handled responsibly—4 wheelers, snowmobiles, zip lines, rattlesnake roundups—I’m just not going to risk my life for an adrenaline rush or consciously create a “fight or flight” situation to get my blood pumping.

Between dealing with olympic-caliber passive aggressive co-workers, and delighting in Tina Fey’s return as Sarah Palin on SNL, I have more than enough excitement for the week.

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0 thoughts on “My Missing Gene

  1. That gif about did me in! His reaction is SO FUNNY. But I’m with ya on the scary movies. If you hate me and want to see me cry and then lay sleepless for the next two weeks, force me to watch any part of the Exorcist. And big laughs to “olympic-caliber passive aggressive co-workers” 😉 Nice!

    1. JB, I was shake-laughing over the gif and then when he started crying, I lost it. Ahh, Buddy! And I don’t wanna hear it … you live for haunted houses. What say you?

  2. You inherited that missing gene from me. I’ll face any wild dog or rattlesnake that I have to – I just won’t go looking for them. Bucket of death cracked me up. That’s exactly what it is! Give me a bucket of salsa (and a truck load of chips) and that’s all the excitement I need. My biggest fear these days is missing my nap. But hey, that’s just me – your wild and crazy dad.

  3. I was completely on your side until the sushi roll. That sort of went click, click, click in my brain!

    1. Haha, hi Jenny! I used to feel that way about sushi … but it was before I’d even TRIED it. Now I’m addicted. Have you actually tried it? 🙂

  4. Spot. On. At the amusement park, you and I can hang out by the fried food stands and avoid the rides together! I try to side-step any activity that might cause: panic, life threat and nausea. I also get nervous that Mariah and Nikki are going to throw down (or bust out)! That’s enough worry for me, thank you.

    1. Sign me up … we’ll hold all the crazy people’s fannypacks while they stand in lines and grab their adrenaline rush. And right? I live in constant fear that a Minaj or a Carey will make an accidental appearance every week.

  5. You’re a girl after my heart. I’m the biggest chicken……I hate anything that scares me. I guess Jeni would call me a titty baby too, but I don’t even care. Watching my kids ride their bikes is all the excitement I can handle these days.

  6. I totally agree. Except, I don’t mind a roller coaster, but I do have similar thoughts when you are ascending, like, “Why did I decide to do this?” This was my favorite part, “But here is the thing—I perceive danger on a much smaller scale—like trying a new sushi roll, using a public toilet or skipping my daily multivitamin.” I soooo agree. I fear pretty much normal stuff (hubby thinks I have an anxiety disorder, and most likely do), so why watch horror films!?

    1. Hi there! The truth is, I don’t HATE the coaster once it’s over … like I can admit it was kinda cool … but it’s not not not not not worth the climb and accompanying fear. NO!! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  7. Well, you made me laugh even when I didn’t feel like laughing. So, I guess your assertion that Life is funny (even when it’s not) is true. Actually the word catfight always cracks me up. You and I both know Nikki could beat the tar out of Mariah.

  8. OK, so there are some amusement park rides that I can never go on again because I promised God that if I lived through it I would never get on again… but I do love me some scary movies!! 🙂

  9. That gene is located in Germany as well – I am none for scary movies (not even of the supposedly funny kind – and I like a good laugh) and roller coasters (or other funrides like that) are fun for the others. I will help you looking after the left behind luggage of those who have to ride rcs. Can’t see the fun in getting shocked like that. We could already create our own Missing-Scare-Fun-Gene Selfhelp Group with so many people feeling like that.

  10. Finally, someone with the same missing gene! Why would anyone willingly want to plunge 50 feet down a hill at 70 mph? Why would someone want to freak themselves out watching a scary movie??? I often feel like I’m the only one who hates roller coasters and scary movies, but it’s nice to know there are others out there!

  11. So this is where we part ways, my dear. I think I might be a perceived danger junkie. Damn. It was nice knowing ‘ya.

    But seriously, I actually actively pretend lone people walking their dog at night are zombies, and I have to see how fast I can get home behind locked and fortified doors before I attract a horde that will ultimately eat my brains.

    1. Well, this seems like perfectly normal behavior to me. I would garner endless hours of fun doing this! Oh, and by endless hours I mean NOT ONE SECOND and by fun I mean TORTURE!

      We will find our way back. We will 😉