When Franklin Delano Roosevelt made his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1933, naming “fear, itself” as the only thing we have to fear, he forgot one thing: terror.
Terror is really, really scary. If you’re not terrified of terror then you should probably look up the word. It means “intense, overpowering fear,” according to one source, who was probably horrified just to write that definition. If fear is to be feared, shouldn’t intense, overpowering fear be just as frightful? Even more so? I’m afraid to speculate.
Trepidation is pretty disturbing as well, although maybe not as much as terror, or dread. Dread is highly distressing! But should it be feared? YES! Let’s add dread to the list. And trepidation.
Of course, in enumerating all things to be feared, I would be remiss to not mention angst. Angst is a nightmare! If I had a nickel for every time I was angsty… oh my! I would be trembling with unease! Angst is definitely a solid candidate for the list. So, now it’s fear, terror, dread, trepidation and angst. That should be it.
But wait! What about despair? Despair gives me the creeps! Fear, terror, dread, trepidation, angst and despair. Phew! Quite the list we’ve got now. That’s probably all of them. I doubt there are any more… oh, crap. Doubt is very worrisome. My word… worry! They just keep on coming!
While I’m at it, let’s not forget consternation. A tad academic, perhaps, but just as anxiety-causing as dismay, or apprehension. Disquietude can be a killer, if you’re not careful. And should we count phobias? They’re essentially fear, but in a Greek way. Uh oh… Greek? I guess that’s not too alarming. But panic is! And Greek too! It’s a double whammy!
So, when everything is accounted for, the only things we have to fear are fear, terror, dread, trepidation, angst, despair, doubt, worry, consternation, dismay, apprehension, disquietude, and panic. And that’s if you don’t count phobias.
I think FDR was an okay president, but he had a lot to learn about scares. Maybe he had planned to identify more things to fear but ultimately had to shy away from it. I mean, he had a speechwriter who… oh my god… shyness!