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Where Did My 1970’s Fears Go? November 30, 2011

Posted by Tom Wells in Introductions.

Meet NASA's New Mars Rover

NASA’s next Mars exploration vehicle, Curiosity looks to be about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and it will drive itself around the planet with a laser meant to dissolve layers of rock.  WTF?!! Didn’t the Six Million Dollar man have to fight the Russian version of a Venus Probe like this in the 1970’s?

As a kid who consumed a lot of bad television in the 1970’s, this news from NASA has me wondering what happened to some of those things I was told I should fear from the programming back then.

35 years ago, back when we referred to “rain forests” as the jungle, the number one thing to fear there wasn’t men with chainsaws, we were taught to fear quicksand.  Every show from the Six Million Dollar Man to Gilligan’s Island covered someone getting stuck in the stuff.  When was the last time you saw that (Besides Indiana Jones 4, which was purposely written to be cheesy). If I’m walking through the jungle these days, I’m going to be looking out for the spiders and snakes and pumas I know are there, but quicksand just isn’t in my fear sphere anymore.

Not leaving the jungle yet, the Mythbusters have put another Amazonian fear aside for me, Piranhas.  Those suckers certainly look wicked and they could hurt you bad, but it seems that despite all of the movies to the contrary, no one has actually been killed since the 1970s and before by these ferocious fish.  That doesn’t mean I’d go swimming in the Amazon.  I mean, alligators, snakes and gut eating parasites still live there.

Another creature that has lost its bite with me are tarantulas.  Even the Sean Connery version of James Bond sweated out his encounter with the oversized arachnid. They still creep out my left brain, but my right brain knows better now.  It’s the little ones like the Brown Recluse I really need to worry about.

Then there were the shows like Emergency, Marcus Welby, and Quincy ME that had me deathly afraid that I would someday be in a hospital getting an innocent IV when an air bubble would make its way down the tube and go straight for my heart or brain.  Even shots were scary things to endure.  As an adult, I have had more than my share of shots and IV treatments and I have never heard a single doctor or nurse say boo about bubbles and despite my fears, I’ve pulled through the treatments without harm.

I’m also pretty sure I can travel to remote South Pacific Islands without encountering crazy Imperial Army soldiers who don’t realize that Japan surrendered.

Of course there are still some things I did learn to fear in the 1970’s that I still hold a healthy respect for such as sharks and zombies and I’m going to be watching the developments of NASA’s Curiosity just to be sure it doesn’t double back and land in a Hollywood suburb.  I mean, Lee Majors isn’t as spry as he once was.


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