If your top three list of the most terrifying things you can think of doesn’t consist of 1) the deep ocean, 2) trying to escape a cornfield in the dead of night in the middle of North Center O’Nowheresburg Platte, Nebraska while being pursued by a slow walking masked murderer who seems inexplicably capable of bending the laws of physics and appearing behind you every few seconds despite traveling at a tenth your speed, and 3) outer space, then who the hell even are you I don’t understand what else there could possibly be. And obviously the scariest of scaries on that list is outer space, because it is literally the antithesis of safety. There are plenty of obvious reasons why space is terrifying: sub zero temperatures, the ass-clinchingly long distance to the next nearest possible thing, not to mention the whole no oxygen issue, so in the extremely unlikely (and yet still tangibly horrifying) event that you are adrift unprotected in space, you would suffocate in a couple of minutes, sunburn to a crisp after having been exposed to unfiltered cosmic radiation, and be left with just enough time to consider what casual life decisions you could have altered at various points in your recent to distant past to have not ended up adrift unprotected in space. If it’s a comfort (it’s not), just know that your body wouldn’t decompose normally; your corpse cannot decompose without oxygen, and likely would freeze and just float around the vast expanse of space for millions of years, serving as a warning to other space travelers about the dangers of commando space walks.
Turns out, space is actually scary for a whole host of other, less immediately life-threatening reasons. And I’m going to outline some of them here, because I dunno my anxiety isn’t already high enough as it is right now.
It is pants-shittingly big. Think of the biggest thing you can. G’head, imagine something just MASSIVE. Looking out over an enormous ocean that extends well beyond the horizon. The tallest skyscrapers in Dubai. A fricking blue whale, winner of the Biggest Animal of All Animals on Earth Including You, Other Smaller Whales award for the umpteenth year running. Now go outside and yell all those big things out toward space. You hear that? That’s space yelling back at you “HAHAHAHAHA YOU DUMMY! Those things aren’t big! Hell, even calling them small gives small a bad name! They’re nothing! You know Jupiter, right? Biggest planet in your solar system? I HAVE PLANETS THAT COULD EAT JUPITER FOR BREAKFAST AND FART A SINGLE TINY INAUDIBLE JUPITER FART. Pff. Big my ass.”
My point is, a) space is a dick. And b) it’s full of giant ass motherfucking planets and stars and shit that you’d look at and just go “ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS, SPACE. THAT IS LITERALLY BIGGER THAN ANYTHING I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CONCEPTUALIZE OF UP TO THIS POINT. COULD YOU STOP WITH THE MINDFUCKERIES, ALL OF MY SYNAPSES HURT.” I’m talking terror on a fundamentally existential level. Getting all up close to some of that big crap space has to offer would necessitate recalibrating the way you’ve thus far comprehended of the limits of physics itself. If it’s a struggle for you to talk yourself into putting pants on most mornings, then I’m betting having the delicate matrices of your brain gently collapse in on themselves as if to say “no thanks, we’re gonna sit this one out for the rest of forever” probably isn’t something with which you want to have to deal.
The nearest Taco Bell is probably no closer than 240,000 miles away. You know how frustrating it is when you wake up from a dead sleep, having accidentally fallen asleep on the couch at 3 pm and napped for four solid hours, and it dawns on you that if you don’t get a Cheesy Gordita Crunch in the next four minutes flat, you may die? But you simultaneously also realize that the nearest Taco Bell is at least six minutes away, five tops if you pretend there’s no such thing as stop lights? Imagine the deep malaise you’d feel being so far away from a Taco Bell that you’re in SPACE.
Space can make you fat. Well not, like, fat fat. But depending on the mass of the planetary or lunar body you’re currently on, your weight could fluctuate drastically. I mean sure, you might weigh a sleek 27 pounds on the moon, but you’d also weigh 390 pounds on Jupiter, 4,466 pounds on the sun, and 23,100,000,000,000 pounds on a neutron star. “But Katie,” you surely object, “that’s just weight. It’s dependent on gravitational pull. Your mass would still be the same!” To which I answer only in a cacophony of uncontrollable sobs as I look down at the scale beneath my feet on the surface of the sun to see that oh look, I’ve broken the scale. Because i weigh 4,466 pounds. And also I’m dead because I’ve burned up because I’m on the sun. You’re not helping my self esteem at all, space.
ALIENS. If you don’t believe aliens exist, then you don’t believe in the basic tenets of probability. They do because, like, infinite space and stuff. But if modern American blockbusters have taught me anything, it’s that it’s extremely unlikely that aliens are gonna be super chill bros who just wanna learn about our culture and give us cold fusion and perpetual motion. Think about it this way: you enter any given room, let’s say, a wedding reception. There are 2, maybe 300 people in that room. What are the chances that even a majority of those people aren’t raging dickbags that you’d rather throw in the trunk of your car, drive out to a mossy swamp, and dump in a shallow grave than have even a modicum of conversation with? Zero. Because most people are raging dickbags. I’m not even talking about the threat of aliens wanting to probe our butts or pickle our brains or just kill us off and harvest our resources. What if the aliens are just really annoying? And they want to spend the whole time talking about their pretty great softball league or how U2 isn’t actually so bad if you really give them a listen? *shudder* horrifying.
If your contacts dry out/you lose your glasses, you’re fucked. Like, as fucked as fucked can be. Sorry, dude. In space, nobody can see you squint.