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Listen, tough guy: You're not so tough, with your deadened soul and icy visage. You might stare blankly at every horror movie and brush off a cancer diagnosis like it's a mosquito bite, but there's still stuff in the world that scares you, and it's probably not supernatural or deathly serious in nature. It's probably some dull, mundane thing any number of us experience all the time yet can turn all of our assholes into an exhaust pipe that erupts with the messy manifestation of fear.

What everyday things can illicit such a furious poop response? Well, how about ...

4
The Eye Puff Test at the Optometrist

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Until you nut up and get a laser beam shot at your eye like you're being held captive by Goldfinger, you must pass through a mentally scarring and barbaric rite of passage to get glasses -- the eye puff test.

For those of you assholes who are fortunate enough to have never needed an eye exam, the eye puff test is the portion of the exam where the optometrist puts your head in one of Jigsaw's murder contraptions and shoots a sudden burst of air into your eyes.

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"Let's play a game. Cover one eye and tell me the letters in the first row, please. Or DIE."

This test has a name, I guess, and it probably has a purpose, too. It's just that every time I go to the optometrist I'm too overcome with fear of that machine to hear the doctor when he tells me what it does. I'm guessing it's so the doctor can size us up and see if we flinch even when we know an attack is coming. That, or the test began as a way for optometrists to blow away your eye boogers to minimize their risk of vomiting on your face.

Every time that contraption comes within sight, the lights go dark, the world moves in slow motion, and "O Fortuna" starts playing ...

... and I know I'm fucked; really, truly fucked. There's no getting out of it. I'm going to need to sit there and take that goddamn puff of air to the eye and it's going to scare the shit out of me every single time, today and for the rest of my time on Earth. There is no organization in the world that can guarantee to shape any of us into enough of a hardened badass to not startle like a pussy when that one-inch death puff hits.

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Can look evil in the eye and kill it; will shriek pathetically if eye puffed.

Somewhere in the middle of the fear of the puff is the knowledge that the person administering the test is saving your comically pathetic reaction in their memory banks to loop like a sports bloopers reel. To combat the potential embarrassment, you must defeat the air so you don't become another fool in anyone's brain montages. If you don't bat an eye, you can go ahead and piss on the machine, because you own it now. Whatever you want, you can savagely take, for you are the apex of human strength and deserve to be rewarded with all of life's spoils as you command it.

According to the Internet, the air puff tests for glaucoma, which, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. But if I get glaucoma, then there wouldn't be a need to test for it anymore. That means you'll soon be able to catch my Vegas stage act where I will be jumping blindly through flaming loop holes.

3
Opening a Tube of Biscuits

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In order to obtain the wonders hidden within a Pillsbury can of bread rolls or cinnamon buns, you must first disarm a bomb by pulling a strip of paper until you trigger the thermite at the end of the can. That is the sick game we play in order to obtain delicious carbohydrates. We want our bready treats so badly, we're willing to lose some fingers just for completing step one of the cooking instructions.

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"Lost it in 'Nam. Tube of croissants."

If the can pops and you don't drop dead of a coronary, congratulations! You have obtained cinnamon buns! If you die, you probably weren't healthy enough for all those carbs to begin with. It's a sinister plot perpetrated by the thugs at Pillsbury to weed out the undesirables and hook in the healthy people, who think their survival of the event gives them a second lease on life, affording them the opportunity to keep spinning that chamber and pulling the trigger by cooking dough rigged with explosive cardboard.

There's a scene in the final moments of the fifth season of Lost where the character Juliet is tearfully, desperately banging a rock on a nuclear bomb to make it explode. She needs to make that bomb explode. That's what happens if you pull the entire strip of paper clean off the biscuit can and raw dough doesn't pop out. All of your efforts and strength and courage are reduced to a pathetic, desperate banging of a tube on the nearest surface, eyes clenched and turned the opposite way to protect from dough shrapnel -- and it's all accompanied by a sound somewhere between a grunt and a scream.

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Gream? Scrunt? Scrunt it is. Dough cans make you scrunt so hard.

Atkins and severed limbs be damned; we're getting that fucking bread.

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2
The Tiny, Irregular Vibrations of a Car

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You spend enough hours in your car to develop a tactile relationship with it. You know every vibration that thing makes, and you know it because you can feel those vibrations with your ass. Man and machine, fused together via ass, one informing the other; the car alerting the ass of any abnormalities, the ass informing the car of what we've recently eaten. We can feel the health of our car. We don't need flashing lights and symbols -- just an ass, and possibly a brain to process the ass' messages.

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And possibly a seat warmer.

So when your car vibrates in a slightly wrong way, the abnormality is detected by the ass and the ass relays those signals to the brain. The brain -- the astute, even-tempered leader of the organs -- rips this message off its antique stock ticker tape machine and reads it carefully through the smoke billowing from its smoldering pipe tobacco. The brain "hmm"s with curiosity at the ass' message. It rises from its leather chair with dark cherry wood trim and brass studs and, with thoughtful, deliberate steps, makes its way to the P.A. system it uses to relay messages of action to the rest of the body. It flicks the switch into the "On" position and clears its throat:

"THE ENGINE'S DEAD YOU'RE GONNA DIE AND HERE'S A RANDOM MEMORY OF THAT TIME YOU SHIT YOUR PANTS IN KINDERGARTEN. TA-TA!"

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"Bladder, Colon -- you have my permission to evacuate."

In that brief, ultimately uneventful moment, logic and composure -- longtime members of the brain's brain trust -- flee to their escape pods and jettison to the nearest life-sustaining vessel, which is probably why some dogs are so smart. The brain pours itself two -- no, this is a special moment -- three fingers of scotch and wistfully looks around, taking it all in one last time. It runs its finger along the leather of its chair and smiles. "It was an honor, my lady." (You're a dude.) It cries as sparks fire out from instrument panels.

When your car farts, a little imminent death is the only eventuality.

It was an honor serving under you, Brain, you stupid piece of shit.

1
When the Consistency of Food Suddenly Changes as You Chew

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The only surprise you typically get with food happens at the first bite: You're surprised to find that it either sucks or is great. Every bite after that is a continuation of one of those two. And that's fantastic. Reliability is wonderful. You can gulp down the rest of that cannoli knowing that each successive bite will make you go "mmmm" or "gaaaahhh," just like the first. Some foods will start off as "mmmm" and transition into "gaaaahhh" over the course of several bites. That's OK, too; the dish was fine, but after your tongue and your brain talked it over a bit, they decided they're going to go in a different direction.

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"Tongue, I do believe we are consuming shit. Please confirm."

Then there are the meals that begin as "mmmm," retain "mmmm" status for a number of bites, and then take a sharp turn into "gaaaahhh." The flavor didn't change, you didn't suddenly grow to hate its presentation, the smell is fine ... but you felt crunch. As far as you know, there isn't supposed to be crunch in this dish. If you wanted crunch, you would have ordered crunch. You were sold on this being a crunch-free meal. And yet, crunch. It doesn't have to be a crunch; it can be a sudden hardness or irregular softness. Whatever the sensation, it wasn't there before and shouldn't be there at all.

There are two ways you can go from here:

1) You declare this meal over and toss it out. You believe every meal should have an even consistency consistently.

2) You hold back your vomit and horror as you play mouth detective. You take slow, thoughtful bites as you deeply analyze the texture, trying to replicate that horrible moment, trying to imagine the size of the cockroach you just chewed.

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"'Sup?"

This isn't a cognitive overreaction like with a weird car vibration. This is a visceral horror. A sudden shift in chew consistency bypasses the brain and pierces the hull of our primal instincts. This isn't an attack you intellectualize; it's primitive survival, clear and simple. You lash out violently, as if you were 20 years into a savage post-apocalypse and a mutant squirrel is trying to skewer your baby with its tongue spear. The survival instinct that will keep your baby un-kebabed in the future hellscape is the same one that makes you gag as moist wads of mostly chewed pig slop fall from your mouth in the middle of an Arby's when your teeth sink into a weird thing. "Gaaaahhh" is too soft a sound for this horror. Scrunt, maybe? Yeah, you scrunt. You scrunt so hard.


Luis is calling in a bomb squad so he can eat a croissant. In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter and Tumblr.

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