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4 Innocent Things It's Impossible Not to Feel Paranoid Doing

They say paranoia is God's way of letting you know you've got squirrels in the bat cave. No one says that. There's probably some sayings about paranoia out there, but I'm not looking them up because I don't want Google knowing I know what they know. Here's the thing, though: Paranoia can get layered and weird if you're not careful. It's bad enough to think everyone is watching you, but it gets so much worse if you think they're watching you because they think you're watching them. Or, God forbid, they're watching you watching them watching you watching them. Pretty soon your life is an Abbott and Costello routine and you're showering with the lights off, just in case.

I think a good dose of paranoia is probably healthy; after all, the NSA is literally listening to you. They really are. They do it all the time. Probably someone else is doing it, too. Just because we, as a people, decided to not care that the government spies on us all the time doesn't mean we need to stop being paranoid about it, but it does mean we should probably relax the reins on the ol' paranoia-coaster now and then so it doesn't get too crazy.

#4. Following Someone for Too Long

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Earlier this week, I was out being glamorous and signing autographs for big-breasted orphans or whatever. When that grew tiresome, I decided to walk home, which naturally saw me leaving through an alley full of dumpsters. As I crept out of the squalid darkness onto a street populated by you surface dwellers, I noticed a girl walking past and she noticed me, and thus began an awkward moment that extended into a solid 15-minute walk.

I got onto the sidewalk maybe five paces behind this girl, a slight blonde of about 20 whom I probably outweighed by 50 pounds and outcreeped by about four days' worth of not shaving. She walked, I walked. She walked, I walked. She very slightly looked behind her, I walked. She took a left onto a shortcut through a field, and I sighed, since that was the same way I was going.

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"G-g-g-g-g-Felix Clay!"

As I followed her along a makeshift path through a wide-open and unkempt field, both of us getting further and further away from anyone who would find her body, I started to worry that she was worrying about me following her. In fact, I became convinced that with every step, she was sure that I was opening a small jar of capers in my pocket that I would use to garnish her eyeballs and spleen when I ate them behind a rock whilst masturbating sometime in the next half hour.

We left the field together as the sun began to set and she opted to take the road to the east, the one with no sidewalk and pretty much nothing but forest on the right side, because I guess maybe she wanted to make sure I had every opportunity to stash her dismembered corpse where only raccoons would find it. Yeah, that's the way I walk home, too.

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"Ugh, I have face-meat stuck between my toes."

You'll be happy to know that, in reality, I don't murder strangers, and this girl was no different. I had every intention of walking this same path all by myself before she so rudely got ahead of me and convinced me for 15 minutes that she knew that I was a deranged psychopath.

At the next corner, she breezed right on past where I lived, probably a little sad that maybe I didn't want her after all, and went back to wherever she comes from, whole and intact and maybe only slightly rattled at having been followed halfway home. Or maybe she didn't even pay attention to me at all and I literally wasted my entire walk home stressing over holding in any sudden urges I may have had to kill a stranger, just so I wouldn't give her the satisfaction of being right about me, when she wasn't even thinking that about me in the first place, meaning I very well could have done that and been completely justified. I'll never know.

#3. Movie Theater Farts

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Is there anything worse than a movie theater fart? You might be inclined to think elevator fart, but when's the last time you spent two hours in an elevator with the smell of hot buttered popcorn mixing into the cloud of shit gas? No, a movie theater fart is its very own diabolical menace that unfolds like a turd-laced Lament Configuration, welcoming you to experience layers of suffering. At first you're struck with the awfulness that is the realization that some asshole, literally and figuratively, just farted in your general vicinity in the darkness. And then, if you're an overthinking type, as you ponder what uncouth jackass did that, you'll realize that everyone in a Minesweeper-size grid around you is doing the same thing. Are you at Ground Zero? You could potentially have as many as seven people directly around you who think you just shat yourself, plus one guy who actually did do it. Or more, depending on potency. If this thing starts row hopping, half the theater is up for grabs, and everyone is wondering which asshole did it. And make no mistake, the people closest to you will just assume it was you. And you know it.

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Smells like Lars von Trier trying too hard.

So you have to sit there, the smell of hot Becel and shriveled hot dogs wafting in and out of the viscous, throat-clogging nebulosity of a burrito that fermented in the gullet of someone within arm's reach of you. And you can't try to look innocent, because that's a dead giveaway that you're the jerk who did it. Nor can you look disgusted, because of course that's also what the guy who did it would do to try to look innocent. You have to sit perfectly still and pretend like every time you put a peanut M&M in your mouth that it's not laced with butt and wait until you and everyone near you has inhaled the fart to death. Like the Ghostbusters opening their trap to contain Slimer, so too must all of you just breathe and breathe and breathe until you've killed the fart the only way we know how, by consuming the fucking thing. What are we, dark ages slaves to a barbarian horde? You're damn right we are, in the confines of a dark theater when someone shits their pants. You'll take it and like it and not even wince, because if you do, if you make a face or groan or anything, then everyone will know it's you, you're the fucking farter, you're the loose-sphinctered shitter who couldn't have the decency to leave the room. You're the goddamn decay of society whose loose asshole just sputters like an outboard motor whenever and wherever it pleases.

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Felix Clay

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