Like many of us, I tend to get a little carried away with the spooky Halloween spirit this time of year, devoting all of my free time to freaking myself out with ghost stories, horror movies, and the occasional nine-hour Supernatural marathon. But when I'm wide awake in the wee hours of the night, worrying that a serial killer may murder me or that ghosts can see me masturbate, what I actually should be worrying about are the very real dangers of every day life. Because they are everywhere, and they will kill you dead.
Everyday life is more terrifying than all six Halloween sequels combined, more deadly than a hundred hours of taunting Blood Mary in the mirror, and more hazardous than any zombie apocalypse that you have "jokingly" prepared for. I'm not even talking about freak accidents, like being bitten by a shark, or crushed by a falling vending machine. I'm talking about the hazards and horrors of regular, day-to-day life, which are so scary, they basically make Hostel look like an old man being hugged by a littler of pug puppies.
So in this, the month of ghosts, ghouls, and Are You Afraid of the Dark reruns, remember: you don't need to look to the netherworld to get yourself petrified. Just look at the news.
35,000 Walruses Just Gathered on a Beach Because We Ruined Their Habitat
You probably saw that shocking picture all over your social media feeds last week — tens of thousands of walruses gathered densely on an Alaskan beach. Those walruses were crammed onto that sliver of waterfront because global warming has been melting sea ice, which walruses rest on while they hunt. No sea ice means that walruses have been swimming to beaches en masse, because they have nowhere else to go, even though walruses don't intentionally cluster together this tightly.
This walrus exodus is one of the most dramatic examples of the ways human-created global warming has changed animal migration patterns and ecosystems. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted that, "Not since records began has the region of the North Pacific Ocean been so warm for so long." And we did it. We're #1 (at ruining everything)!
Michael Myers slowly towards you as you stumble across a deserted parking lot.
Your Sushi is Full of Mercury
The melting Arctic is stressful, but at least that's far away from where you live, right? You can just huddle under some blankets and order some sushi and brace for the end times in the comfort of your own home. Or not.
Remember that time Jeremy Piven quit a play because he said he had mercury poisoning from eating too much sushi? We all had a good laugh, and we were right to, because Jeremy Piven seems like a pretty serious dick. But the mercury part wasn't a joke — it turns out that the fish we eat are actually lousy with mercury, as well as dioxin and PCBs. No less an authority than Consumer Reports claimed that women of childbearing age shouldn't eat much fresh tuna or swordfish. Is that because it's too delicious for us to handle? Nah — it's because both farmed and wild-caught fish are lousy with pollutants.
The Wolfman howling soulfully across an empty field in the English countryside.
Watching TV is Literally Taking Hours Off Your Life
Global warming, tainted sushi — it's all so stressful! Maybe you need an hour or five of Pretty Little Liars to calm down? Well, think again, chump, because the University of Queensland recently completed a study which found that watching an hour of TV takes 22 minutes off your life!
Okay, it's not actually as cut-and-dried as that — their study found that Australians who averaged six hours of TV watching each day were expected to die 4.8 years earlier than their peers who constantly bragged about not owning a TV. And Hulu and Netflix count, too, so don't think you've found a loophole — anything that makes you sedentary is as "unhealthy as smoking," the researchers reported.
Hearing that Rob Zombie is remaking your favorite horror movie.
Using Sunscreen Can Lower Your Bone Density...But Tanning Can Give You Cancer
By now you've had it drilled into your head that direct sunlight is dangerous and can give you melanoma, the most common form of cancer among women 25 to 29. But recently, some scientists have started claiming that covering up with SPF 90 all the time is no brilliant idea, either — your body needs vitamin D, which is most easily absorbed from the sun. Even drinking milk and taking supplements daily isn't enough to compensate for missing out on the sun's rays. And scientists have found that those who are religious about sunscreen have weaker bone density than those who tan. Either way, you're somewhat screwed.
Getting some "is your toilet running?" prank calls from the Scream guys.
Not Flossing Could Give You Heart Disease
In case you're one of the people (like the author of this article) who thought that not flossing was just like going to bed with your make up on — kind of gross, but not the end of the world — you will be intrigued to find out that gum disease can lead to cardiovascular disease. Forgetting to floss in the long run can lead to gum disease, and that inflammation of the gums in turn can trigger reactions throughout the body that lead to vascular disease and other heart ailments.
Evan Peters in the third season of American Horror Story .
Being Tired Could Eventually Kill You
How are you supposed to get a good night's sleep ever again, knowing all this stuff? Don't look at me for answers — I woke up at 3 a.m. last night in frothing panic over the wording of an email I sent two weeks ago. I wish I knew the solution, because chronic sleep deprivation can cause hypertension, diabetes, and a weakened immune system. Bet knowing that will help you sleep better though, right?
Freddy Krueger making an annoying wisecrack before murdering you.
Being Miserable Will Almost Definitely Kill You
"Well, how the hell am I supposed to be happy now, knowing all of this stuff?" you may be yelling. I don't know! Also, I'm not inside your computer, so yelling at it isn't a good way for us to talk. But you better figure it out ASAP, because a study from psychology researchers at University College London found that happy elderly people are 35 percent less likely to die in any given year than unhappy folks in the same age range. The study adjusted for chronic health problems and issues of financial stability, so there are no loopholes here: even if you've survived all that TV and sushi, your bad attitude might do you in in the end.
Scarier Than: Evan Peters in the first season of American Horror Story.