I Live In FearCommentary • ISSUE 36•35 • Oct 4, 2000 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) Like many successful and wealthy plutocrats, I am often asked by one or another of you god-damned sheep exactly what it is to which I credit my good fortune. My reply, which I give unhesitatingly, is always the same: Do you call being a wheelchair-bound, half-withered, leprotic corpse-man, whose great iron-lung pumps him like a steam-calliope day in and day out, "good fortune"? You are an envious pack of wheedling, braying jack-asses! But I stray from my point. There is one quality I possess in spades which separates me from the misled cattle that is man-kind. But it is neither my low animal cunning, nor my ruth-less attitude, nor my willingness to pimp out my own sister for a fast dollar. It is not even the fact that I was born into incredible wealth and privilege and raised in a stress-infused and Byzantine family. What makes T. Herman Zweibel a force to be reckoned with is his capacity to feel ever-present, mind-wracking, pants-shitting fear. Yes, fear! Most blessed and useful of human drives! From the moment I wake in the morning hearing the half-mad shrieks of my hideously strong pin-headed nurse to the moment I fall into fit-ful sleep dreaming of fanged peach halves chasing me down red velvet halls, I am in a constant state of terror. On a base level, it has saved my very life count-less times: My fear of the insidious, color-less, odor-less gas known as "oxygen" kept me from drawing a single breath in 1918 and doubt-less prevented me from succumbing to that year's devastating influenza epidemic. Today alone, I have feared Standish, a chest of drawers, the word "friable," and a pair of slippers. I can only believe that these fears have kept me alive. In the realm of business, it has been an unparalleled boon. Fear, after all, is at the root of hatred and anger, the two empire-building tools which have spurred me to swell the Zweibel coffers to a state of absolute, unfettered corpulence. Like all good capitalists, I fear and despise competition and have therefore destroyed whatever rivals poke their heads up. As a result, today, The Onion remains the last news-paper in the Republic. Like all useful tools, fear is a double-edged sword. I make a point of motivating every last one of my employees, from the scullery-maid to the President of the United States, with fear, as well as its constant companion, threats and derision. In fact, I believe that if you begin living your life in fear, you will be a better and more successful Onion reader. And if you do not, I will have your arms torn from their sockets.