MAY 21, 2016 -- BY JIM NEFF








Some things are just plain creepy or at the very least a bit disturbing. It's different for everyone, but we all have things that that make our skin crawl, raise our hackles, trip our inner radar alert system, or just trigger our “yuckification” reflex.


You might be interested to know that creepiness is actually being studied. “A professor in Illinois has narrowed down the...basic elements of creepiness. Really what creepiness is all about is you're not sure if there's something to be afraid of or not. In addition, the study found men were more likely than women to be considered creepy.” The study also revealed that some hobbies were considered more creepy than others, such as “collecting things, like reptiles, insects or body parts.” So, if you have a neighbor who collects spare arms, legs, and livers, it would be natural for you to get creeped out when walking past his house. (


For me, when it comes to creepy people I can think of no better example than those two guys who are featured in commercials for a national chain of drive-in restaurants (which does not have a branch in Cadillac). The two are in their forties, but spend most of their waking hours sitting in a car in a restaurant parking lot trying to act like they are in middle school. In the latest ad, they are using binoculars to watch a couple of 5-6 year-olds who are operating a lemonade stand. Now, if you were the manager of such a restaurant and you observed two grown men using binoculars to spy on children, wouldn't you alert the authorities? This ad creeps me out.


One way to avoid creeps in parking lots is to stay home, but even preparing meals in the confines of your own abode can be creepy. A just-released report comes in time for grilling season. Do you enjoy a tasty barbecued chicken? Well, an Oxfam America report suggests that...workers in the US poultry industry are being subjected to: “A denial of bathroom breaks, leading to workers urinating and defecating themselves on the processing line, keeping their fluid intake at dangerously low levels, and wearing diapers on the job.” It's a bit creepy to know that I might be gnawing on a drumstick handled by a person in soiled diaper. ( and


If chicken is out, then at least it would be safe to throw “some shrimp on the barbie,” right? A presentation on the Dr. Oz show this week might put a damper on that. It turns out that 94 percent of the shrimp sold in the United States is imported from places like Indonesia and Vietnam. However, just 3.7 percent is inspected by the FDA. Most of this shrimp is farm raised and routinely contains rat hair, cockroaches and antibiotics. (


Consumer Reports confirms this. “Consumer Reports’ own tests found evidence of unhealthy contaminants in store-bought shrimp, including E. coli and vibrio (bacteria that can potentially make you sick) and trace amounts of antibiotics that are prohibited in imported shrimp.” (


The good news is that the country of origin has to be on the package or in a store display counter, so you can opt for U.S. caught or grown shrimp (rather than the foreign cockroach contaminated variety). On the creepy side, you may want cockroach bits mixed in your shrimp because cockroaches are a good source of protein. Have a toothpick ready, though, because those creepy roach legs could get stuck in your teeth. (


If any of this makes you sick, you can always to a hospital for treatment. Just stay away from Tacoma General in Tacoma, Washington. What happened there proves creepy things sometimes actually creep. You see, patients and doctors were a bit surprised recently when a live python fell from the ceiling. Really!


It gets better. Apparently, the snake was smuggled in by a visitor and escaped – a month ago! The thing has been slithering around the hospital for a month. The staff says they forgot about it. Then it dropped from the sky! Supposedly, this type of python is no threat to humans. Right. Unless you happen to be underneath it when it falls on your head and you die of a heart attack. Nothing creepy about a python loose in a hospital, eh?



Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and   

Paul Fell
Artizans Syndicate
Apr 19, 2016