Fears of Zero is a sketch written by Jerry Juhl for episode 202 of The Muppet Show. Here, Zero Mostel recites a poem about his fears, surrounded by the Purple Heap, the Green Heap, Shakey Sanchez, the Snerfs, and (a toothed) Timmy Monster.

In the poem, Zero lists the various things he is afraid of: baldness, missing a train, spiders, insects, and the dread fear that, someday, he will grow fat! The fears take the forms of various monsters that crawl all over Zero. However, he is able to quickly dispel them by counting them and wishing them away. At the end of the sketch, Zero reveals that his greatest fear has yet to come. Timmy Monster walks onto the scene, and Zero warns the audience that his most terrible fear is that the monster will count and dispel him! Sure enough, Zero fades away, leaving Timmy to ponder what has happened.

The Poem

Fears of Zero
by Jerry Juhl

Late, late at night,
The world sleeps...
And I am here alone,
And here I come some nights
To confront my fears.

They're here, my fears.
They are always with me,
Lurking, scurrying, hiding and waiting.
They come!
And they go.
But though they are gone,
They are never far.
And here, alone at night,
I can confront them.

There they are, confronted fears!
Fears of hunger, fears of pain... Ow!
Fears of missing the last train.
Fear of dentists always drilling,
Fear that no one will be willing
To see me as I know I really am.
Once they are counted and compelled,
They can quickly be dispelled.
Like figments of my own imagination.

But always...
There are other fears.
Fears of snakes, fears of cats,
Fears of maitre d's and rats.
An irrational black terror
That someday I may get fat.
Fear of elevators falling
And the taxman someday calling
And the accidental walling of myself
Up inside a clammy, dank old dingy cellar,
Where the spiders weave around my tummy,
And the worms and bugs and crawly things
Squirm and squiggle at my person.
Oh, I love it!
Once they are counted and compelled,
They can quickly be dispelled.

But then...
There are other fears.
Fears of bullets, there's a dread.
Fear of baldness on the head.
Fear of waking up one morning
To discover that you are dead.
Once they are counted and compelled,
They can quickly be dispelled.
Like figments of my own imagination.

Then there is the last fear,
Just about the time when I'm past fear.
The one that really is final.
It will come yours... and mine'll.
In the darkest of the night,
It will come without a fight.
It will count me and compel me,
It will casually dispell me
For I am just a figment
Of its own imagination.

Video releases

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