Whistling Past the Graveyard

Mike Meyer
6 min readMay 24, 2024

Except now the threats are real

I saw a reference to this old saying the other day that struck home as it was one that I grew up with. While I had not thought about it for years, it describes what we are doing now.

For those unfamiliar with the phrase, it is an American expression defined as pretending to be unafraid while actually being scared shitless. The original expression assumed the threat of ghosts living in cemeteries if you needed to walk past a graveyard at night.

From my perspective now, this is typical American pretense.

An alternate meaning was being so stupid as not to realize actual threats. This is best represented by the horror film scene where one person says, “Let me just check behind this door,” where the monster waits.

Amazingly, this archaic expression describes the current human population. Part of the population desperately pretends that nothing will happen, and the other half is oblivious to the threat.

Everyone is in self-induced delusion.

Of course, there is more. Our lives have become a nightmare we cannot wake up from. And somehow, the oblivious ones have been put in charge of everything that matters.

Was it always this way? No, I don’t think so.



Mike Meyer

Writer, Educator, Campus CIO (retired) . Essays on our changing reality here, news and more at https://rlandok.substack.com/