The idea that they'd think that he was a goofy kid doing something harmless would make as little sense to her as the idea that he isn't spending every day trying to make her life worse by using an imagination that she believes is a bad thing designed to ruin and humiliate her. This is because she isn't just some pathetic wretch bedeviled by an over-focus on making everything just so so that people will like her. She's also a pathetic wretch bedeviled by the belief that she can't disappoint a crowd of people who really don't care one way or another what she does just so long as she doesn't cause too much mischief.
Speaking of her confusing letting what she thinks the people around her expect of her make up her mind for her with having a proper respect for the opinions of others, the title of this essay is derived from a strip in which John tells her that she shouldn't try anything new or scary because it would mean that people who either don't exist or don't God-damned matter might look at him funny and make him feel bad. The reason that I mention this is that she hates it when one of her favourite parenting techniques is used against her. Whenever Elly isn't yelling at her children for displaying a curiosity that must be evil because she can't understand it, she's making an asinine comment about how useless the field is.
The end result of all of this is that she's stamped out any sort of creativity or imagination in her children and convinced them that their own children only want to be curious to be naughty and ungrateful. Not only does she see herself as having saved them from following an evil, distracting star that could only lead them to a life of misery, she's also saving herself from being judged by people who actually think that she's a domineering maniac who sat on her kids out of spite, malice, envy and (since they labor witlessly to provide her goodies she does NOT deserve) avarice.