BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRIAD


We all have our own little irrational fears.

It doesn’t really matter what that fear is, they are ours and they are all just as equally important as the next person’s fears.

My step-daughter, for example, is afraid of spiders. Just the thought that over three weeks ago, a spider may have trodden over the very floor upon which she is currently standing gives her the heebie-jeebies like nobody’s business. In fact, her fear forces her to vacate the room, never to return, until a full-blown spider-themed exorcism has been performed by seventeen priests, twelve nuns, and twenty-three genuine African witch doctors.

There are some that might call this a little extreme and would easily brush her fear off as being a little silly. However, be it a fear of spiders, flying, heights, or the combustible engine, we are all afraid of something. So take that “my fear is more important than your fear” stone you’re about to chuck, and stick it somewhere that society has deemed to be a very naughty place.

Would you like to know what I fear?

Well, let’s get the big ones out of the way first.

I have a fear of heights. But here’s the thing, I don’t know if it's heights in general that I'm afraid of, or if it’s just that I know that I'm an extremely clumsy person and that if anyone is going to fall off of a ladder while trying to string Christmas lights about their roofline, well that would be me.

I’m afraid of most anything that is either insect or arachnid. Well . . . I don’t scream like a girl when I see a bug, but I get a general sense of the creeps just seeing them in the house. And they have to be in the house. If I see a spider or millipede or some other creepy-crawly outside just doing it’s thing, I let it be. If I find one in the house, it’s dying in a blinding ball of thunder. See, I’m like those cartoons you see when two guys are fighting and all you see is a moving cloud of dust with fists and feet poking out. That’s what I look like when I attack a bug in the house.

I’m afraid of other drivers. I fancy myself a very good driver. I’m a very defensive driver. If all I had to worry about was me, then I could sleep soundly knowing that I will never get into a wreck or have any type of accident. It’s the other drivers I worry about. I’m afraid that the guy ahead of me in the other lane, the guy that’s coming towards me, is going to suddenly swerve his car into my lane. I further worry that he’s going to do it at the last second to deny me any opportunity to dodge him. I worry whenever I go through a green light at an intersection that someone is going to run the red and slam into the side of my car. It’s a wonder I still get in my car at all.

I have an irrational fear of meeting, and just plain being around, new people. I simply can’t stand it. I warm up to folks after a while, but being around people I don’t know makes my palms sweat like a fat man in a Turkish bathhouse. I don’t even like talking to strangers on the phone and will usually have my wife call the pizza place for delivery.

I’m afraid, and simply unable, to go Number Two in public restrooms, or frankly any restroom that’s not the one in my home, or my parent’s home. I’ve made peace with the restroom at work, like I had a choice, but I simply won’t do anything but sit if there is anyone else in the restroom. I know that some guys are completely comfortable with themselves . . . I know because there have been many a time that I’ve stood at a urinal while the guy in the stall is making explosive noises that smell.

OK, this is taken a much more disgusting turn than I anticipated.

Let’s move on.

I fear left turns, but only in the car. I only prefer left turns when a traffic light or four-way stop is in play. Otherwise I will go miles out of my way to avoid taking a left turn if I can. I typically plan out my route whenever I leave the house to ensure that I can take as few left turns as possible.

I’m afraid of metal. But I’m sure that’s only due to the recent weather and the dryness of the air that turns every bit of metal I touch into an electrostatic shock that can sometimes really hurt.

I’m afraid of spontaneity. Anything that takes me out of my routine makes me want to hide under my bed. It could be anything from a last minute decision to go out for dinner instead of staying in, to friends and family just dropping by unannounced. Thankfully these two examples rarely happen, but I get scared just thinking of the possibility.

I fear the over-curious scientist. I think that there are too many scientists out there with a lot of money looking into things that just shouldn’t be looked into. Do we really need to clone animals? That’s just going to lead to cloning people. Do scientists not read Sci-Fi books? Nothing good can come from cloning. What about this quest for antimatter? What’s that all about? Scientists need to read more comics and Sci-Fi novels. They aren’t just for entertainment . . . they are warnings!

I fear what people think of me. I’m sure this has a lot to do with my general fear of meeting new people. I just want people to like me . . . is that so wrong?

I’m sure I have more fears that aren’t springing to mind. But none are, so I’ll leave it at that.

What are you afraid of?

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