Relief

I am afraid of a lot of things.

I am afraid of getting a flat tire in the Liberty Tubes. I am then afraid that when I take my car to the shop, the guys that fix the flat won’t properly tighten the lugnuts and the wheel will fall off when I drive away.

I am afraid that my house will burn down. Every day, I sit at my desk at work, and assume that my house is burning down right at that moment. And I am afraid that one day, when it does finally burn down, and I get the horrible news and do not respond with the proper, highly emotional response, the police will then assume that I burned down my own home because I am not surprised about its destruction.

I am afraid that — despite having no family history to support it — I will suddenly become allergic to peanuts and die of anaphylactic shock. Or, if it is thankfully detected in time, I will not be able to enjoy my favorite breakfast of coffee and a PB&J sandwich.

I am afraid of hot tubs. If our species, and all the species on the planet, originated from a steamy hot puddle of bubbling elements, I can only imagine what kind of shit is swimming around in there. Even with chlorine? No, thank you.

I am afraid of identity theft and ticks and tapeworms.

I am afraid of riding a bike, because I assume that I will wreck. Not your basic, learning to ride a bicycle disaster, but a very specific accident where I am thrown over the handlebars face first and slide, like some kind of Warner Bros. cartoon character, and during this specific slide, the cement slowly grinds my nose completely off of my face.

I’m afraid of most other humans. I am terrified of most politicians.

I am afraid that when I am at the dentist, the woman cleaning my teeth will trigger my gag reflex and I will vomit all over her and myself. The same woman has cleaned my teeth for ten years, and I really do not want to throw up on her.

I am afraid that if I am sitting in traffic under an interstate overpass, a creature will fall through my car’s sunroof, down my shirt and into my pants and bite me. Again.

I am afraid of vaginal prolapsus. This is a medical condition where a woman’s uterus basically falls out of her body. Several years ago, a group of us discovered there was such a thing and we dubbed it “vagina drag”. I recall laughing very hard, so now I am terrified that it will happen to me someday. I wouldn’t not deserve it.

I am afraid of the little old lady on the bus — the tiny one, that has a hat pin for each and every American holiday. She is always armed, whatever the season, with a bible and an endless pocket of pamplets with tulips on them. I don’t know what it is about my face that screams “sinner” or if she just uses me as a warm up on her way to a full day of saving hardened criminals, but she is always trying to fish my soul out of purgatory.

Despite all of these semi-rational fears, there are things that I should probably be afraid of, but I’m not. Plane crashes. Driving in bad weather. Mountain lions. Showering barefoot at the gym. Cancer. Tornadoes. Death.

I am not afraid to die.

This is not because I have found Jesus — sorry, old lady — or spiritual solace in any of the world’s religions.

I believe that when we die, that’s it. That’s the end.

Okay, 5% of me believes that maybe the energies of my “soul” might dissipate into the rest of the universe — like that movie Powder — but the other 95% of me thinks that’s probably bullshit, too.

I don’t believe in Heaven or any equivalent. Although I wish I did, because in Heaven I bet your house wouldn’t burn down while you’re at work and your vagina doesn’t fall out.

No, when you die, your worries are done. There is no more being afraid of nonsense. Any of the pain you might have experienced in life — for instance, having ground your nose off in that bicycling accident — that pain is gone. In death, there is no heartbreak, no disappointment, no sorrow or sadness.

Also? No more goddamn Nicolas Cage movies. Which is great, because I’m afraid of him, too.

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