Friday, March 30, 2012

Things that terrified me (but probably shouldn't have)

Fear is a very powerful force. It can cause a person to go to extreme lengths to avoid what they feel is a harbinger of doom. It can cause a young layabout (me) to turn things around and start getting straight A's (the fear of a mother's wrath can do wonders). It can cause a middle aged man (my father) to leap out of a window well like an Olympic athlete going for the gold (Snakes! There are snakes everywhere!). It can even cause a grown man to squeal like a girl when he gets his arm touched in the dark (Coombsy).

He probably just saw a bunch of spiders...or his 401K

Some fears, like the ones listed above are completely rational (for the most part). Some on the other hand make absolutely no sense at all. As I was growing up I will have to admit I had some of the most ridiculous fears. I wasn't afraid of global war or diseases or even girls, but I was afraid of random things like...

Losing my toenails while jumping feet first into the water 

To be fair this is a fear that was pressed on me by an older sibling. I was at a very impressionable age and I thought my sisters cared about me and my best interest. That being the case I listened when I was told that if I didn't carefully curl my toes my toenails would go all confederate on me and try to secede from the union that is my body (that is exactly how she put it). I was understandably not cool with the thought of having no toenails and that a little bit of water could wreak such havoc. In the following years I did what I had to (or thought I had to) in order to keep my little piggies happy. In lieu of jumping in feet first I would dive or flip or even belly flop all because I thought my toenails were one misstep away from a mutiny.

For the love of all that is holy keep those feet up!

After a while I started to learn more about science and the human body and I came to a shocking conclusion. My sister had been messing with me the whole time. The world I knew was shattered I was no longer a trusting and innocent youth. I had been jaded and subjected to the wiles of the world, but at least I was able to lose my irrational hatred for my toenails although we are still embroiled in an uneasy standoff to this day.

Don't fail me now toenails!

Sneezing while driving

As I was learning how to drive the strangest thought popped into my head. What would happen to me if I sneezed while driving? As I contemplated this I started imagining some of the most horrific things possible. I imagined swerving into oncoming traffic and ramming head on with a semi full of gas or other explosives. I saw myself possibly flying of a cliff because of an ill timed nose tickle. Basically every scenario involved tons of collateral damage and a wounded or dead me. So naturally I took these strange imaginings as truth. I came to believe that a car sneeze meant death and I had to do anything at all costs to avoid it.

See this bird gets it.
This is the way I felt for years. I managed to get by without sneezing through a combination of luck and sheer determination, but that all ended on fateful day when I couldn't hold it back any longer and...AND...nothing happened. I couldn't believe I was still alive. I checked all my limbs to make sure they hadn't been horrifically removed somehow mid-sneeze, and much to my surprise they hadn't been. That day marked a new phase of my life. I was free. No longer did I live in constant fear of sneeze induced death or maiming. If only the same thing could be said about...

Ice skating

This one still scares me to this day. I don't have any logical explanation as to why it scares me it just does. The kicker is that it didn't bother me at all as a child. I could get out there and do things like a regular Boitano. Okay so I wasn't as good as all that but I could go forward and backward so that is something. I guess too much time passed between the skating days of my youth and the time that I finally went back in the rink because as I put on my skates I began to tremble and I broke out into a cold sweat. As the drops rolled down my chilled spine I knew in my heart that each breath and each step could be my last.

He saw the sign. He ventured out at his own peril.

If you think I am exaggerating you might be right, but as the Dukes can attest I was not of fan of the skating rink our last time out. I do have a theory however. My legs are enormous, and my calves are probably the size of some people's waists. That being the case when I put on ice skates that go up to mid calf I have absolutely no ankle support. Imagine you are trying to balance a bowling ball on a Pringles can. Now imagine you are trying to brace said bowling ball by wrapping some yarn around it. That really isn't going to work. You need to shore up the foundation that is the Pringles can if you have any hope of success. That being said the Pringles can that is my ankle has no support whatsoever with those darn ice skates and it terrifies me.

After reading this post you may be asking yourself "What is wrong with this guy? I am glad I am not him." but to you I say for shame. At least I had the courage (or stupidity) to go out and share my random fears with you people. I could have pretended to be perfectly normal without any irrational thoughts floating through my head but I didn't think that was fair to any potential friends and associates out there. Also I am sure that you all have your fair share of phobias even if they aren't as bizarre as mine. Just remember fear is normal and can actually be useful in some situations. Just make sure you recognize it for what it is, the opportunity you have been waiting for to impress that special someone with your bravery and awesomeness. Just hope for your sake that moment isn't broadcast on national television. Like this guy below.


  1. Dear Zac,
    I recall back in 2003 as I was learning to drive, you shared your sneezing fear with me. (Who shares such a thing with a rather skittish 16 year old facing drives with Folster?!?) And ever since then, whenever I've felt a sneeze come on while behind the wheel, I've worried. I'm glad you made it through and that fear is null and void; however, it remains something I share with others and something I think about. Is it a fear of mine? No. But indeed you have made an impression on my life as I will always think of you when I sneeze while driving.
    Thank you.

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  3. I am also terrified of ice skating. I am terrified of it because I know every time I go, I will have the worst blisters I have ever had, slightly surpassing the last time I went ice skating. With that said. Ice skating is for fools. Yeah that includes you Apollo Anton Ono. I don't like what you stand for, or glide for, for that matter.

  4. I am glad I am not alone in this fear haha.

  5. We share similar fears. I am terrified of ice skating. My reasoning is that i'll slip on the ice, fall, and someone will skate over me and cut me up with their skates. Or i'll trip, fall and break teeth. And as far as sneezing while driving? I did it the other day and didn't die... Although I do remember the first time I thought "what would happen if I had to sneeze while driving?" I also envisioned a fiery death crash.

    Side note: to this day i'm still afraid of under the bed, couch or chair because of "Cat's Eye"...oh and add onto that midgets for the same reason.