June 05, 2003

Blog Day Afternoon Okay, I

Blog Day Afternoon

Okay, I admit it. I haven't done much at work today except blog and watch a fly buzz around the flourescent light and think how cool it would be to be a fly buzzing around a flourescent light. I mean, think about it. With all those eyes, the world must seem like it consists entirely of thousands of flourescent lights. That would be so sweet. I think the ventilation system may be pumping in canabis fumes or something.

Anyway, I still haven't written a column for next week, and the Stewartville Star got on my case via e-mail just a moment ago asking where my column was, so I suppose I should try and conjure something. Thinking. . . thinking. . . thinking. . . scratching self. . . thinking. . . watching fly. . . thinking. . . okay, I think I have something. I give you. . .

I Have A Fear of Phobias

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously uttered the words, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."

I don't disagree with the good polio-stricken ex-president, but I would like to interject an addendum that states, "but you should also fear any weird prickly fuzzy thing crawling up your leg under the bed covers at night; and then you should scream and shriek and shudder and sprint into the shower and scrub your leg until you are completely free of all heebies and especially all jeebies."

Then again, I don't suppose that would have rallied the Americans to rise up to the challenge of the Great Depression quite as effectively.

I don't have many phobias. I mean, things startle me, and I've been frightened by a few things during my lifetime, especially the movie Battlefield Earth (the fact that movie was even made is truly terrifying), but when it comes to long term phobias, I don't have all that many. Come to think of it, I only have two phobias that I can mention and elaborate on long enough to fill this week's column.

The bottoms of lakes and rivers scare the living digested excrement out of me. I mean, I'm not afraid of swimming in lakes and rivers, but as soon as I start pondering the murky depths below my dangling feet, I start to feel considerably agitated and I can't wait to get back in the boat or crawl-stroke my way back to shore with a speed that would make an Olympic swimmer envious.

As far as I'm concerned, one of the most helpless feelings I encounter during the summer months is the time frame immediately following a tumble off of water skis. In an instant, I've gone from king of the water, standing triumphantly aloft, skimming the surface, to essentially being a human bobber awaiting rescue in the middle of a lake. It's unbearable waiting for the boat to slowly arc its way back to me. "What's taking them so long? Don't they know I'm in the water? Don't they know my toes are vulnerable to attack?"

Here in Minnesota, many of the restaurants feature the bodies of preserved fish tacked up on walls, trophy catches forever captured in lifelike form by the skilled hand of a taxidermist. Always, always I tell you, the fish have their eyes trained upward, from the lowliest bluegill to the biggest muskie. Do you know what they're looking at? Do you know what those fish were eyeing as potential meals before the fisherman's pole yanked them from the water? That's right, they were looking at my toes! Or, at least that's what I tend to believe.

The same holds true for rivers. One of the most disconcerting feelings is when I'm wading down a river, and suddenly I hit a drop-off and can't touch bottom. Yeeargh! Where's the bottom?! Where did it go?! My toes! My precious toes are vulnerable to attack yet again! It's at about that time that a chunk of river muck brushes against my ankle and I become a pathetic, thrashing, incoherent torrent of activity. Must! Get! Out! Of! Deep! Water!

My other phobia really doesn't make a whole bunch of sense. Not that my lake and river bottom phobia makes much sense, I guess. At any rate, my other great fear is to be doused entirely in something sticky such as soda pop, or honey, or ketchup, or mustard or anything else that would make me feel like a sandwich. I slightly flip out when I spill pop on my hand, so the thought of having a full can poured over my head just makes me shudder.

There was a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial awhile back that showed a guy sitting in an open convertible. He was asked how much honey flavor was packed into a single bite of Honey Nut Cheerios. He didn't know, so he took a bite, and from out of nowhere a gargantuan blob of honey dropped from the sky, filling the convertible and covering the driver. I honestly couldn't change the channel fast enough when I saw that commercial coming. What a horrible thing to do to someone! The thought of being covered head to toe with dripping honey makes me tremble in horror so hard I'm generating a small earthquake as I write this. Who would do such a thing, and why? And how could that possibly help the sale of Honey Nut Cheerios?

So, those are my phobias. What are your's. Come on, you can tell me. Or, are you afraid?

UPDATE: Yes, as a matter of fact, I did initially have that FDR quote attributed to Winston Churchill, an especially egregious error considering I had a history minor in college. Many thanks to all of you who noticed it and pointed it out. *grumble*

Posted by Ryan at June 5, 2003 04:18 PM
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