Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It Isn't True That There is Nothing to Fear

I have an irrational fear of death.

I’m always playing out my very imminent and sudden death in my mind. Frequently I see the cold steal of a blade being thrust into my belly as I stare into the cold dead eyes of someone I thought was a friend. I constantly envision the top of my skull being torn off by a stray bullet. I look down to see a hole explode out of my stomach, the hole being an exit wound from the shotgun blast that came from the guy in the trench coat I just passed on the street. Perhaps this is all a bit morbid, but it’s all very matter-of-fact to my mind. Often I wait for the tiny meteoroid to cleanly puncture my windshield and imbed itself in my liver. I wonder when the earthquake hits where will I be, and how will it cause the house or bus or whatever structure I’m in to collapse in such a way as to pop my skull like an overripe melon?

I don’t think that I’m overly afraid, I don’t alter my schedule or refrain from risks because of this fear, but it is constant. I used to worry that I would spontaneously, involuntarily crawl over the fence that was in between me and the water, ravine, lion or cliff on the other side. I don’t know why I don’t worry about that one as much anymore, because it’s pretty freaky, isn’t it? Picture yourself standing in front of the grizzly bear pit at your local zoo. You’re smiling and pointing, and suddenly your hand is clasping the railing as you pull your leg up to the lower bar. You go weak in your legs and brain as you struggle fruitlessly at the inexorable drive towards the bears. It could happen. You’ve got to figure that everything has happened at least once, and if it’s happened once that means it could happen again.

Water tank explosion. Gas leak. Carbon monoxide poisoning. Sibling you didn’t know was crazy but decides to show you at the Thanksgiving get together. Car accident, car accident, car accident. Prevalence of rare and devastating diseases, but so many that you figure at least one of them will hit like a handful of pebbles that someone hurled at you. Bear attack. Random knifing. Stroke. Involuntary/accidental suicide (which is very similar to climbing over the railing, but I think you’ll agree there is a qualitative difference). Armageddon hits and I find myself in a complete absence of potable water. Death by starvation. What if we run out of clean air?

The only interesting part about all of this is that I don’t think that’s interesting at all. My daily routine consists of a present but distant anxiety about the onset of sudden, particularly painful, death. What I would find interesting is someone who doesn’t have this fear. If you’re not worried about random tragedy then my hat’s off to you, though probably all you’ve done is repressed these feelings so deeply that it’s causing havoc and wreckage in other areas of your life, so you might want to look into that.

I guess the scariest part about this whole thing is that God seems to possess a great sense of irony, and I can’t imagine a greater irony than my random and bizarre death shortly after penning this discourse. In the short term it is personally tragic, but in view of eternity it’s pretty goddamn funny.

1 comment:

Jessica DesLongchamp said...

I'm gonna have to keep you away from bear pits and the like now.