The Worst Fears.

There are a million flavors of fear. Each of them with their own distinct bouquet. We are dealt a mouthful when we arrive into the world, having been crushed and suffocated for hours on end before being plunged into cold and light. Sweet Jesus the terror. I guess most of us learn pretty early on to forget about the things that terrify us. I certainly don’t remember being born. I doubt I would want to. Miraculous as it may be to witness the creation, I imagine there was a lot of fluid as well. I do not ask my mother for great details, no doubt a terrible side effect of the fear.

Then there is the big one. Mortality. A person finds out about mortality pretty soon in the game, if they are paying attention. I remember I was 5 when I understood that, no matter what I did, or could do, I would die some day, and that would be the end of me. Try falling asleep with that concept rolling around your developing thought process. I was only able to truly set it aside when I realized that, in the future, there would probably just be a shot that stopped you from dying. It was the 80’s after all. If the imagination can invent a lightsaber and Michael J. Fox can go Back To The Future anything is possible. Honestly I am fairly certain that the youth serum does exist somewhere. It explains Dick Clarke. A syringe full of stem cells would do it. Cloned and with rebuilt telomeres.

It is too late for us though. I am fairly certain the decay has progressed beyond recovery. No, for me the fear is that I will have to escape this planet in a casket. Hoping that some alien race takes pity on our sorry excuse for a species. We are quite evil at times, but we are also amazing artists. We hope. When the Pan Galactic Tribunal is deciding our fate. This is assuming it doesn’t all fall apart soon. Now there’s a fear for the ages. When we were young, Russia was still training ICBMs at us. They still have many of those. Worse still, I think we have several as well. I know we’re making some progress in the direction of getting rid of them, but this seems like a week long project. Everyone promises to take the warheads out and we’ll shoot cows at the moon or something. Moon darts.

But of course the worst fear is that the worst fears are all going to come true. Which is something I have to rage against daily. It takes a lot to get me out of bed, and that is because it is the only time of the day that I need not contend with fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of carcinogens. Fear of other drivers. Fear of lunacy. Fear of large dogs. Fear of finding a garbage bag of kittens. Fear I have one of a million diseases yet unnamed. Fear of aging. Fear of the hair line retreat. Fear of booze. Fear of people drinking booze. Fear of large dogs drinking booze and driving. Fear of American Idol. Fear of The False Christian God. Fear of damnation. Fear of sliding, downhill and muddy, into a pit of despair and self loathing from which there is no escape. Fear of never raising the church. Fear of never winning office. Fear of fear itself.

And sometimes it cripples me. Makes me unwilling to leave the safe confines of a particular room. There I engage in nesting and recuperating. Not the pistol-sucking Lethal Weapon break down, but a lunatic meditation. Successful isolation from the hundreds of thousands of millions of messages being urgently sent to me by friends and family and robots wanting to sell me Cialis. The fictional women and powerful men who let me into their forums to witness the decay. And what chance do I stand against the decay?

The battle against fear is one I wage daily, but it is a battle against chaos that determines my fate. It is our humanity that wills us to rage against the dying of the light, but they are all dying. We are on a galactic countdown to obliteration, and some people are still willing to pay $500 for pants. We are a world of ostriches, bearing our tail feathers to the fire in the sky. And yet we keep breeding and consuming and creating and dying and so on. And the chaos wants to win. My black fish is powerful, and it makes the white fish worry at times.

So why bother trying to build solar dirigibles? Who gives a shit if we’re poisoning the atmosphere? Why bother running for governor? Why bother replicating the coliseum. Why bother building a giant Paul Bunyan? Why bother going back to school? Why bother trying to make movies? Why bother performing or writing? Why the struggle and pain and worry and despair? Why not go back to Wal-Mart? Why not get a real job? Why not just go away? Go away and never return. Not as Jeremiah.

The fear and the chaos ally daily to condemn me to a life mediocre. They tell me that what I witness as the delicate clockwork of a well staged performance is nothing more than coincidence. They tell me that the struggle of a single man no longer means anything without a publicist. They tell me that you’re only putting your heart and soul into another rejection letter. They tell me if you expose yourself they will cut you down. They come at me from the mouths of loved ones. They come at me from the recommendations of well –meaning friends. Because they fear it as well.

It is good to talk about these things. These fears. It is like shining a dim flashlight in the trees. The other night I went to the sanatorium. At long last I saw what Beltrami named Julia. And in that darkness I heard whispers of ages past. Their voices tell me what I already know. I need a publicist.


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