Monday, May 19, 2008

This Will Not Become a Blog of Fear

I’m undecided as to whether “growing up” is something that happens in one pivotal moment (“Congratulations, today, you have become a man/woman (as applicable)”), or something that happens so gradually that you don’t even notice.

Okay, that’s a lie. Only a complete moron or someone in need of a cheap rhetorical device would think that growing up is anything other than the sum of the hundreds of small moments in our lifetimes that shape who we are and what we value.

Unless you define “growing up” as “being recognized as legally able to drink.” That’s pretty important, but also centered around one specific point in time.

However it happened, I have grown up, and my fears have grown up with me. For example:

Attics. Yes, they still make spooky noises, but I’m not as worried about vampires. Was that thump just the house settling, or a family of squirrels moving in? What if it’s something bigger, like raccoons? Or buffalo?

Faucets. The irregular flow isn’t caused by demonic possession. It’s our well. Is it going to run dry for the fourth time? Are we going to need another new pump? Will we be forced to filter and drink our own pee?

Cars. Evil cars won’t run me down while I cross the street. But is the car I’m driving about to fail? Why hasn’t it shifted to the next gear? Is that smell coming from my car, or the one in front of me? Was that noise always there? Can I fix it by turning up the radio?

Closed doors. My boss isn’t conducting satanic rituals behind her closed office door. And I’m reasonably certain she’s not shedding her human disguise so that her gills can air out properly. But what is she discussing in there? Raising insurance co-pays? Freezing salary increases? Firing me because of that time I wore white pants after labor day?

Coughs. It may have taken me over ten years, but I’m not afraid of Captain Tripps anymore. But does that cough mean a trip to the emergency room? Or billing disputes? Why do all the really scary symptoms develop outside of the doctor’s normal office hours?

Ground cover. The undead hands of the vengeful dead aren’t going to erupt from the ground to rip at my flesh, but what is lurking in those leaves? We picked up six ticks in our backyard last season, how many are waiting for us this summer? Isn’t there an effective lawn treatment that will drive them off? Will napalm work?

Sure, I might have scoffed at this list when I was younger, but that’s because I had some growing up to do.

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