Friday, April 12, 2013

Fear ye not - except spiders, and the dentist and....

An online dictionary describes fear as 'to be afraid and apprehensive.'
There are many things in this world that are scary. Topping the list is my mother-in-law, just kidding, no really, I mean it.
The thing I am most afraid of has to be spiders. Big ones, small ones, fat, skinny, ugly (like there are cute ones) it doesn't matter, if it is a spider it scares me.
I grew up in the sticks and there was always an assortment of creepy crawlies creeping and crawling around, but the spider reigned supreme on the scare-o-meter.
Especially the black widow. Even people who are not afraid of spiders are cautious of the black terror, but I do not reserve my fear to just one breed of arachnid, I hate them all and they all scare me.
I had a huge spider, roughly the size of a Chihuahua, climb on my hand once as I walked through a field and I jumped 82 feet straight up and did the spider dance all the way to the ground.
That is where you twist and gyrate like a lunatic while screaming in a high-pitched tone "GET IT OFF. GET IT OFF," before passing out and whimpering like a lost puppy.
But fear is not limited to eight-legged nightmares. I am also terrified of going to the dentist. Actually it is not the going part that scares me; it is the being there that reduces me to a small child who just saw a monster in his closet.
When I was a young lad I had a rough dentist and I soon developed an almost spider-like fear of 'the chair of doom.'
To this day I cannot walk into a dentist office without a twinge of terror run through my body. I am all grown up now so I no longer run and hide behind a potted plant. Besides there are no plants in my dentist's office large enough to hide me (I know, I've tried.)
So like a brave boy, I march into the office, sit in the chair of doom and start praying.
The funny part is the visits really aren't all that bad. Sure they still use power tools in my mouth, but it is not painful like it was when I was a child, and really is not a bad experience. But, those childhood memories leak from the subconscious of my brain every time I go, triggering a reaction of terror.
There is one more area that generates a tremendous amount of fear and trepidation - my mother in law. No, wait, I mean speaking in public.
I read that many people are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of being naked in public. Believe me folks, if I was naked in public it would be everyone else who would be afraid, very, very afraid, not to mention repulsed, very, very repulsed.
But I had a chance to tackle that fear (not the naked one, the other one) head on when I was asked to speak at a breakfast meeting of a local Rotary club. They wanted me to talk about my columns which I figured would be easy, until I realized I would probably have to be funny.
Gulp. It is easy to sit behind a keyboard and try to be funny, but it is a whole new game to try and be funny in front of real people.
So with trembling hands (and fully clad) I made my way to where the breakfast was being held, met the gentleman who invited me to speak and took a seat, thinking I would have a few minutes to get quash those last-minute butterflies that were turning into condors.
No such luck. I barely sat down when I was introduced and given the podium.
Gulp. I launched into a semi-practiced spiel when after a few minutes I realized I felt quite at ease. Part of it was preparation and part of it was how welcoming and downright nice everyone in the club was. By the time I was done I actually had fun.
Thanks Rotary for helping me deal with a life-long fear, now is there anything you can do about spiders...