A cross-section of great fears

I fear that, while I am travelling in a tropical climate, a green coconut will fall on my head and kill me. (I narrowly avoided this fate by about five minutes in El Salvador last year, when a green coconut landed on the roof of a restaurant bathroom, smashing through the tile and splashing into the toilet I’d been sitting on mere moments before.)

That the perpetually itchy spot at the back of my throat is host to some insidious superbug. (I went to the emergency room with a wicked sore throat in 2007 and was diagnosed randmonly with a peritonsullar abcess – apparently an affliction that hits like one in a million people. I was loaded up with steroids and Vicodins and when I went back for a follow-up a week later, the suspicious swelling was gone. The doctor called it a misdiagnosis. I call this a miracle, people! But my throat still occasionally tingles menacingly.)

That I will end up alone. (I’m told dating gets infinitesimally harder after 30, perhaps on account of one’s attractiveness being inversely proportionate to one’s willingness to lower standards in early mid-age. No further comment on this.)

That, while I am showering or doing the dishes, a ghost will sneak up behind me and blow cold air down the back of my neck. (Truth. I am way more scared of ghosts than of people or even monsters. Mostly because they feel more real, somehow, than either people or monsters.)

That I will be beset by some extreme and unforeseen health crisis that will bankrupt me for the rest of my life. (This is a uniquely American fear – not the fear of falling ill, or sustaining a mortal wound, or dying young, but rather the fear of the hospital bill that’s sure to follow such a stroke of ill luck.)

That I am fooling myself. (With regards to most everything. I don’t believe I am, but there’s certainly a fighting chance that I have failed to realistically perceive any number of things, from my own intelligence/attractiveness [which I peg at above average and average, respectively in case you really need to know], my chances of becoming a famous writer, my level of dependability, my ability to dress in a manner that is charmingly unique as opposed to fucking just tacky and mismatched, my ability to relay a funny anecdote that is neither too long nor too short nor too self-effacing or too self-aggrandizing.)

That I will at some point be forced to wrestle with a serious depression. (The odds of this one are decent, if you believe the priests and the pharmaceutical companies. The idea of being asked to wage some great existential battle against obsolescence and hopelessness sounds exhausting. I’d rather eat a sandwich.)

That I will somehow be convicted of a felony and have my passport taken away. (This would pretty much feel like a death sentence for me. If it did come to pass, I’m almost 100 percent sure I’d sneak into Mexico and become one of those grimy expats of dubious provenance, wandering around eating tacos and working odd jobs and refusing to answer any questions about what came before. Which actually sounds kind of fun. Except if one of those green cocos or health crises or breathy ghosts caught up with me while I was down there. Then it would just go back to being terrible.)


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