There are some things of which the world grants that you ought to have a healthy fear. People often say of their little ones, “He has a healthy fear of the water.” Water, it’s the first thing you are encouraged to fear as a child. Next thing you know, they are dressing you in clownish suits and telling you to jump in and put your head all the way under that same lethal stuff they warned you about five seconds ago.
Snakes also get this anointing. Someone seems to be allowed to have a healthy fear of snakes. Red and yellow, hurt a fellow. Red and black, friend of Jack… or something like that (note to self: memorize this ditty before it matters). But then just after encouraging a healthy fear of snakes, people will remind you of how great snakes are, that they eat pesky rodents and help maintain a balanced ecosystem. And how they are really just big slithery teddy bears
that can wrap around your neck and asphyxiate you in your sleep if you’re not paying attention.
Teddy Bears! Oh, the irony of the teddy bear! It often seems that we humans like to cuddle fake versions of that which we are encouraged to develop a healthy fear. The cuddly-wuddly teddy bear. We put our children to bed with bears, people, bears – beastly predators who will tear your face off and disembowel you with one paw tied behind their backs and then leave your sorry carcass on the wilderness floor for the vultures to pluck clean.
Same with monsters. So, yes, they might just be figments of our imaginations but still, we know they’d eat our heads off if they were real. But we sew cute versions of them and hand them to our unsuspecting children who spend their nights staring at the vacant blackness of their closet doors for fear of what might lurk there whilst clutching their furry little monster buddies close. The same goes for monkeys and kangaroos and… and… birds of prey. Strangers too. Hello… Who are these Ken and Barbie people anyway? I mean, they could be total freaks that collect shrunken heads for a hobby. Sure, they look nice and have nice cars. But isn’t that what they tell us to beware of with strangers? They seem nice and normal and then – BAM! You’re a goner.
So many things of which you are encouraged to have a healthy fear.
But you know what they never say we can have a healthy fear of?
I don’t hear the calls for a healthy fear of airplanes anyway. It’s only ever known as a phobia. A totally irrational fear. I mean, if you spent your every day on a tarmac, you might be encouraged to have a healthy fear of airplanes. Perhaps if you are a bird, your mom might warn you about the inherent evils of the giant metal bird beaters… but the rest of us? Nope. Just gotta get over it and get on it and learn to like whizzing through the air in a pressurized canister.
You won’t find me sleeping with any stuffed airplanes to help me attain balance on this point. But I guess I will just have to get on it and get over it. Learning to like it might be a stretch.
9 days until I fly. It’s been 8 years. I hope my seat neighbor doesn’t have a healthy fear of people who have an irrational fear of airplanes, cause that would just get confusing.