My Favourite Fear
by Dan Greene
I’m pulling this week’s article completely out of the deepest part of my ass. Or my psyche. I’m not sure which, so let’s see where this goes and find out together.
The other day, I was riding my bike to work when I was attacked by a wasp. The more faithful of my readers will recognize what this means. This means that a wasp got within ten feet of me. No reaction is too strong for me when I see one of those fuckers. I’ve actually thrown my back out – a few times – from twisting my body into unnatural positions to avoid walking into a wasp. I can only imagine what I must look like to people driving by… like some kind of professionally retarded breakdancer, sadly entertaining with a mild aftertaste of guilt, that’s what I like to think. I got me some skills but I still need help.
Anyway, I was riding my bike when I saw a wasp coming right at me. Without thinking I swerved to the right and landed tits up on the grass. Which was just as well because I needed a break after that, man. I mean, did you see that thing? It was HUGE!
While giving my heart rate and adrenaline levels a chance to get back to normal, I started thinking about how, just a few days prior, I’d promised myself that I’d get some therapy or hypnotherapy or fucking brainwashing to get over this scourge of mine. It seriously detracts from my quality of life in the summertime, don’t you know. In fact, it had recently almost ended my life altogether, which was why I’d started thinking about getting help to begin with. Almost gave my Mom a heart attack too.
My Mom has just been in town for a couple of weeks, staying at the house with my wife and I. We went out for a drive one beautiful sunny afternoon last week. That kind of day where there isn’t a cloud in the sky, just a light breeze, and you almost want to turn on the air conditioner but find it more comfortable and much nicer to drive along with the windows down. Yeah. Wasp weather. Fuckers.
My wife was driving and I was in the passenger seat, turned around to talk to Mom. We were sitting at a red light, in the left turning lane, when I saw a wasp coming towards my wife’s window. She saw it just after I did (I may have screamed WASP, I’m not sure) and tried to swat it back out of the car. She did a pretty good job too, she knocked that fucker back a good two feet and put up the window before he had a chance to mount his counter-counter-attack. What was I doing? Well, I had my seatbelt off and was opening the door to dive out into the road, and I only stopped myself because my half-blind mother saw the truck coming in the next lane over and warned me. I was a second away from diving in front of a moving truck in order to avoid a wasp. Out of the frying pan and fuck me with a Jeep Liberty.
Behavior like that can lead to a certain type of introspection generally saved for the barely sane, the adolescent or the habitual acid dropper. Repeated thoughts of what the fuck is wrong with me, what can I do, I’m trapped with this feeling forever, etc. And you know, the worst part of all is that I don’t even know where it came from. I don’t have a fucking clue why I’m so scared of wasps.
Not one clue.
I don’t remember being stung by one. I don’t remember being scared by one as a kid, or seeing anyone else being particularly afraid of one, or anyone else being stung by one and having a bad reaction to it. I don’t have any rational explanation for it at all. I do know that I’ve always been afraid of them, and I do know that the fear has grown over the years. I’m more afraid of them now than when I was a kid. I act like a kid around them now. And it’s shameful to me; I know a wasp sting sucks but doesn’t hurt that much, and I’ve been in more dangerous situations in the past, but that one thing just makes me shit myself.
So I spend all summer hanging wasp traps in the front and back yards, checking the fence for wasp nests every week or two, and spraying any single wasp on my property with that Raid shit that fires a big spray of deadly wasp poison, like, ten or twelve feet. Die you fuckers.
Whatever it is, it’s strange how the mind works. When I was about six years old, I got in a fight with a kid from up the street and knocked him down. He hit his head on the sidewalk, and he was okay, but he’d cut his head open and was bleeding pretty badly. Didn’t make a sound for a few seconds, then wound himself up and started screeching. For a second there I thought I’d killed him or something. I was useless in a fight for three or four years after that. I was always afraid that I was going to kill someone. Oh shit what if I knock him down and he cracks his skull on the sidewalk and…
That kind of shit does happen but it’s a pretty strange thing to be thinking about when you’re in the middle of a fight… “I better not hit him too hard.”
After a couple of years of that, I started being afraid of being perceived as a pussy so I started fighting anyone at the drop of a hat.
After a couple more years I started being afraid of getting a lengthy criminal record for petty and/or violent crimes, so I started acting like a relatively normal person. And it seems to have worked out for me, more or less. But I still can’t deal with those God Damn Fucking Wasps.