Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A walk down Paranoia Lane.

In light of my recent defeat over my fears I have decided
to take a moment to remember the myriad of irrational fears
I have overcome in my life.
It'll be like therapy.
So strap on your straight jacket
and take a walk with me down Paranoia Lane.

1. Clowns
I have more of an annoyance with Clowns than I do a fear of them. My dad was a clown (he performed at birthday parties and was Ronald Mcdonald for a time) and he was always inviting his clown friends over to brush up on their "clowning skills". They were often obnoxious men with really bad jokes. Like, they would shake my hand but hold their hand still and jump up and down while laughing manically. I hated it when the clowns came over. Eventually I would take shelter in my room when any of the clowns arrived.

2. Fear that I was the only real human on earth.
This fear came about when I snook into the living room after bedtime to discover that my parents were watching the film Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. I was 4 at the time and obviously too young to watch a movie about emissaries from a distant planet sending massive seed pods containing creatures that can assume the exact physical likeness of anyone they choose. I hid behind the couch and watched almost the whole thing. It scared the living crap out of me. I became convinced that I was the only real human on the planet. I then made the mistake of confessing this fear to my uncle once while we were all on a family road trip. He seized the moment and told me that he was a robot and so were my parents and my brother. He then started to jerk his body and yell "Malfunction!" over and over in a robot voice. I tried to jump out of the car while screaming and crying. I was terrified. It took me a while to get over that one.

3. Aliens and Lightning
This is a two parter. I suppose that it all started with my great grandmother who had a fear of lightning and would force my grandmother (Mammaw, as we lovingly called her) to hide in the closet whenever a storm hit. She in turn, forced me to take shelter in an underground garage that my grandfather (Pappaw, as we so lovingly called him) built on their property. If I was having a sleepover and it started to storm, she would wake me up from a deep sleep. She would then make me run from the front door to the car in the middle of of the dark night with some pretty terrifying thunderstorms crashing around us. We would then drive down a long driveway and sit in the hot car, in the garage until the storm passed. Sounds like fun huh? To make matters worse, my older brother told me that every time it thundered it meant that Martians were landing on earth. So, there I was with Mammaw clutching onto me for dear life and I was just praying to God that the Martians would not be able to find us. I have vowed to not pass the fear of lightning to my children so whenever it storms I get over-enthusiastic and act like I am having a blast. It's pathetic.

4. Fear that my ears were going to fall off
I owe this bizarre fear to my Robot Uncle as well. He told me once "You know how you lose your baby teeth and then your grown up teeth come in? Well, the same thing will happen to your ears. Your baby ears will get loose and then they'll just fall off. Then, you will grow a pair of grown up ears!" He then proceeded to yank on both of my ears. I was never the same after that.

5. Fear of choking to death

I choked on a French fry at a BBQ joint in Texas and my dad snatched me from my chair and beat the bejeezus out of my back. I promptly coughed up the French fry and asked in a pathetic shaky voice "Am I gonna die now?" The entire restaurant had stopped feasting to watch this little display and thought it was so cute that I said that that they all decided to laugh at me. I was offended and mortified. For a time after that, I would gag and grab my throat after very bite of food. It drove my older brother insane. Eventually my mom got a place mate and a dry erase marker. For every bite I swallowed without panicking I would get a mark on the place mat. After I earned 5 marks I could have a bowl of ice cream. I milked this fear for as long as I could and ate a ton of ice cream.

6. Short Heights
I have depth perception issues. I run into door frames and coffee tables all of the time. This makes hiking on rocky terrain a nightmare for me. I'm not afraid of heights, I can stand at the top of a huge mountain and feel invigorated. If I am standing at a height of 3 feet or lower then I am a nervous wreck. I have twisted my ankle so many times from simply stepping from rock to rock. I can handle climbing up a short height but if I'm climbing down, I walk like a petrified 80 year old woman. I'm sure that it's real sexy to watch. The above photo is making me break out into hives.

So there ya have it.

Okay people, I know that I'm not alone here, right? Please tell me some of your irrational fears. You know that you got em, so spill it.


Lee said...

All fears are rational. Sounds like your family tortured you with practical jokes when you were young!

Carolyn said...

your family is a treat! My uncles just talked about baseball, while my grandma got drunk on boxed wine ;)

Alicia said...

holy crap. i HATE heart won't stop pounding. here are my irrational fears....

i can't handle people touching my wrists. ever. it freaks me out beyond belief.

same goes for my collar bone...

i'm also terrified of my kids being kidnapped. i lie awake at night terrified they won't be there in the morning....

man...i need help!!

hugs lover...

Noah's Mommy said...

I think we all have strange phobias....I have an issue with using public bathrooms....and my sister is scared of windchimes....crazy

vanilla said...

I snook into the living room--
Good one!

Enjoyed your sharing of your phobias. Now mine? You've got to be kidding. No way. hehe

Jennifer said...

I love your confessions of paranoia. My most irrational fear is mall Santas. I love Christmastime and all things holly jolly, but I start hyperventilating if I see the tell-tale North Pole set. Fleeing is my only option. Other santas don't bother me: like the one ringing a bell with the Salvation Army bucket, or the one in the last float closing the Thanksgiving Day parade. Something about the giant candy canes. Or maybe it's the elves.

Don't even think of trying to get a rubber Halloween mask near me.

Driving at night in the country I fear the road will fall out from under me or veer suddenly. I end up driving 25 mi/hr. Thusly, I'm not allowed to drive at night without well lit streets.

This IS like therapy. Thanks, Leigh!

Aleta said...

Ummm yeah, those are some... interesting.. fears. But the robot one, I can relate to. I saw that movie at a young age too and my brother told me, "We have a switch at the back of our heads, didn't you know that?" I still remember that creepy feeling.

Lula! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lula! said...

I LOVED this post...brilliant.

I am afraid of the circus. I hate it. The sights, the sounds, the smells. SHUDDER! Just. Can't. Deal. With. The. Circus.

Also paranoid about driving over bridges. What if MY car is the one that causes it to give way, thereby plunging me and my loved ones into a watery grave...

Ridiculous, I know. But still...

p.s. I love lightening...and thunderstorms.


my fear is that I WILL NEVER GET TO BED TONIGHT! ahhhhh! i am so tired tonight! it has been one of those days and i need to get to bed. i love the clown story btw. c ya later girl!

Em said...

Alicia and I need to get together - we would have a blast going to a nail salon - I HATE anyone touching my calves - like I almost attacked a lady giving me a pedicure type can't STAND it.

Never above the ankles people.

And seriously, your Dad was a clown? With clown friends??!!?

I would need a lot of therapy.

Atlanta said...

I went through one of mine last night. I was driving, and ya know those constuction zones with the WALL, ya know the one that looks like you could reach out and touch it? The one where there are many giant marks from others who have evidently HIT IT before? I panic. I went through 6 MILES. yup, 6 flippin miles of that. On my side, with a guard rail directly to the right. White knuckle grip on the wheel, feeling like I am going to have a heart attack and with my neck and shoulders so rigid I had a headache after. Irrational? I'd say so. My hubs was sitting in the passenger seat: "You're ok, just realx. "4 more miles", "Just breathe".... and the list goes on. See you arent so strange. But you are right, you ARE rad and I am confused as to why we have not been Blog friends all along. This shall now be rectified.

Pat Cashin said...


I'm the clown in the photo that you've posted. I understand and share your aversion to SOME "clowns".

I have been a professional circus clown for 15 years and often meet the type of people that you've described here.

It's a shame that more people don't get to see better clowns, people such as Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Barry Lubin or Tomas Kubinek.

Unfortunately, the clowns that most people see are clowns that they meet at backyard birthday parties and county fairs.

And unfortunately they are invariably similar to what you've experienced, obnoxious people in smeary makeup.