I’m not afraid anymore

I used to be really scared of bugs, but come on, bugs aren’t that scary. Sure, some of them can sting and pinch and poison, but for the most part they’re all really small and harmless. Like I saw this silverfish hanging out on my bedroom wall the other day, and I looked at it, and for a second I was like, man, I hate bugs. But after another second I was like, I’m not scared of bugs, I’m not scared of this silverfish, that silverfish should be scared of me. So I reached for a slipper and – smack! – right against the wall. I had to clean it up though, and now there’s kind of a little stain. But I don’t really know how I’m supposed to go about getting it out of the bedroom without killing it. Whatever, at least I’m not really scared of bugs anymore.

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I used to be really afraid of getting in a car accident. But then I thought, why am I so scared? I’ve already been in like ten car accidents, seven of them were definitely my fault, and I’m no worse for the wear. Obviously I’m not trying to diminish the seriousness of automobile safety or anything like that, and yeah, if you or a loved one has been through a life-altering car crash, I hope I’m not coming across as insincere. It’s just that, from my point of view anyway, from my experience, I can’t afford to be scared of car accidents anymore. Like I said, I’ve already been in like a dozen, maybe fifteen or sixteen car accidents, the majority of them my fault, like this one time I was driving a big cargo van and I sideswiped this lady’s Jaguar, it was a really slow speed, like we were in a parking lot, but still, I got out of the car and she was like, “My Jaguar! My baby!” and I apologized and, yeah, that sucks, I didn’t want to mess up her Jaguar, but the insurance took care of everything. And besides, a year or two years later, I was driving my car on the highway when an SUV sideswiped my two-door Hyundai Accent at full highway speed. And the SUV pulled over and these big meat-heads came out and the one guy gave me two hundred bucks, cash, like he wasn’t negotiating, he wasn’t saying to me, “Do you think we could settle this for two hundred dollars?” no, he just handed me the cash, got back in his car and drove away. And in the cosmic scale of justice and the universe and everything, I think I’m tit-for-tat with that Jaguar lady, and so what do I have to be afraid of? The universe will take care of everything, me being scared isn’t going to change a thing.

And it’s like, I used to be terrified of flying. I never had any panic attacks or anything, you know, every time that I’ve had to fly somewhere, I’ve always boarded the plane, taken my seat, everything without incident. But I used to sit there in complete terror as the plane taxied down the runway, imagining how just after takeoff, there’d be a sudden loss in power, everything would go dead, and I’d actually feel it, the sensation of being subtly lifted from my seat as my body and everything around me starts to free-fall. But come on, I can’t waste my time being afraid of planes. Nothing’s going to happen. And if it does happen, whatever, I just take three or four Xanax right before the flight anyway. If that free-fall thing actually started to happen, if I wasn’t already in the middle of a chemically-induced superpower nap, I’d probably enjoy it, the floating on the plane matching the floating in my head.

And I always used to get so bent out of shape about global warming. I’d imagine all sorts of prehistoric bugs and snakes making their way to my northeastern climate. But then people started telling me stuff like, “It’s not just global warming, OK Rob, it’s climate change.” And I’m like, that’s not too bad. More extreme seasons? I actually kind of prefer that. Because, don’t you hate it when you get all the way to March or April and there’s hardly been any snow? You can’t go skiing, the schools never close, I never get to call up my boss and say stuff like, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it in today.” No, I want like real seasons. And if the climate’s changing around me to make that actually happen, then I’m totally behind it. Or if not behind it, at least I’m not scared anymore.

I used to be really scared that I was too scared about everything, always worrying, playing out these horrible nightmare scenarios in my head. But I’m not scared anymore. Because what’s to be scared of? I heard this song on the classic radio station, and at the end, the singer records himself in a really old-time record-sounding voice, he says something like, “You don’t have to be scared of anything, except for fear itself.” And it really just stuck with me, because nothing’s going to happen, right, it’s like that car accident I was talking about before, even if something does happen, how bad can it be? What’s the worst that can happen, really?

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