April 2018

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fear Itself

Apologies to FDR, but there is a lot to fear other than fear itself. From the recent news, for example, there is the crazy gun-toting teen, the overwhelmed gun-toting mother and the depressed gun-toting grandmother. In our bodies, there might be high cholesterol, diabetes, or brain tumors.

In my life, there have only been a few moments of real fear: a Grand Canyon hike with "exposure" (that means a cliff with a shallow ledge to step on, where if you miss you fall acres to a rocky death); Ann's near miss with a hunting lioness in the Serengeti; a sweating and overweight Costa Rican pilot banking his small plane sharply to dodge the mountain looming before us; a chat-chewing, gun-toting "guard" in the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia; streaking rain and lightening as I climbed across steel girders of an unfinished bridge over a raging river in rural Michoacan; an adolescent bear with bad breath that stepped into my path on Crystal Mountain. And brain surgery.

I have lived a relatively low-risk life. This caution is not because I am good but because I am chicken. I have never smoked; I drink in moderation; I drive close to the speed limit (sometimes below it); actually, I do everything slowly; I eat fruits and veggies and exercise regularly (and slowly). Still, low-risk is not no-risk. With all my caution, I've still had brain tumors. Being alive itself is risky. Chances are good that one day I'll die. I've heard it happens to the best of us.

In some ways, fear and brain tumors have similar effects on folks. Both can make a person "not right in the head." Both might make a person cry or hit something. Both can be blinding.

Still, there is more to fear in fear than in brain tumors. For one thing, fear results in actions like wars that kill lots of people at once and over a long period of time. Brain tumors go for one person at a time and work at that person as long as they can. Brain tumors are not contagious, but fear seems to spread. Fear makes some people violent, whereas for me anyway, brain tumors just make me sleepy.

Off to nap now. Mary

1 comment:

  1. I think you are starting to abuse your tumor. It is quite obvious to anyone who knows anyone in your immediate family that your laziness has nothing to do with the tumor, but is just something that is part of your genetic makeup (like the blue eyes and the auburn hair).


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