"That bad man will come and get us"

We have nothing to fear but fax machines and finger fumbles that wipe out lengthy blog drafts.  And miller moths flying up the legs of our bell-bottom pants making us lose control of our 1961 Plymouth Sport Fury.  The evaporated verbose entry began with the bell-bottoms and the proclamation about the "bad man" by a three year old student.  We were out for a little nature walk just listening to birds, feeling the wind on our skin, seeing squirrels in the trees, and noticing the guy in the parking lot talking on his cellphone.  My what big eyes he had.  My what big teeth and a coffee mug.  My what big ears and a cigarette, and that same navy striped knit shirt he wears any day when he's not meeting clients.


Three year olds are afraid of many things.  This is a countdown of things that send them into a mass tizzy:

  1. thunder
  2. ants
  3. garbage trucks
  4. loud toilets
  5. fresh fruit
  6. sirens
  7. spiders
  8. bees
  9. fire trucks
  10. power failures
  11. new vegetables
  12. foods touching each other
  13. paint on hands
  14. strangers
  15. shots

Once upon a time I was frightened of big cities, not having ever visited one.  I called my fear "metrophobia".  On my first trip to Washington, D.C. I overcame much of that fear by learning to negotiate the Metro transit system.  Twenty-five years later I still love the DC subway system except for the out-of-service escalators..

We have nothing to fear but faxing itself.  FDR did not say that, but it is still true.  My metrophobia is mostly gone, but I'm holding firm to faxophobia.  There are things in this world that are really scary--hunger, abuse, exploitation, lack of clean water, war, gang violence, long-term unemployment.  I was going to make jokes about credit card debt, termite swarms, old age, and other things that will come and get us.

I don't know whether to read an old Nancy Drew mystery with a black widow spider, or to watch the quicksand scene from Lawrence of Arabia.  It is thundering.  Angels are bowling.  Christian soldiers are marching onward.  Mothers are serving brussels sprouts to innocent preschoolers.  Moths are just waiting for you to flick on the bathroom light in the middle of the night.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

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