Saturday, March 16, 2019

Choked With Fear

No. 16 of 31 - Thermometer series

All through my life, even if there’s a shortage of everything else, there’s never a shortage of fear and trepidation. Trembling, cowering, hunkering down, just me and my periscope. And it’s overwhelming, so vividly horrible it splashes over me like a bucket of cold water on a winter day, chilling me unto my soul, my very last bone.

Yet I'm always surrounded by aides and associates, so you’d think I’d be knowing, showing, and even evincing, the greatest calm and confidence. Friends indeed are cheerful and confident, which sometimes is their biggest fault. They're not watching like a hawk. They don't see the constant danger. Just cheerleaders. I see cheerleaders on TV, who aren't even watching the game, so how do they know what cheers we need? We might be doing great, then the cheer is: “Our team is dynamite, we’re gonna win tonight!“ Or maybe we’re having troubles and we need backup: “Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, way back!”

So often, believe it or not, I am choked by fear, because my perception of what’s going on is always crystal clear. I’ve got a sixth sense, some level of foreknowledge, and eyes in the back of my head. I should’ve been a teacher, but those opportunities are long past. And call me a nervous nelly, but I know what we’re up against. I could name three blogs better than mine, and that’s just in the Western Hemisphere. I hesitate to even mention the Pastun and Iraqi herdsmen and their formidable blogs. If you think those guys are wimps, think again. They've grown up in danger; they know the facts of life. They snack on nails and gargle razor blades. And their breath matches their appetite, smelling alternately like a construction site and shaving kit.

Then there’s the other enemies. Homegrown naysayers, which are the worst kind, because they’re always at the door, always in your face like a Greek chorus, bemoaning your fate while also rubbing it in. I frankly believe their glory’s in someone else’s shame, the same way my 8th grade biology teacher rubbed it in when I couldn’t name the parts of the reproductive system. I wrote “Pipes and tubes, rubs and lubes,” and got a stinking F. But it worked out OK for me. As it turned out, we didn't have kids, but I and a girlfriend had a few close calls.

OK, these homegrown naysayers ... I describe them pretty well on today's thermometer. Urchins, rugrats, etc. Hanging around the neighborhood telling me to go to hell, etc. I pity their poor parents. Their poor parents work all day, then come home, and the neighborhood has too much sympathy to describe the little hellions for what they are. We’re willing to let bygones be bygones, but it’d be great if they told us they never plan to breed again, and would at least consider retroactively rescinding their existing issue.

I and my team don't want to be too discouraged. And we will make it, I believe, if we don’t lose focus. I remain optimistic. My friends, I do believe we have a clear hope and a clear pathway by which to attain it. I wet my easy chair so you don’t have to. Stay with me. And let’s see this thing along all the way even to its glorious conclusion. It remains my hope, my fervent expectation, that we shall see thermometers popping off all over the world -- POP, there goes one now -- and at long last a grand and wonderful victory that will make me proud and, by extension, you.

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