People are afraid of some really weird things. In my nursing school days, psychology classes were always my favorite, because the human mind is an incredible thing. It not only simultaneously runs about seven million processes in the body, it carves out time to develop deep and unusual psychosis in some people. You could spend the rest of your days studying the brain and still never have a complete grasp of what it’s capable of. And that’s pretty ironic, considering you’d be using the very organ you’re studying to study it.
I’m afraid of a lot of things that don’t make sense. When I was a little kid, I was terrified of gloves. The fear actually followed me into adulthood, but after I moved to Ohio and suffered a few winters without gloves, I got over it. I have no explanation for the fear — I never had a bad glove experience, there wasn’t a glove boogey man, and my parents never locked me in closet full of gloves. It’s just one of those things. My brain decided I was afraid of gloves, so I was.
Irrational fear is extremely hard for other people to understand. Because as screwed-up as society is, there is still a base level for rational. Most people don’t scream when they see a potato that’s been left until it grows hideous, blood sucking tendrils, and they tend to look at you funny when you do.
When we were cleaning out the old truck, I was digging around under the cabinets, trying to get all the dirt and funk that had accumulated out. The bottom cabinet is dark, and it’s hard to see things that get shoved all the way to the sidewall unless you’re lying on the floor with a flashlight. I was on my knees, just giving it a cursory swipe, without the benefit of a flashlight. When I touched the arm of the monster, I jumped back so quick I almost knocked myself out on the opposite wall. I then managed to ping myself out of the truck at approximately the speed of light.
George was doing whatever it is truckers do under the hood of their trucks. He knew from the look on my face I was terrified.
“Babe? What’s wrong?”
“There’s something alive under the cabinets. I felt the arm of it. It was horrible.”
“The arm of it? How big is it?”
“Big enough to eat my face off.”
I’d like to note here that he didn’t seem really concerned, and wasn’t moving quickly toward the cab to fend the monster off. I, however, was moving very quickly towards anywhere that wasn’t in the general vicinity of the face-eating monster.
About 20 minutes later, George comes into the house with what I can only describe as the scariest looking potato I’ve ever seen in my life. It made me scream so loud, my own dog tried to bite me.
“Calm down!!! It’s a potato! It must have rolled out of the groceries.”
“Get it away from me! Aauuuugghhh! Why did you bring it in the house?!! Aaaauuuugghhh!!”
And even though I knew it was only a potato, I couldn’t stop being afraid of it. That’s what you call irrational. I’m not really sure where I was going with this, but the lessons of the day seem to be I’m weird, psychology is fascinating, and potatoes with arms growing out of them are horrifying. Tune in next week when we’ll delve into my insane hatred for the girl on the Wendy’s commercials who mumbles, “On a pretzel bun.” Class dismissed.