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And THAT Is What Scares Me

September 23, 2022

What scares you? What scares me?

I guess first we have to decide what it means to be scared. You know when you are watching that scary movie and then just at that crucial moment the monster pops out? That’s called a jump scare. It gives a crazy rush of adrenaline. I don’t like to be startled but I kind of like the jump scares.

The movie “A Quiet Place” was really well done. It managed to scare us without a lot of blood and gore. I thought it was great. I don’t like it when PEOPLE jump scare me. I once punched a really good friend because he jumped out and scared me after I’d asked him very nicely NOT to jump out and scare me anymore. (He didn’t do it again after I hit him.)

But, that’s not really the kind of scare I’m talking about. What frightens you? What are the things late at night that you dread?

For me, it’s lack of security. The inability to take care of my lovely wife and children. I used to be afraid of losing my job because my job represented security. But, after losing some jobs I realized that “job security” is an illusion. Jobs don’t provide security. And what is a secure job today could turn insecure tomorrow even if you did everything “right.” Losing my job doesn’t scare me anymore.

It wasn’t just the realization that there’s no such thing as a secure job. It was also some changes we made in our lives. We paid off our credit card debt. We paid off our student loans. We paid off our cars and other consumer debt. We owe on our house, but given the crazy housing market, the house is worth three times what we paid for it and four times what we still owe on it. The house is a great big piggy bank just waiting for us to cash it in if needed.

My lovely wife has had health scares off and on throughout our 35 year marriage. At times I was afraid she might not recover. And I realized there was nothing I could do about it. Her fate was really in the hands of God and the doctors. I was helpless. It was the ultimate feeling of lack of security. She’s doing very well. She recovered completely.

I’ve been diagnosed as having avoidant personality style. It was a revelation to me. I’d never heard of it. (Although it does show up once in The Expendables. One of the mercenaries has avoidant personality style. The joke is that the mercenaries don’t form emotional attachments. It’s a defense mechanism.

Yep. That’s avoidant personality style. At least it’s my style of it. I don’t easily form emotional attachments. I’m devoted to my lovely wife. And my children and grandchildren are precious to me. But, deep down in a place I don’t look at very often, I have this feeling that if I needed to, I could break that emotional bond.

You know those scenes in the movies where the hero needs to kill someone he loves, but he just can’t bring himself to do it? I’m not that guy. I’d do a quick risk/reward analysis and then I’d end up pulling the trigger. I also believe that if I needed to, to defend my family, I could also pull the trigger on someone else, someone hurting my family. And I wouldn’t even feel bad about it.

There’s a Cherokee legend about a grandfather who told his grandson that there were two wolves fighting inside him, one evil, one good.

Which one will win?

The one you feed.

I believe it. And I feed the good wolf. But, I absolutely know the other wolf is there, lying in wait, not malnourished despite the fact I don’t feed him. No, he’s there waiting to be woken.

What does this have to do with fear? With being scared? With fearing a lack of security. I harbor the belief in the evil wolf as the ultimate security. The idea that ultimately I have the ability to meet any challenge. To ruthlessly destroy anyone necessary to protect my family.

Would I? Would I be able to unleash that wolf and do whatever was necessary, even hurting or killing others? None of us know how we would react. I’ve never been combat. I’ve never faced someone who wanted to kill me. Honestly I don’t know what I would do, despite my beliefs.

My fear is not that I would awaken the evil wolf. My real fear is that I wouldn’t.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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