Friday, August 6, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Post

My wife was feeling a little exposed after her surgery.  I'm sure most of us feel that way when we are in a state of vulnerability.  You find yourself hurting and you can't do for yourself and others like you once did.  So I'm about to do something that only a good husband would do.  I'm going to expose myself! That's right.  My wife shouldn't be the only one exposed!

I'm also going to explain myself here (now) before I have some explaining to do to my wife (later).  You don't have to divert your eyes.  It's not that kind of exposure. (You are welcome, BTW.)  I'm going to tell everyone a fear that I have.  I'm pretty sure that my wife doesn't even know this.  But before I tell you what my fear is, I going to tell you what I think about fear.  (Don't worry.  I got my Degree in Psychology from a Cracker Jack box.  So this will be quick (and completely inaccurate).)

There are 3 kinds of fear.  There is regular, plain old fear.  This fear is like when a child is afraid of the dark...  or thunder and lightning... or the bully at school.  Most fear is lumped in this category.  Then you have phobias.  That's like when you are afraid of heights and you want climb a ladder to save your life.  Or when you are so afraid of crawling bugs (like spiders) or flying bugs (like moths (Yeah, I said moths.)) that you do insanely irrational things to even avoid eye contact with the evil little creatures that weigh less than a quarter and couldn't even lift your shoe if you placed it on them.  In the first fear, you can probably be talked down from this and function normally if the fear presented itself.  The second fear... not so much.

The 3rd fear is a little different.  It's not a regular fear and it's not a phobia.  I call it a situational fear.  For example...  I'm not afraid of spiders, snakes or moths.  But if I rolled over in my bed and I noticed either of them (minus the moth) next to me, I would probably exit the bed rather quickly (like a phobia) and think of how to fix the issue (like a regular fear).  So you see, it can be both or something else all together.

Now, I'm not sure why I gave that lesson on fear.  I guess I did it so it wouldn't make my fear seem as bad.  Maybe I did it because I'm stalling so I don't have to tell you what I agreed to tell you at the beginning of the blog.  Actually, if I play this one right, I might be able to completely change the focus of this blog and have you forget what I was even talking about.  Say, if I... I don't know.... threw out a random statement. Like...
Johnny Depp during the Paris premiere of Publi...

Hey, did you know that there's a new Pirates of the Caribbean coming out?!?

See, now that was great!  That Johnny Depp is one awesome actor.  There isn't role he can't play.  And can you believe they are making a 4th installment of series called Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (coming out in 2011).

What's that you say???  You didn't like the random statement or the Johnny Depp pic?  You really just want me to get to my fear. (Hmmm.... I really need to rethink my plans.)  OK. Fine.  I will just come out and say it.

I'm afraid of horses. I'm not even sure how to categorize this fear.  It's not a phobia because I can be around horses.  I just don't like being "around" horses.  But here's the oddest thing about it.  I LOVE horses!  I think they are beautiful, majestic creatures.  Some might ask how can I like something and be afraid of it at the same time.  I'm not sure how that works but I'm like that with law enforcement too!  So, this issue of mine is not isolated.

I know I'm not the only one afraid of horses.  I know it for a fact because I'm friends with a few people who are afraid but may or may not admit it.  And I'm not going to mention any names to protect the guilty.  But several years back there were 5 or 6 of us at another friends house.  His father owned horses.  We had always seen the horses but were never asked to be around the horses.

On one visit, however, he asked us to meet him at the barn because he had to feed the wonderful (scary) creatures.  (I guess they have to eat too.)  So all of us fellas made our way to the gate that led to the field that led to the barn (that Jack built).  Now, keep in mind it was VERY dark outside.  I don't know if you have ever been in the country where there are NO streetlights (or any other lights for that matter) at night.  If you haven't... Go into your bathroom, turn off all of your lights, put some sunglasses on, close your eyes and pretend you are in Wyoming.  That's about how dark it is.

Our goal was just to go from the gate to the barn.  But NONE of us wanted to be the first to open the gate.  We must have thought that a herd of wild stallions were just waiting for some poor soul to open the gate just a little and provide them the one moment they needed to make their great escape.  That wasn't the case because there wasn't that many horses there.  But when you are afraid, you think of silly crap like that.

We finally got enough courage to open the gate and make our way to the barn. (We made sure to close the back because we didn't want those stallions to crush our cars on the way to their sweet freedom.)  If you can imaging 5 or 6 manly men tip-toeing through the tulips to keep from making a sound.  We didn't want to startle the man-eating horse beasts that were in this HUGE (several acres) enclosed area.  Plus we knew the horses were hungry because it was feeding time.  And no one wanted make a mistake and become horse food.

The other thing that made this situation look pretty funny is that all of us manly men were standing VERY close together (tight formation).  That was for safety as well.  Horses will try to pick you off one at a time.  But they become confused around large groups of humans.  So we bunched together to make sure that no man was left behind.  You might laugh but the plan worked!  We didn't lose a single soldier to those belligerent broncos.

Well, we make it to the barn (where there was light) and we watch our friend and his father put out the horse feed.  When it was all done, we were told to head back up to the house.  I don't remember what they had to do, but our friend and his father wouldn't be joining us on the journey back either.  The fear that was gone for about 10 minutes inside the barn soon came back when we realized that were going to have to do the same thing again!

So we get to the barn door and try to push it open.  But it won't move.  Something is blocking the door.  I'll bet you will NEVER guess what that was.  YEP! A horse decided that he had us right where he wanted us.  And he wasn't moving!  We didn't want to tell our friend an his father that we were afraid so one of us (wasn't me) walked up to the door and tried pushing it and the horse.  For those who don't know (like us), the average horse weighs about 1000lbs.  So neither the door nor the horse moved.

Another one of us realized that the door wasn't going to move until the horse got out of the way.  So he started reasoning with the horse.  "Move horse.  We are trying to get back to the house.  Just get out of the way. Go."  I guess this horse was from another country because it didn't understand English.  Either that or it didn't really care what we had to do that night.  And even with a few of us reasoning with him, the horse just stood there.

Finally, the biggest one of us was fed up.  He decided to express his dominance over the beast of burden and show the horse that man is the top of the food chain and they would do well to remember that.  So he pushed through us to get to the door and started clapping and yelling, "GO! NOW YOU GET OUT OF HERE! MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!"  The yelling along with the clapping sent that horse running.  It was awesome!  My friend turned around and looked at the rest of us and said, "Now THAT'S how you do it."

But what he (and the rest of us) failed to realize was that there was more than one horse on the other side of that door.  So as we started to walk out of the door, the second horse stuck his head into the door way.  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US screamed like little schoolgirls!!! (No offense to little girls. But I have 3 so I know what I'm talking about there.)  I promise you, if the horse had said BOO we would all died right then and there.  He knew what he was doing.  He smelled our fear.  And I'm sure he and his other horse buddies planned the whole thing and laughed about it for months after we left.  Needless to say, that confirmed what I thought about horses and helped fuel my fear.

Since then I have come to grips with the whole fear of horses.  I have even agreed to go horseback riding with my wife... one day. :)  It was my idea and I actually look forward to it (sorta).  So, there ya go.  That was me exposing myself to you.  I hope we can all still be friends.  I probably exposed more than I had planned to when I originally started this post.  But, hey... what's a little overexposure between friends. And, Honey... Just forget everything you just read.  You know it's not true.  I'm not afraid of anything (including, but not limited to, moths).

P.S. If you are reading this and were a part of this little adventure, you have the option to make yourself known or stay quite.  But facing your fear head-on is liberating.  I didn't name names but if you choose to name yourself you will be taking the first step to taming your fear.