There are some brave souls out there (I prefer the term those who are severely misguided and possess just a pinch of malice) who might infer, or even insist, that I am a paranoid person. I'd reject this misnomer, but when I combed back through my archival memory for evidence suggesting the opposite, I only found a couple of proverbial file cabinets, empty, save for a fifth of whiskey and a dusting of cobwebs. So those lame-asses can say whatever they want. The fact remains that I've never gotten a speeding ticket, never missed a flight (due to my own lack of planning, that is, and unfortunately not due to the stunning ineptitude of the airline industry at large), never broken a bone, and have actually managed to never get called in for jury duty (knock on wood). And you know what else? I am absolutely prepared and in eager anticipation for whatever natural disaster might fester and erupt wherever I happen to be. Earthquake? Already thought we had three today, so this? This is nothing. And I have an earthquake kit. Tornado? Meet my basement. Intruders of ill-intentions? I invite you to peruse my shoe collection, two-point-one seconds before one of my 5-inch heels gets intimate with your eye socket.
In other words, BOOM. The worst that life might throw my way? I'm two steps ahead of you, Life. I've already thought about it. And if insurance can be purchased for it, you can bet I've slapped my debit card down on the counter of Unforeseeable Events and said, "Give me the deluxe package. No wait, make it two." Sure, my dreams are populated with the kinds of catastrophic and malevolent events that would make Jack Bauer pause, throw up his hands in defeat and say, "Yeah, I don't even know, man..." But I prefer to think of it less as my brain subconsciously dealing with stress that is mostly self-imposed, and more like I'm in training for the Unknowable Future Olympics, and I am going win that gold. USA! USA! USA!
Where's a Vuvuzela when you need one?
Okay, sure, some fears are approaching the outskirts of Unfoundedville, but I maintain that underwater death by an angry octopus would be a horrific way to die, so can you blame me if I decide to eke out a small portion of my day and devote it to figuring out an escape plan?* No, you cannot. And for the record, I'm pretty sure people who have lost all their limbs didn't exactly see it coming so I might as well be prepared for the worst, right? I mean, at least I won't have to contend with the whole shock factor of it all. "Yes, the reason I'm calm even though my head has rolled down a flight of stairs and is no longer attached to my body, which is currently stuck under a two ton slab of concrete, is because I totally knew this would happen. Therefore, in a sense, I'm right, aren't I? And let me tell you: No amount of morphine dulls the pain of a beheading quite like smug self-satisfaction."
Much like the train I imagine being nailed by every time a cross over railroad tracks at night, I feel we've gotten derailed here. Believe it or not, though I let my mind run amok with what-ifs, I do actually try to keep those thoughts from ever reaching the light of day. So that time you decided to text someone while driving and I was sitting next to you in the passenger seat frantically pressing my imaginary Passenger Brake while secretly imagining life as a cripple with half a face? Yeah, bet you didn't have a clue. Or that time we were sitting together at lunch having a lovely conversation about the alleged Arrested Development movie and a look of terror flickered across my face for a second too infinitesimal for you to notice? Oh, just thought we were having an earthquake. And if you noticed that my eyes didn't shift from your gaze once, it's because I already called dibs on the doorway to the left, and dude, if you try to duck and cover under there with me I will KICK SOME ASS because I totally, silently, CALLED IT.
The point is, outwardly, I do manage to keep it together for the most part. But you can imagine my delight when I ran across these scans from a vintage safety booklet aimed at kids and teens. Because now it all makes perfect sense! I'm not paranoid, I'm probably just time-transplanted into the future when where I really belong is in 1950, where people still had a healthy dose of fear to keep them motivated. So if you're ever wondering what kinds of scenarios are running through this head of mine when you talk about your plans for the day, here's a small clue. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't finish most stories mentally with:
*For the record, it's something along the lines of: Make sure to wear a full hazmat suit at all times whilst engaging in aquatic activities wherein octopi could be present. In the event that one has exhausted his arsenal of insidious defenses (multiple broceanic high-fives, evil internal beak, poisonous salivary secretions, ink stains on my hazmat suit), I'll simply direct personal and vicious insults his way until he breaks down and admits that yeah, it's totes the low self-esteem that causes all the nonsensical killing. This, of course, will work because octopi, like humans, have long-term memory so if I lob a few below-the-belt remarks his way while fighting for my life, dude, he's totally going to remember them the next day. And trust me, this erosion of self-esteem will eventually result in me living. As opposed to dying.