Do you find yourself having difficulty closing your eyes at night, since the fibers of your being are telling you to keep one eye open … just in case?
We learned this as kids: The willingness to submit ourselves to sleep carries with it a certain amount of risk. In those days, we created a monster under the bed to symbolize the fear that paralyzed us until we’d wake in a state of semi-conscious reality.
Of course, no monsters were waiting — although now, our cat tends to keep itself under the bed … ready to pounce on our feet when the lights, literally and figuratively, go out.
As adults, we’ve come to discover so many more triggers (rational or not) to incite our fears. Today, we’re walking in a state of semi-consciousness ... terrors around every corner.
An Ashland City Council member said this week that he prays there won’t be an earthquake whenever he enters what he calls a “death trap” — the town’s aging and seismically questionable City Hall.
“We’re on borrowed time,” the Public Works director added in relation to the state of the building (and, of course, ourselves).
The fear seems rational — I often offer a Pastafarian prayer when driving the Medford viaduct — but particularly so in relationship to what else raises the hair on the back of the necks of Ashland residents ... smart meters, vaccinations, chemtrails, cell towers, Californians, plastic bags, public art, homeless people, chain stores, GMOs, “aggressive” deer, Republicans, non-biodegradable drinking straws, the stench of marijuana and Californians (to name a few).
Did I say Californians twice? Well, Ashlanders are doubly afraid of Californians … and why not? Random groups of conspiracy-theory lugnuts have convinced some of our southern neighbors that they’ll be fined $1,000 each time they wash their clothes and bathe in the same day.
While Californians are now showering wearing dirty duds to avoid the fine, they’re missing the bigger picture — how is the gubmint keeping track of them in the laundry, or the bathroom?
Must be them smart meters.
But these concerns shouldn’t work folks into a lather compared to the Battle of the Bombast about to take place in Singapore.
In one corner, we have an ethically challenged, eccentrically coiffed overlord who’s prone to making off-the-cuff inflammatory threats and has his finger in range of the nuclear button.
In the other corner … well, we have the same thing.
The president (ours, at least) pooh-poohed the need for preparation before the Sentosa summit and, frankly, why would a world leader who accused the wrong nation of burning down the White House in the War of 1812 (in his defense, he was confused about which war we fought in 1812), then took time to tell pro athletes who didn’t want to spend time in his company that they weren’t welcomed on the grounds — for exercising their First Amendment rights during the playing of the National Anthem that … wait for it … was written while the White House burned during the War of 1812 … why should he be worried about shooting the Shinola with a guy whose country issues guidelines to acceptable haircuts?
I might be worried. You might be worried. Heck, even Alfred E. Neuman and Bobby McFerrin might be worried.
But, I’ve got a lot on my plate these days. So do you. We needn’t to fret about this. If I had to make a list, I’d say that my biggest fears are that the driver behind me is too busy texting to see the light has turned red and that I forgot to tell the waitress that I didn’t want mayo on my sandwich — neither would end well.
Now, because every piece about rational and irrational concerns requires this reference, it should be noted that it was a little over 85 years ago that FDR said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. He, of course, never had to enter Ashland City Hall, drive over the viaduct or have a smart meter attached to the White House, recording his bath times.
Eight years later, 11 months before Pearl Harbor, FDR gave what has become known as the Four Freedoms Speech.
“The fourth is freedom from fear,” he said, “which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”
So, is the tough-to-swallow scenario of two less-than-stable world leaders chewing the fat while chomping Big Macs really going to be enough to give me insomnia, never mind indigestion?
Of course it is … two eyes closed, one eye open, monsters everywhere.
Mail Tribune senior designer Robert Galvin, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, jumps over fences to put sheep to sleep.