So, as I mentioned, I just found out that my friend Julie Zickefoose is afraid of having a clam clamp down on her foot. I thought that was sort of random, as phobias go. Until she supplied the missing element, which is that the clam clamps down on her foot and pulls her under the water, which truly is terrifying. I, too, am afraid of drowning. I can't stand movies that depict, in any scene, someone being pulled underwater by a rope looped on a foot, or a chain and the combined weight of fellow slaves, and drowned. Approximately 40% of movies produced in the last decade contain such a scene. I don't go to the movies anymore unless Gene Wilder is certified to be in them.
And this is in spite of something I take to be true--that drowning is actually an almost pleasant way to die. We know this because many people have drowned and been yanked back to life, and they report back. Regardless, it's a fear of mine. I've never hauled clams into the scenario, though. It would have to be one big-ass clam.
I'm not afraid of snakes, if someone hands me one nicely, although the unexpected ones can startle me something fierce; and I think the whole idea of snakes that climb trees or swim is a bad one, but we don't have swimming or tree-climbing snakes here. Basically, I'm not interested in dying, although I don't have any real objections to being dead. Later.
But back when I had some of your standard phobias, they all had something to do with dying. I was
And all that made the incident at Harper's Ferry especially interesting. I was there hiking with friends, in high school. We'd done a few miles, and it was getting dark, or we were getting hungry, or tired, or some such calamity, and we realized that we could slice off several miles of the return trek if we took the railroad bridge across the river. No one was allowed on the bridge, but this is not an important detail when you're a teenager. Trains didn't come by that often. Everyone agreed on the new plan, and we all started across.
I haven't been afraid of railway trains since. You can only get so scared, and then you're either dead or you've moved on. I do turn my sweatshirts inside out at the cabin.