Fears. Phobias. Things that make you want to wet your pants. We all have them. My greatest fear?
Heights. No doubt. I'm a heights wuss. If I had a custom wall quote summarizing my philosophy on life it would read, "If you take me anywhere high, you will get punched in the face." (BTW - you can get this or any other wall quote, wall art, vinyl lettering, etc. from Belvedere Deisgns, a new NMH sponsor.)
But before getting into what the Normal Mormon Wife and I are afraid of, please post some comments outlining your greatest fears. It would be interesting to see what keeps this group up at night. Other than living on the east coast and trying to stay up until 1:00 a.m. to see how the Lakers-Jazz games end, that is. Being an east coast sports fan stinks!
In addition to heights, my top-five list of fears also includes mean dogs with sharp fangs, a murderer unexpectedly grabbing my ankle from under the bed, having a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler, and every person who attended Kearns High School. But none of those four even come close to my insane fear of heights.
I have been terrified of heights for as long as I can remember. This phobia may have started as a small child sitting in the back seat of the family car as my dad would drive us through Little Cottonwood Canyon. Dad thought it was hilarious to veer our Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra toward 100-foot cliffs that were right next to the road, which lacked guardrails. As soon as we were mere inches from plummeting to a horrific, fiery death, my dad would then pretend that he was losing control of the car and we were all goners.
Five family members would laugh at my dad's “I’m gonna kill my whole family” joke. I, on the other hand, would lose control of important bodily functions and then have to pretend for the rest of the day that I spilled lemonade in my lap. You know, stale lemonade that smelled strongly of ammonia.
While I am terrified of heights, they do not bother the Normal Mormon Wife in the least bit. In fact, she seems to enjoy them. The NMW would be up for wholesome recreational activities like a hot air balloon ride, bungee jumping, or skydiving if she were not married to such a pansy. (I bet a manly man like Jack from Lost would take the NMW bungee jumping from a hot air balloon if given the chance. This is why the Normal Mormon Family will never, ever visit Hollywood again. I just can't risk the two of them meeting each other.)
While my fear is heights, the NMW is afraid of bugs. Not small insects that she could easily kill like ants, caterpillars, lady bugs, or Ryan Seacrest. The NMW is afraid of larger, creepier-crawlier bugs like big beetles, grasshoppers, grubs, and man-eating worms. I feel bad that she is afraid of certain insects because you can encounter bugs anytime, anywhere, without being able to prepare yourself for it. It's sort of like running into Suge Knight at the grocery store. At least with a fear of heights I can prepare myself in advance for a drive through the canyon, a visit to the top of a high rise, or being shot out of a circus cannon. Heights never sneak up on you. But bugs? They'll get you when you least expect it.
On Friday morning, the NMW least expected it.
I got a frantic phone call from her that morning as I drove into work. As best I can remember, here is what the 9-1-1 transcript would have looked like:
Me: "G'morning, hot pants."
NMW, sounding panicked: “There is a huge centipede inside our house! Not a small centipede, a HUGE one! It's on the stairs outside our bedroom door. What do I do!!?? How do I kill it?"
Me, sounding like Jack Bauer: "Smash it with a broom!" (Then, after fearing that the broom bristles may be too flimsy to smash the centipede.) "No! Not a broom. Use the Swiffer! It's firmer. Yeah, use the Swiffer!" (I think Jack Bauer has killed at least forty-two terrorists with a Swiffer, right?)
NMW: But won't that just smoosh it into the carpet? I don't want to leave a big mess."
Me: "Oh! I know. Get the bug spray and spray it first. That should stun it so it doesn't move. Then you can kill it easier!" (I'm half tempted to tell her to light a match and hold it up to the nozzle of the aerosol bug spray can and just torch the centipede, but I'd hate to lose the house in a raging inferno over a caterpillar on steroids.)
NMW: I don't think the bug spray would work on it. This isn't an ant or a potato bug. It's a centipede! A CEN-TUH-PEED!"
Me: "Okay, just use a shoe."
NMW: "I can't get my hand that close to that thing! What if it bites me? Centipedes bite hard, don't they?"
Me: "You could put on the big yellow rubber toilet scrubbing gloves if you're afraid it's going to bite you." (I'm pretty sure that by the time the NMW confronts the centipede she will be wearing yellow rubber gloves with a couch cushion duct taped to her chest and a metal spaghetti strainer on her head as a helmet.)
NMW: "I don't know if I can do this! I'm terrified right now."
Me: "Do you need me to come home?" (I'm secretly hoping she says, "Yes, yes, you brave, brave, sexy man! Please, instead of going to work, come home and vanquish the hideous beast!" But....)
NMW: "No, don't come home. I'm getting the broom. I'll call you back."
Me: (Darn it!)
Ten minutes later my phone rings....
NMW: "It's gone."
Me: "What? It's gone?"
NMW: "Yep, it's gone. When I came back up the stairs it was gone. I think it might be hiding in the load of laundry.
Me: "Good. Just take the laundry basket outside."
NMW: "What if I just did the load of laundry with the centipede in it? There no way a centipede could survive both the wash and the dry cycles, right?"
Me: "Yeah, that would definitely kill it." (And some people think the CIA was too rough by water boarding blood-thirsty terrorists at Guantanamo. The CIA's got nothin' on the NMW.)
NMW: "But wouldn't that be too messy? It's all about the mess for me. This thing is HUGE!"
Me: "Hon, I am both worried for and amused by you at the same time."
NMW: "Those are appropriate reactions. I'm taking the laundry outside and hope the centipede will slink away. I'll call you later."
About twelve minutes later my phone rings again....
NMW: "I didn't see it leave the laundry basket. What if it's hiding in our bed?"
Me: "Don't worry about it." (Great. I'm really worried about the NMW at this point. Now that she has imagined the centipede in our bed she will probably be sleeping in the van for the next month. Good thing we have Stow 'N Go seating in the Caravan. What can I say to help her remember that we are only talking about an insect here? Oh! I know! Talk about an axe murderer!) "It's not like an axe murderer is hiding behind every door in the house just waiting to jump out and scare you. It's just a bug. We'll take care of it."
NMW: "I'm not worried about an axe murderer. I'm worried about the CEN-TUH-PEED!"
Me: "You gonna be okay?" (Please, please, please tell me to come home to comfort you!)
NMW: "I guess I'll be okay. I'll call you if I see it again."
Me: (Darn it!)
The NMW never called back. I feel so bad for my awesome wife. Having a centipede on the loose in our house is honestly terrifying for her. I wish I could just find that darn thing and then have some fun with it before getting rid of it. You know, rough it up a little bit. Make it sweat. Make it pay for scaring my wife. Put it in the bird feeder for a few minutes. Dangle it over our sharp, pointy, thorny bushes. Tell it some mean "Yo' mamma....." jokes.
All of this means that we still have a rogue centipede somewhere in our house. I'm pretty sure he's conspiring with the ants, lady bugs and mosquitoes to kill us in our sleep somehow. If the insects end up whacking me tonight, please have my remains cremated and spread along Carolina Beach.
Just don't spread my ashes from anywhere too high.
That would totally freak me out.
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