Fear. Yes, it's just a little, four-lettered f-word. But it gets on my flipping wick. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of milk, and I'll tell you why.
Fear dominates my whole waking life, and even my sleep. Recently, I dreamt I was on a drinking binge in a small northern port with Captain Kirk out of yon Starship Enterprise.
He had his uniform on and thought he was a big hit with the local burdz. But they were tittering at him and getting off instead with scowling baldies in shin-length shorts.
Suddenly, Kirk got his phaser out. And I'm not using the word "phaser" metaphorically.
Quickly, the baldies put their shades on as defensive shields, but they were no use. Kirk fired and the slapheads fell like skittles, which is a good analogy as these too are bald.
We fled the scene, though Kirk remained calm and said: "We will seek refuge with the Kardashians." I'd heard of the Kardashians, but only knew they had a terrifying hold on men.
With surprising ease, Kirk found their cave in the misty hills. As so often, I felt shock on encountering another species.
The Kardashians had huge hooters and wore suspenders on their upper legs.
They approached us with sinister smiles, holding their arms out like zombies. The one approaching me said in a hideously deep voice: "I am called Kim." I screamed and suddenly woke in a sweat, mumbling the words: "Beam me up north, Scotty!"
If that's what my sleep is like, imagine how awful it is being awake. Fear is forever with me. I'm permanently scared. Of what? Of everything, of course.
Recently, planning a trip to watch a footer tournament, I realised I was scared of the following: (1) the traffic; (2) having enough petrol; (3) parking; (4) encountering supporters of the other mob; (5) finding myself at the game next to fanatics who expected me to sing, whoop and so forth; (6) the lavatorial arrangements, and whether I'd be expected to micturate in a sink, with a large queue of yahoos waiting behind me, like last time; (7) whether I'd be put under pressure to have a drink now that I'm teetotal; (8) whether I'd get home in time to watch my usual episode of The Waltons before bed; (9) whether I'd left the bathroom windows open after my morning shower; (10) whether North Korea had a nuclear bomb.
You may say some of these are just "worries" rather than fears, but they're all stripes of the same kidney. Naught there for one's comfort.
I witter thus as preamble to my point. Yes, that stunned you. I have a point, and it is this: it's 25 years since publication of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, possibly the most influential self-help book ever. I bought it, almost certainly to conquer my fear of public speaking.
I read Susan Jeffers' book but, alas, I never retain any information from reading.
I didn't get where I am today by retaining information. However, a newspaper article tells me the main thesis was that the only way to conquer your fear is to do what you're afraid of.
Aye, thanks for that. I'll just go away out now and make a speech, reverse-park into a tight space, and defuse North Korea's nuclear bomb.
Never going to happen - I'm afraid.