Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fully aware of how crazy this makes me sound

If you are reading this, chances are hugely favorable that you KNOW me.

If you KNOW me, you know that I am a tit-bit neurotic. Adorably so. Part of my charm. I freak out about things, often for about 45 seconds with the arms flailing and the voice jumping some octaves -- and then *poof* it's gone. Calm as a cucumber. Wee that was fun.

People who have waited in lines for roller coasters with me know this to the perfect example. I am almost 24 years old. I have taken some science classes in life. I know that loopy rollercoasters are made by Scandinavian engineers who test ride this stuff. I know gravity will keep me in my seat. I know that 4 Gs isn't a lethal speed. I get on the rollercoaster, I strap myself in (REPEATEDLY CHECKING THE STRAPS). The ride takes off, and I am laughing and fine. Going fast is fun! weeeeee! And then afterwards, I say "let's do it again!" and though I JUST DID IT, the process repeats itself.

But I still work myself up to such a level of absolute TERROR that I am going to be FLUNG from that seat and not have the luck to land in the wave pool at the connecting water park. I wouldn't be able to think in those four seconds about "whether I should grab onto this branch" or "I should fall on my legs cuz if they brake who cares, but don't fall on head". I would just be gripped in this moment of total fear that I am going to splat onto the parking lot and fry like an egg on the sidewalk of an august afternoon.

I have never been one to trust my brain. Sure, I got fine grades in high school and college, but NEVER have I EVER been like "it's fine, whatever, I'll just let the old noggin have a crack at it and it will be fine". I don't trust brain to remember important things (ranging from the Hecksher-Olin model to where in the crap I left my goddamn keys!). Brain has failed me before, because anxiety prevails. Exams rendered the palms clammy, the heart poundy, and the brain weepy.

I've gotten over some of the specific anxieties I had as a kid. Some of them are with me today, and have seen me through some spectacles.

But when I saw this on Boing-Boing I completely regressed.

I was PARANOID as a child that my eyes were going to fall out and hang by the optic nerve and dance on the stage of my cheekbones for all to see. I would each night before I fell asleep, align my palms on my temples and bend my fingers over make sure that the eyeballs were about evenly protruding (using the VERY scientific measure of index fingers). If they were a little uneven (which they are prone to be, especially given the angle of your vision, because eyeballs UP feels different than eyeballs DOWN) I would immediately go to the bathroom and quietly freak out, inspecting them from every angle until I had talked myself down from requesting an ambulance to the psych ward because I was a completely ridiculous worrywart EVEN AS A CHILD.

One night, when I was about 6, and I creeped into my parents room absolutely terrified. I scared the bejesus out of my mother because I poked her on the shoulder like she was awake and interruptible. I started wailing even before the poking and asked her,

"are my eyes even?"

After careful poking and prodding (and one bad dream) I had come to the decision that brain couldn't tell me if they were ok or not.

And my mother, a patient woman when it came to fears, as she was a nervous child and semi-nervous adult, before had tolerated this dribble. However, this time, she had been awakened by some severe poking, insta-sobbing, by some short thing that could clearly walk, talk, and function, so what COULD HAVE PROMPTED THIS?

She flipped over, and sternly grabbed my cheeks in one hand to muffle my sobs and said,


Then, being a good mom, she felt sort of bad for being so stern when I was clearly so distraught, so she patted my tears and my hand and got up and made sure I climbed back up to top bunk safely.

I had carried that maternal promise through the ages. Don't care what you say, brain, I don't trust you. EYEBALLS DON'T FALL OUT.

A while back I had reiterated this story to the DK, who was like "um, actually, yes. They can. And they do." But I didn't believe him. Where was this information coming from, A BRAIN? WHO TRUSTS BRAINS?

UNTIL I saw this. If eyes can fall out, you should trust eyes to see the truth. EYES CAN POP OUT. I didn't see the basketball game, but Lord, AM I GLAD I DID NOT. I take this as a note from Karma, because the player that was injured went to Villanova, which is precisely 4.9 miles from my parents' house.

SO, Brain. NOTE TO SELF: Should this childhood fear of eyeball popping actually occur: here is what you should do.

1.) look DOWN
2.) pinch and pull eyelid back
3.) take eyeball, taking care to only touch the white parts back towards the socket
4.) gently push back into socket halfway, while pulling eyelid back
5.) when about halfway in, LOOK UP
6.) your eye should take care of the rest

I'm going out on a limb here, but I MIGHT TRUST YOU TO REMEMBER THIS, BRAIN!

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