Posted by: shannynmoore | October 26, 2013

Face your fears; the life you save may be your own

Shannyn Moore for the Anchorage Daily News

October 26, 2013 

I have a list of things I’m afraid of. I have a lot of lists. I started early. In highschool I had a list of men I could imagine on a bear skin rug. Noam Chomsky and Studs Terkel were on that list.

I developed a list of things that frightened me.

Shrews. The gross little black toothed vermin that made their way into the cabin I grew up in. There are only about half a dozen known mammals that have venom-four of them are of the shrew family. The deliver it through the saliva in their mouths via bites.

The like to hide in my pack boots. Nothing like putting on your boots in the morning and squishing a rodent. Ewww. I went into labor with my daughter after stepping on a shrew. Yes. It was dark and when I flipped on the light and saw what I had hoped was an accident from a pet I began to scream. It’s not a scream that is controllable. It is a scream that makes dogs howl like there’s a siren on the edge of human hearing. I may have inherited this fear.

Another fear I have is of flying. I don’t fear boats at all. Perhaps it is because if need be, and there has been the need, I can get out of a boat and swim. I am incapable of getting out of a plane and flying. I feel like I’ve flipped off gravity every time I get on a plane. Years ago I was on a plane struck by lightning. The flight attendant was crying. Another time on a flight between King Salmon and Dillingham the landing gear wouldn’t come down. Pop Moore was with me. As planes circled around us to access the problem, he announced he’d take a nap. Are you kidding me? When I asked for any last words of wisdom in case we crashed he said, “If we crash you won’t need them, and I need a rest.”

Awesome. It’s hard to rattle him. From that point on I’ve flown better through chemistry. The fact that I just made Alaska Airlines MVP status should make you buy stock in Xanax.

I’m afraid of clowns. I almost feel like this doesn’t need an explanation. Does anyone really feel comforted by a clown? Sorry, if you are one of those people with a clown collection, well, skip this part of the column. (Mainly because now you are on a list of feared folks.)

You have your own list of things that scare you. We adapt to our fears. I’ve found ways to make my way through or around most things I’m afraid of.

I’ve had a fear for many years that could have killed me. I’m afraid of dentists.

For the last few months one side of my face was hot. I bought reader glasses because my left eye wasn’t seeing so well. My ear was hurting all the time. One of my three ignored broken teeth had abscessed. Guess what the next stop after your eye and ear are? Your brain. I was more afraid of going to a dentist than having my brain blow up.

I dosed up on the same antibiotic they treat Anthrax with. I took a deep breath and looked for a dentist. I was suddenly more afraid of dying than of a guy who went to school for a really long time and has awesome power tools to use on people.

I think part of the fear of the dentist was more than the pain. I hate being shamed. Face your fears, Shanny! I did.

I found a dentist in Kenai — Dr. James Halliday, who happens to be a military dentist as well. He told me of his work during deployments to Afghanistan. I asked him why we use waterboarding when there is nitrous — a gas that makes you hum along to the drills in your mouth and tell your hygienist that she has a lovely voice when she sings along to every song on the radio. There’s something to be said for a dentist so sweet he could give you cavities, but competent enough to fix them.

Oh, I have slayed a dragon of fear this week. I spent five hours in the chair to catch up with so many years of neglect and I am here to tell you. Shrews are gross creatures. Flying is unnatural. Clowns should be banned. Dentists are magic.

I got one off the list! Face your fears. Just one of them may save your life.


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