Fear Factors: Fire on the Water

Thursday, August 29, 2013 | 1 Comment(s)

One of my life goals recently is attempting to rid my life of excess pointless fear.  You would be amazed by how many actions in our daily lives are subtly put in motion by fear.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I mean, we may brush our teeth for fear of the potential future fall-out, literally, but I don't think many people would begrudge you your tooth brushing.  Also, this fear is based in some reasonable amount of scientific information.  For instance, if you eat tons of candy and don't brush, your teeth will rot out of your face.  That's science.

Other motivated actions are less steeped in practical experimentation and more based in imagined dystopian hellscapes.  For example, I lock doors somewhat obsessively.  I lock the house door behind me when I get home from work reflexively, even though I know my wife will be home soon thereafter.  The second my travel passenger's fingers come off the car door, the lock goes click.  Oh, you forgot something inside?  I'll have to re-open it for you.  Cause it's locked already.  I do this not because I am worried of home invaders overpowering me and the 110 lbs of pit-bulls lounging inside, but because it was ingrained in me long ago when I was a kid that the world is a dangerous place, and one way we defend again that menace is by locking doors.  It was kinda like a mixture of Freddie Krueger and Santa Claus in that there was an ever-present threat of annihilation, but my good behavior and direction following could keep things status quo.  So I status quo'd extremely hard, behavior-wise.

The first fear I rid myself of concerned anything that might happen to me once I die.  Cremation . . . burial . . . location . . .  I realize that thinking about this crap randomly is already a bit off kilter, but look at the name of the blog for goodness sake.  I come by it as honestly as possible.  And then one day, when I was internally debating the merits of being scattered over a meaningful location versus buried in a single location, I just realized that, in the end, I will not have to make this decision.  Sure, I will have a say, with my will and whatnot, but the actual decision, all of the stress around the decision, will be on others.  I came to grips with the fact that I was freaking out a decision that not only was hopefully far far far into the future (don't believe every blog title you read), but also in this case, not even really my problem.  And with that, I let it go.  When I'm dead, I'm your problem.  Officially.

Today I let go of another hellscape scenario.  I have always carried a fear of the sun burning out and the planet freezing.  It's both an emtremely rational and irrational fear all wrapped into one.   On the one hand, it will happen.  Time, the great destroyer of things, will soon age our sun into explosion.  Sure, there are a few other sun stages pre-explosion that could potentially end all human life on Earth, but let's try to keep this relatively simple.  So yes, the sun will explode and the Earth will consequently turn to ice as if Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze open fired his aptly named freeze-ray at the entire world.

That pretty picture aside, the 'final sunset' isn't scheduled for a long long long long long time past my own decomposition.  So, technically, the sun's explosion should be filed under the "things that happen after I die" correlate, but it doesn’t.  Somehow, I should add, the plight of the dying polar bears also falls under this particular phobia of mine.  It has something to do with the irony that the world will get too hot for them to live before becoming so cold once again.  Dying in an ironic manner is the worst.  It is another big fear of mine.

But today's news has officially put a fork in my sun detonation anxiety. Information is slowly coming out from independent news agencies that says that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown from back in 2011 is still leaking 450 tons of radiation-laden water into the Pacific Ocean, per day!

This is VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY bad news.  Yes, you can take that as screaming, cause this is some unbelievably life-alteringly bad news.  Take a look at this map of the radioactive water making its way to the American west coast.   It is being estimated that the fallout from this nuclear disaster is 20-30 times the size of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.   I hate to use this much bold in one article, but this disaster warrants it. 

It's already in the fish.  They've already found nuclear compounds in fish off the coast of Alaska and California (check the article above for more informative citations).  This could mean no edible seafood in the (north?) Pacific, not to mention the havoc that radiation will play of the ocean ecosystem itself.  Hope you didn't get too into the recent sushi craze, cause its probably going to die down real soon. 

can we still call this a "blue" fin tuna?
You want to talk about dying with irony.  Scientists have already discovered seals and polar bears losing hair, expressing soars, and generally dying of radiation poisoning.  While we humans were all trying to find a way to leave a little ice for the bears to live on, we went ahead and set fire to their water.    

So yah, the sun exploding doesn't scare me anymore.  At this pace, humans will be long extinct by then.

(Though on a positive note, perhaps by the time the sun goes boom, our water will be far too toxic to freeze?)

1 comment:

  1. Interested in scary existential dread type stuff closer to home? Watch the documentary Gasland. 'Fire on the Water' quite literally.