Previously uncontemplated terrors
As pantophobic as I am, I still manage to discover new sources of potential menace and destruction daily. A primary source of new material for my terror watch list is my husband’s law practice. A pickup truck parked quietly in a warehouse spontaneously combusts, possibly due to a defective cruise control, and engulfs the warehouse in flames. What if the truck had been parked next to my beloved Audi at Top Foods? How would I have got home? A tropical fish aquarium apparently has a defective heating element; flammable plastic bio balls in the aquarium burst into flames, and an office building is leveled to ashes. My Cat’s veterinarian has a tropical fish aquarium in her office. What if the heating element failed… how would they get all the animals out in time? Defective surge protectors cause buildings to burn down all the time. Our house is full of such perilous power strips. Every time our lights flicker, I am ready to grab the Cat and head for the Marriott.
Parked cars, fish aquariums, and surge protectors are fairly ubiquitous objects, and death and destruction by fire inheres in all of them. The reader will readily see how one’s terror watch list can grow beyond the capacity of reasonable vigilance. Add a slippery floor to the equation, and chances of survival plummet to abysmal.
One way to make a floor more slippery is to remove the pit from an avocado. I recently rehearsed this maneuver at home. Having sliced an avocado in half without hurting myself, I grasped the pit between the thumb and first three fingers of my left hand. I am right-handed. The pit was launched, its trajectory dead-on with the posterior elbow of my right sleeve, where it landed momentarily. From there, it hit the counter, bounced neatly once, and hit the floor. Marmoleum isn’t really that slick, but our floor probably isn’t perfectly level, either. Barreling with fair velocity, the pit slimed a green contrail in its wake before careening into the woodwork and depositing the rest of its slime there. Had I been obliged to flee the kitchen in the unbelievably likely event of a fire, which any number of wires or appliances spontaneously gone bad could have sparked, the avocado slime trail would have been the proximate cause of my death. The fat green pride of California jumped to the top of my watch list.
What’s a reasonable person to do? Go through life parking under sprayers, wear a fire suit indoors at all times, and give up avocados? Of course not. You sue, punish, and regulate automobile manufacturers, aquarium heating element manufacturers, and avocado growers, who knew or should have known that their pits have the tendency or capacity to be lethally slimy. Then you die from collateral complications of litigation stress, having made the pantophobes of the world no safer, and still very much afraid.
Remember: we have nothing to fear but everything.