On Fear, evolution, moles, seduction and other mundane topics

Fear. Feel. Feel Fear. Fear feel.

I have been thinking about fear a lot lately. Last week, it was a lovely rainy Wednesday night, the need to quit school right then and there hit my soul like a truck full of bench-presses and dumbbells heading towards scrapyard (because heck, I mean, who wants to bench-press nowadays?). It put me out of service for two good hours and I thought my soul would never fully recover. thus becoming bound to producing unimaginative, colorless and dull writings such as bachelor thesis. I didn’t quit so far, but it did prompt me to think about what would be if I did. What would I do? Surely, in the world of (M)NBA stars I would just quietly practice alone with flat basketball, rusty hoops, in some forgotten backyard in Wyoming, right? I have no idea why I picked Wyoming, but thinking about backwoods it sprang to mind, so there.

It is funny how paranoid my mind gets and I often wonder where does this fear come from? Huge part, I wager, comes from schools themselves, because how else would they make you sit at the desk for six hours and more every day? I don’t remember exactly what happened in my first days in elementary school – there must have been some sort of a bribe, chocolate candy or something, to lure me in, and then they feared the heck out of me with marks and exams, so I would be too scared to leave. And they always keep more candy in their pockets, waving them when you are just about to say I am done fellows. “Wooo, you are so close, grab it!” Ever since I stopped eating sugar (that is, with the exception of my grandma’s apple strudel, you simply cannot say no to grandmas, can you?) this trick doesn’t work anymore and it was the only trick in their sleeve, apart from the fear, which left me wondering – what kind of fear is that and where is its origin?

Evolution, I suspect, comes in play, taking upon itself a role of the bogeyman. One fear I don’t understand is the one that makes you freeze in your tracks. How practical is that. There must have been a situation when pretending to be a tree (or not being there at all) deceived the bear and saved your skin. I hardly believe it though since bears have fairly good eyesight and well-developed snout – I have a hunch in an unexpected encounter with a bear it wouldn’t be too difficult to smell me for miles, if you smell what I mean. Freezing in your tracks, motionless and soundless, would work against animals with poor eyesight, such as elephants and moles. Who needs protective systems against moles, apart from gardeners, obviously? This fear then comes across as a bit impractical, a bit unnecessary.

The same cannot be said of a fear, which is so common among men, and which has a history going way back to tribe cultures. It is, you’ve guested, approaching and speaking to women. It is a legit fear and it has its place in weaponry of every modern man. How come? Speaking to the wrong woman could get you killed, and still can in some occasions.
During our travels around China my friend and I met a Ukrainian-American in Chengdu, where he lived and hustled for three years at the time. This fellow, I will call him Igor, because that is his name, is bald headed white dude in his thirties, who speaks Chinese. He is as white as the first snow in greyish autumn. We met him at a hostel bar late in the evening and chatted about China and its people. I shared a story of cutting my head with the help of doorframe of Beijing metro and the appalling price of several thousand kuai they wanted to charge me for an X-ray, couple of stitches and a nice haircut, and he shared a story of him talking to a Chinese girl in a pub. Apparently, she was the wrong girl, because she had a jealous (let’s call him protective) boyfriend, who immediately started bickering. Igor responded by faked withdrawal, during which he called Mr. Protective many not-so-flattering names. The lad, resolved to defend his pride, said something to the likes of guys, let’s kill this Japanese motherfucker! and smacked Igor’s head with a beer bottle. Seriously, when you speak with the wrong woman, her partner might get blinded by rage in the most literal sense. You have to keep that in mind all the time – some Chinese men hate Japanese (or whoever possesses any similar trait with Japs, say, being a human), folks from New York hate those from Jersey, everybody has a laugh on the tab of a Jew, every non-vegan is hated by vegans, and so you see the deeper we get the trickier it becomes. Similarly, back in the old days of tribal rivalry, I assume one had to be careful otherwise one could find his head had been torn off by a furious chieftain, because every woman from his harem had a special place in his heart, and no, I don’t care you only asked her to sew holes in your sheep skin hoodie, punk!
And since evolution is slower than a caravanist starting of the line at traffic lights (impossible, I know), we, men, are still fighting this urge, which we display by roving our eyes around. So, ladies, what you tag as “oh gosh, he is not present yet again, how can he be so selfish, douchy-arrogant etc.” is a man monitoring other men and observing every glitter of light reflected by the glass of beer bottles. Impractical, I admit, but necessary for our well-being.

So is the fear that makes you sweat and consequently stings your eyes. Fellow ends up blinded and with everything, from axe to stone to flowers, falling from his hands. Evolution has a peculiar sense of humour, doesn’t it? The instant “holy shit” fear, which showers your back with warmth? Only occurs in summer, never when it’s freezing.

Come to think of it, fear is just like an annoying stand-up comedian, whose whole routine revolves around worst case scenarios, and though he is skilled at transmitting the energies and emotions, he becomes hackneyed as the Hollywood film productions and deserves nothing but a sad look. What to do with it, then? Hmm, perhaps pull down the curtains and give it a punch, unless, of course, you are facing an actual bear. In that case, freeze in your tracks and pretend you are not there. That, or a pepper spray, should do.

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About Petr Klíma