December 16, 1996

My girlfriend, Leslie, thinks I need to excise my fears
by writing about them. Personally, I think the best
I can hope for is taking them out for a nice breath of fresh air.

There is just no way I'm ever going to get rid of them.

I don't have the conventional fears that send people diving under furniture. Take public speaking for instance: most people fear it more than death. I, on the other hand, often break into spontaneous oration in the middle of supermarkets and malls. The themes of these impromptu speeches range from my views on the right to die (and how it effects the grocery line I'm in) to my belief that the 49'ers punt returner needs to be taken behind a barn and ruffed up for his performance on the field. I truly believe the world would be a better place if he were still with the Jets.

I'm not afraid of death in the normal sense. I'm terrified of the pain that usually proceeds the actual dying. I see at death as a sort of cosmic fart. It happens to all of us, sometimes at very inconvenient moments but eventually it passes.

The smell of death and penguins scare the holy %#@$ out of me. These are at the top of my irrational fears list. I have told everyone concerned (and a few total strangers), that I don't want to be buried. Burn me up and do what you want to the ashes but don't stick me in the ground. For starters, I'm claustrophobic, so even though I'll be dead, I don't want to be uncomfortable. Also, the smell created by all that rotting meat is just too much for me. I can't stand going into cemeteries because I think I can smell it. I look at the dates on the headstones and if it less than twenty years ago, I start having olfactory hallucinations.

My fear of penguins, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the way they smell. My absolute dread of penguins isn't even directed at real penguins. I like real penguins. They look so proud and business-like as they strut around, completely oblivious to their fate as polar bear food. It's the penguins in my dreams I fear.

I have a recurring nightmare that most people find amusing. It's not even a whole nightmare. It's just an ending. I'll be going nicely along in a regular dream, maybe flying naked over L.A., peeing on the pretty people and then BOOM! A penguin walks up to me, pulls a huge gun from behind his back and shoots me in the face. It's a hard way to wake up.

I also fear Leslie, my girlfriend. I'm convinced she will get me killed one of these nights. She has a lethal combination of laziness and paranoia. She'll hear a small noise outside, decide it is a nasty-beasty trying to come in and kill us all, and then tell me to go investigate. I'm usually sound asleep by the time she's worked herself into a panic over the noise and wakes me up. I love her dearly but I believe if she makes up the demons, she should be the one to go look for them. She doesn't hesitate to send me to my certain death but she won't brake the seal the sheets have made around her body for anything less than total global annihilation or if she has to pee really bad.

So there I am: naked, dazed and startled by the bright light as I walk downstairs to defend hearth and home. I am unarmed and totally vulnerable, like a new born pig awaiting slaughter. After walking around for a few minutes like this I realize I am cold and stupid. I head back up to bed and tell her it was the wind or the dog. So far it has always beennothing but who knows? I figure the most I can hope for is the recognition that I am totally screwed and unarmed right before the penguin shoots.


Please send me your comments and suggestions. Email me at

Return to Laura's Home Page
Copyright, 1997 by Laura Jiménez.