What you don’t know will kill you
They say what you don’t know will kill you. OK, I am not afraid of cancer or some serious life-threatening heart problem. For some reason, unknown even to me, I think I won’t die because of it. Some kind of self-assured insurance.
Of course, I am not a fearless man: there is a number of things that I am afraid of and the #1 is flying. In this case I can’t buy any insurance.
Yep, this is my own personal Oscar of this kind. I am really afraid of flying and sometimes even thinking about it is scary. Still the more you fly the less you fear. In 2011 I visited seven countries, from France to Japan to Alaska and made 27 flights altogether. In 2016 – three helicopter flights in the Himalayas… Last year, again, 20 flights including some intercontinental ones. Quite intense. At some point you think it is not another plane but another bus… You’re starting to think that the thrill is gone… but after some time it is coming back. Always. You think you get used to flying and then all of a sudden turbulence happens or plane gets shaky during the airport approach and there you go again!
Will my plane crash someday? I really don’t know and hope that statistics is on my side. I mean flying is safe. Theoretically. On board it is always 50/50 to me. Still, I love flying, it is like hitch-hiking the planet.
As I know what to fear – and it is flying – let something else kill me. And before it happens I will be flying all the skies of the world with a big smile on my face.
Could this Happen?
The truth is I don’t live in fear. I have no concerns about being in a terror attack or flying on a plane that falls out of the sky. The likelihood of you being murdered is quite low. I believe the fear of Muslim terrorist & Mexican rapists borders on silly.
With this in mind you will understand when I say considering the things I fear most didn’t come easily. However, one fear I do have could change everything.
My greatest fear is one that I think could come true: A second American Civil War. Russia, Donald Trump, and talk radio are all working to drive as many wedges as possible into American society and they are making good headway.
Look at the maps below. You will discover we have been here before: The Northeast & far West vs. the South and central states. The map on the right is from the US Civil War and the map on the left is a current map of liberal (blue) and conservative (red) states.
Not only are the same states on the same sides, the exact same groups are talking about the same positions.
Think fake news is new? Grab a book. In the lead-up to the US Civil War, the South was beyond reason. They actively disbelieved anything that seemed to support the US Government. They chose to ignore anything that made it sound like the Government wanted to compromise or represent all Americans. Need new conspiracy theories anyone?
Most Collage Professors will say that there would not have been a civil war if it were not for conservative religious groups. These people were ready to set morals aside to support those espousing anti-government positions. Mr. Trump, the pussy grabber, enjoys the complete support of these same Evangelical groups. I’m talking about you, Southern Baptist Convention.
Think I’m preaching? Southerners used the Bible to support slavery. It is alright to have slaves as long as they are from another state (nation). These same folks are now saying that discrimination against gays is a biblical position.
Southern conservative groups saw themselves as representing the real vision of Washington & Jefferson. It sounds counterintuitive to say that those who wanted to create the CSA were fans of the USA but that is exactly the case. The connections are real; I remember one episode of the Daily Show counted how many US Flags were on the set of Fox News.
So, yeah, there is real reason for concern. One in eight troops was killed or wounded in that war. That number is bigger than all other US wars… combined. That would be equal to about 44,000,000 soldiers today.
The economy was smashed and there were bread riots. Today, Paris, London, and Earth, would feel the economic brunt of a repeat. And should a new Confederate States of America get their hands on nuclear weapons, Moscow may be sorry they worked so hard to make all this happen. I don’t care what accent you have, this should be your fear too.
I have many fears, none of which seem to have lessened as I’ve grown older. Sudden very loud noises, drowning, heights, the thought of contact lenses, and wasps come to mind. I am not even considering the unthinkable, like losing a child or lover.
But the one I have chosen to be my greatest fear, ironically, is one that probably now will never happen to me in real life.
As a speech (non-music) radio presenter for more years than I care to remember, I found many situations about which to get extremely stressed. Interviewing guests who answered in one-syllable; guests who didn’t show up on time, and nothing to fill their space (no music, remember); having to link up to the BBC time signal every hour (Losing your wobbly bits was the penalty for missing them); Computer glitches, badly produced programmes, you name it, I, like every other presenter ever, have had to deal with it. And mostly did just that.
My greatest fear therefore, is something you can’t hear. – Silence.
Not silence like asking a difficult question to a guest, and letting him or her stew for a bit over the answer –those silences can be very powerful and effective, and indeed say a lot to the listener.
I mean silence on the radio when I am (supposedly) in full control. Another words, I flick all the switches, I pull the faders up and down, I play the jingles etc., I do all the talking.
But I freeze, and just can’t decide what to do next, what to say next, and all the time the silence is growing deafeningly louder and louder –what will my boss think, what will my listeners be thinking, why isn’t my mic working, which way does the fader work, up or down, play some music as a last resort, no CDs in the studio and the computerised music has frozen, still don’t know what to say, how can you excuse all that silence; it’s just getting worse and worse and worse, where is everybody, why I am I on my own? I’m sweating, my heart is pounding like never before, I’m actually losing it – my entire long-built-up reputation is being destroyed all around me, and still that bloody silence rules………
And then I wake up.
I cannot tell you how many times that has happened in the six years or so since I retired from that job. Nor can I tell you why. But it’s such a painful nagging fear, because it seems so real, and must be every presenter’s real-life nightmare.
It never happened to me during my career (well, maybe the odd two or three seconds while I threw something across the studio in temper) and unless I go behind the mike again for some reason, (like somebody offers me an obscene amount of money), it won’t in the future.
But I know that it won’t be long before I have to go through my greatest fear again, in those blasted dreams……….