One positive trait I acquired during the pandemic was ultra-cleanliness. I bathe lots more, and yesterday I washed my hands 19 times, not including the time I spilled sanitizer on my hairbrush. My knuckles look like walnuts…very clean walnuts.

Which leads me to ask: What really terrifies you? Have you noticed that what frightens you as an adult is different from what scared you as a child?

My first childhood fear was about an 18-foot python who escaped from our zoo. It never occurred to me that — because it’s three times the size of a man — it could not hide easily behind our backyard rose bush.(The snake was later found just outside its zoo cage.)

In elementary school, tornado drills terrified me. Sadly, tornadoes in Texas are more common than ants (or uncles) at a family picnic.

In middle school, I was afraid of the guy I had to block in football practice. He outweighed me by 30 pounds. Then I tried to block him.

Ouch!!! I started whimpering, and I didn’t stop until sophomore year. 

In high school, I was too scared to ask a girl to dance at the prom. So, I danced by myself. And then I was afraid to go back to school on Monday.

In college I feared high-level math. So, I took a pre-college prep course called “Meet Mr. Arithmetic.”

As I got older, I realized that I’ll always fear something. But fear response can be a good thing, if we understand that some terrors are rational, while others are irrational.

So, fear of a virus is a good thing. But I later realized I should never fear dancing alone. When we have parties at our house, it encourages guests to leave early. 

Got a story idea for Rix? E-mail him at [email protected].