Growing up, my family had one of those huge medical encyclopedias that has every disease and malady under the sun conveniently listed in alphabetical order, for the well-organized hypochondriac. One of my favorite things to do was flip through it, trying to find the most disgusting picture I could find. (I was sort of strange kid.) One day I found an entry that talked about unusual curvatures of hands and fingers and read that many people with Down Syndrome have pinkie fingers that curve inward. When I looked at my hands, I noticed that my pinkie fingers also curved inward slightly. And then I went CRAZY. After studying all the other entries about Down Syndrome and realizing that if I did in fact have it, someone probably would have mentioned it by the time I had reached the third grade, I went through the rest of the encyclopedia to find what else I could have. (Eventually, my parents hid the book from me, though I think they thought I was just going through it to find pictures of naked people. Believe me, if you are worried that your child may be exposed to pictures of nudity and thus set off some sort of early sexual awakening, it is not going to happen with a medical dictionary. If anything, it will prevent your child from ever wanting to have any part of their body touch someone else.)
And thus began the train of idiotic and irrational fears that would shadow my life. And oh, what a list of nonsense it has been:
– Occasionally I wonder if I have some sort of large physical deformity, like a hunch or an extra eye growing out of somewhere. But everyone I’ve ever come in contact with has just been too nice to mention it, so I am completely unaware until one day when I’m walking past a mirror or a window and catch my reflection out of the corner of my eye and suddenly see the arm growing out of my back.
– I have a chair mat under my desk at work and there is one particular spot that squeaks when I step on it that sounds just like a fart, and I wonder if my coworkers are aware that it is just the mat squeaking, or if I’m considered the farting wonder of the office.
– When I have conversations in my head, I worry that I will just start talking out loud. Mainly because my mother does this. Actually, most of the things that worry fit under the category of “Fear of Becoming my Parents”.
-That my cat can read my mind and finds me to be disgusting and an idiot, but puts up with me because she can’t reach the kibble jar on her own.
– Even though I know it’s turned off, that my laptop’s webcam has been on this whooooole time and there is some streaming video of me staring blankly into the screen, eating cereal, and wearing the same hoodie for the umpteenth day in a row. And I’m not getting any of the ad revenue from the site.
-When I die, people will be disappointed by the lack of scandalous things in my house.
This is normal, right? I mean, everyone has those silly, paranoid thoughts at some point in their life … right?
Shit. OK, maybe time to add one more on.