Recent stories expose a whole new fear

Perhaps there’s no greater mystery regarding the human psyche than the concept of fear.

While one individual might be terrified of parachuting from a perfectly-sound aircraft, another might be strapping on his or her gear right now to joyously leap out into the heavens. Some people enjoy hiking through mountains or untraveled paths, while others might find panic setting in once street lights and Starbuck’s marquees are no longer clearly visible. We all have something that makes our pulses quicken, and there are plenty of reasons we might find more fear in something than others.

Many believe we are inherently saddled with fears that are just hardwired into our personal make-ups, and others believe these phobias come to us individually through experiences we’ve encountered over the course of our lifetimes. Fears have been studied, researched and analyzed, and some people are afflicted with such anxiety over their fears that they have to seek medical attention to simply live their day-to-day lives with some degree of comfort.

Many of those people are never able to get themselves to a mental place where a normal day-to-day life is even an option. Now, it is important to differentiate between fear and phobia, as one is often a state of mind while the other is an all-encompassing sense of dread and despair. It’s also important to remember that I am not a doctor, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I’m basically just winging it through the first part of this column as I harken back to segments of Dr. Phil I’ve seen in passing...

But I digress.

During his first inaugural speech, former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed concerns over a failing national economy by offering the motivating phrase, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Well, apparently Mr. Roosevelt never had an iguana in his toilet.

That’s right. I said, “an iguana in his toilet.”

There was a story in the Sun Sentinel this week about a Fort Lauderdale family who had some issues with a clogged toilet. When they were unable to fix the problem themselves, they called in a plumber.

Roto-Rooter plumber Alisa Scott arrived at the scene to fix the problem and found herself pulling out a live iguana. Well, it was alive at the time, but it did not make it through the removal procedure. Scott was quoted in the story as saying this was the first iguana she had encountered in her 12 years of battling clogs as a professional, though she did say she had once encountered a dead rat in someone’s commode.

Remember when I said earlier we all have some kind of fears? Very high on my personal list would be something popping up out of my toilet. There are some things that are just sacred in this wild world we all share, and the ability to enjoy some contemplative time on the porcelain throne without getting bitten from, well, behind, would be high on that list for me.

A little more than concerned at this point, I attacked the Internet to research just how often this occurs. Dear God, it’s not as rare as I had hoped.

KHQ, in north Idaho, reported just last weekend that a woman in Billings, Montana... Well, I’ll share the story’s opening paragraph with you:

“Forget snakes on a plane. One Billings woman is now more worried about snakes in her drain.”

I admit I could have just told you what happened without the story excerpt, but I thought it was clever, so there you have it.

“We’re not sure if it came underneath the door or it came up the sewer, and I really hope it didn’t come up the sewer,” said resident Mallory Ameson. “That’s just — I mean, it’s something that you see on like Facebook and some far away place where suddenly there’s a snake in the toilet, but I never thought it would happen to me.”

Famous last words, right? “Oh, that would never happen to me.” But, honestly, do any of us expect to see a snake or iguana in your toilet? Will anyone ever go to the bathroom again without first looking to see who you are sharing your time and space with before assuming the position? Or, like most of my readers, are you sitting there right now?