We all tend to be afraid of something in life


We all have things that scare us, right?

I have a friend I was in the Marine Corps with — mountain of a man, really — who was terrified of ants. The guy could live in the woods for a month with only his combat knife and a canteen, but if an ant crawled on to his boot he would make a shrieking sound like a pre-teen at a Justin Bieber concert and take off running with his hands in the air like Fred Flintstone.

I tell this story for two reasons. First, it goes to show that no matter how big and strong someone might be (or how cartoonishly ugly that individual might be), there is always something that can be that person’s kryptonite. And, second, I know he reads my column online every week because he critiques me via e-mail, and I really want to embarrass him every single chance I have.

So, take that, scaredypants. And enjoy the ant farm that I had delivered to your house.

Of course, he is not alone in having fears. I know people who are afraid of snakes, bees, the dark, heights, dogs and ghosts. Myself? I’m not a big fan of mice, people with strangely small hands or this story I came across on Reuters over the weekend.

Apparently, a woman in southern California drugged her former spouse one day in July 2011, tied him up and cut off his, well, “happy place,” with a knife. She then reportedly threw the little bugger in a garbage disposal.

The woman’s attorney argued to the judge presiding over the matter that she was sexually abused as a child and was suffering post-traumatic stress. He also said that his client was remorseful about the attack, according to the Reuters story. The judge then sentenced the woman to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The man who was the victim of this attack, unsurprisingly, was not satisfied with the verdict.

“Deep down inside I was hoping for a stronger sentence, but given the restraints of the law this is what [the judge] had to do,” said the man, identified only as “Glenn” in court documents. “There may be a situation where I can be happy, but whole? Never ... I’ve got a long ways to go.”

No, I am a mature adult. I will not go where my first instinct told me to go there. Come on, Darin. You’re better than this.

Getting back to our story, the woman, Catherine Kieu, was convicted of aggravated mayhem and torture in the case. I definitely see the “torture” aspect of this incident, but is “aggravated mayhem” a strong-enough term for the second part of this? I hear “aggravated mayhem” and I think of people writing nasty things on walls with spray paint or yelling profanities at a clown — not cutting off someone’s pride and joy and pureeing it in a garbage disposal. I’m surprised they didn’t get her with “illegal disposal of a” ...

But I digress.

Remember in 1993 when Lorena Bobbit performed the same amateur surgery on her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt? That was national news every day, and we learned way more about the Bobbitt family than we ever wanted to know. Until this column, how many of you have even heard about this woman in California performing the same, well, amputation?

Is it just one of those “been there, done that” things in society? I keep hearing that we are more de-sensitized to violence than ever before, but I kind of dismissed that thought as the hysterical ramblings of people who want to harken back to a simpler time.

Now I’m not so sure. If a woman cutting off her husband’s (fill in the blank) and running it through a garbage disposal does not get more attention than what Jessica Simpson decided to name her baby, where are we as a society?

To me, it shows that we are more infatuated with celebrity than the “normal” human being. Want another example? A wildfire in Arizona killed 19 brave firefighters, and a shooting at a party in Brooklyn, N.Y., featured nine people getting wounded. But the rantings of a wacky television cook in a court deposition generated more attention from nearly every person I have talked with recently.

That’s scary. In fact, it’s way scarier than a few little ants, you big wimp.