I feel like I am the last to know that there is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie coming soon to a theater near me. And a Transformers movie. Have I inadvertently stepped into a time machine? Do these characters have any relevance to kids today, or (horrors!) are they actually targeting people my age with this multi-bajillion dollar dreck? Along with Hammer pants and Corey Haim, I feel strongly that what happened in the Eighties should really stay in the Eighties. Although, come to think of it, having Cabbage Patch Kids cereal back on the grocery store shelves would not be so bad.
Meanwhile, I have a new fear. This is the reason I may never swim in the ocean again. I read an article about a woman whose fiance died when they were on vacation in Thailand, the two of them happily swimming around off the coast of Ko Pha Nang (where I have been, and where I have happily
swum swam gone swimming! And scuba diving!), when he was stung by one of these box jellyfish mofos and within minutes, he was dead. DEAD. HE DIED. From a jellyfish!
This brings up an interesting point, which is that the graph of my risk-aversion has curved up rather sharply in the last few years. Back in law school, I went to Belize over spring break, and after a day or two on Ambergris Caye, I decided, hey! Let's learn to scuba dive! So we took a PADI course -- a full open water certification, not even a resort course -- which consisted of watching a few videos in a little wooden hut by the beach, while drinking as much Belikin beer as we could handle, and then whoomp! Getting in the water. And breathing! In the water. Diving was unbelievably awesome, and much less OH MY GOD I AM BREATHING UNDERWATER WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE than I thought it would be. I found it soothing and rather Zen-like, and I was transfixed by all the cool shit I got to see.
Over the ensuing few years, I went on several dive trips and met diving people and did diver-y things, including, but not limited to, a night dive. In Thailand, in fact! Where apparently I could have had my face ripped off by a box jellyfish. And died. I also went on a dive to the recreational limit at the Blue Hole in Belize, where I, in fact, nearly died of fright when my buddy mouthpiece started free-flowing air and I thought I would run out of oxygen. Diving the Blue Hole, by the way, basically consists of descending as fast as you can to 120 feet, looking around in the dark at MASSIVE BULL SHARKS, which are ALL AROUND YOU, and then slowly ascending while obsessively checking your air, because your oxygen gets super-compressed and you could run out at any time. Awesome.
The mere thought of descending to a depth of 120 feet now makes my toes sweat. I realize that people scuba dive all the time, and at the time I never felt unsafe on a dive; but now? I have less than zero desire to do it again. Just like, although I once was eager to try it, I know now that I will never, ever jump out of a plane. Unless, you know, I am on a plane that is crashing and we are over water and I'm sitting in an exit row, in which case, I have convinced myself, it would be better to rip the exit thingy off and leap out -- executing a perfect pencil dive so I would neatly pierce the water and eventually come bobbing back up to the surface, all "whoa! that was something!" -- rather than hit the water with the rest of the plane. (It's not a perfect plan, I realize, but it allows me not to spend an entire flight in a prolonged panic attack.)
Well, here's a hazard of city living: Someone in my building is cooking something that smells exactly like my elementary school cafeteria. Or actually, all of my schools' cafeterias, from first grade on up, which uniformly reeked with the same sickening odors, no matter what was on the menu that day. It smells like the hideous combination of limp okra, sodden collard greens, mushy black-eyed peas and -- shudder -- gloopy Brunswick stew. There cannot possibly be less palatable food anywhere in America than in the Georgia public school system. Except possibly in my neighbors' apartment, right now.
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fill the air with Febreze and contemplate the return of Eighties cartoon icons, which may well be more frightening than the box jellyfish, sky diving and breathing underwater, all rolled into one.