Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I Worry...

And speaking of an afterlife, if you find yourself worrying that you’ll end up experiencing it just a smidge too far on this side of the great divide, you’ll pleased to know that a leading edge cemetery in Santiago Chile has solved the problem… at least for those with a little extra money tucked inside their shroud.
According to a spokesperson from the Camino a Canaan cemetery, for just a few pesos more, you can purchase a casket-mounted sensor designed to detect motion after the loved one has been buried. No more ‘accidentally-pronounced-dead-when-in-fact-was-only-suffering-from-a-touch-of-catalepsy’ concerns for you!
I worry about these things – I really do. I visualize my coffin excavated one day, and anthropologists tut-tutting as they make note of the hideous scratch marks gouged in the underside of my lid. So besides the repulsive idea of worms playing pinochle in my mouth, I'm opting for cremation - though I’m seriously thinking of installing one of those motion detectors in my urn. You can never be too careful…
These are the thoughts that torture me in between worries about my bank manager’s dim view of my account balance and the fear that I may be suffering from hair or fingernail tumors. Oh – and my conviction every time I leave the safety of downtown Toronto that my car's engine will explode and the only person who will stop to help is a recently escaped maniac, or someone boring. I’m always sure my credit cards will be refused, my eyelashes will fall out, and that I really look like the image that stares back at me in department store dressing rooms. Is it surprising I’m beginning to look old before my time (or is that just those blasted department store mirrors again?!)
My overweening worries are probably the reason I’m so anxious to avoid certain reality based television programs: seeing some of my most exotic fears made real. Who wants to watch competitions involving a contestant buried up to the eyeballs in snakes or scorpions or tarantulas? The live maggot or giant grub speed-eating contests? The dangling from a string over a chasm endurance tests? I’m continually amazed that such stuff gets ratings; I’ve woken screaming from nightmares that are played out regularly in prime time for cash prizes.
And I’ve often wondered, (but never really wanted to know) how I’d fare on a desert island. (Or is it deserted island? Or both? Hot and lonely. Typical.) I was so pleased when ‘Castaway’ was released a couple of years ago;I felt Tom Hanks gave a superb performance, the film going some way to answer those oft unanswered questions about building fires and sheltering and what’s safe to eat and how to befriend a basketball and whatnot. It may be a nightmare, but at least it’s useful information – which is why I’m surprised so many ‘Survivor’ contestants clearly never bother to learn these basics in the safety of their own backyard before sailing off down the Amazon or being dropped off in the middle of an African Veldt. Off they trot, equipped with little more than a do-rag and a confidence way out of proportion to their middle-of-nowhere survival skills.
But while I never plan to apply to appear on the show, I’m preparing myself on the off-chance I should be so lucky as to go on a luxury cruise, or be flying in or around the Caribbean or Mediterranean and something (as usual) goes awry. And I worry I won’t imagine and prepare for every eventuality, so here are a few random worries I’m still trying to sort out:
- What would happen if I got a toothache and didn’t have an ice skate with which to whack the tooth out of my head?
- What happens when my contact lenses dry up or my glasses break? Rescue could be yards away and I’d miss it altogether
- Will it be possible to create cosmetics out of charcoal, pomegranate seeds and squid ink, or moisturizer out of masticated coconut? And what about highlights for hair? Will I have to discover if a medieval way with urine is the answer to my heretofore completely unnatural sun-kissed style?
- What’ll I do when I run out of toothpaste tubes to read? (You know the Encyclopedia Britannica (or even a crappy water-logged Jackie Collins bustier-ripper) is unlikely to wash up on the beach with you, and anything that does arrive to break the boredom will likely only have instructions or ingredients printed on it for your literature-starved reading pleasure.
- Can I use a razor fish to shave my legs?

I worry about these things - really, I do.