My Greatest Fear

In September I took my two older children to the HorrorHound Convention in Indianapolis. It was a lot of fun, but at the end, crossing a busy street, my younger daughter–heedless, as is her way–ran out into oncoming traffic as we were crossing a busy intersection. My sister–surprisingly spry–put on a full Usain-Bolt-Level burst of speed and grabbed my daughter by the back of the shirt just as a Toyota Camry whizzed by. It was a close call, the kind of thing you laugh off at the time but wake up thinking about. It is not, however, what I fear the most.

I’m not afraid of monsters, I don’t think, having yet to see one. I imagine that if I woke up and found Bigfoot eating out of my pantry I would crap my pants and scream, but it’s not something I dwell on. Ghosts, well, ghosts don’t really do it for me either. I’m haunted enough by my own issues, so I don’t think Casper’s going to contribute all so much to an already healthy amount of torment. Serial killers are frightening, I suppose, but mercifully and objectively rare, no matter that shows like Hannibal and Criminal Minds make it seem like there are thousands of wackos (wackoes?) running around.

Sick kids or spouse, money issues, personal health–check, check, check. They register, but tension and general unease are not the same as fear.

Halloween day, I started thinking about what I truly fear, the kind of fear that puts the metal in your mouth, the balls in your stomach. I ran through all the above and more besides, and finally hit on it. And when I realized that this–this–was what I truly feared, it made me ashamed and not a little embarrassed.

I am afraid that if I have a particularly aggressive sneeze when I am peeing, that I will force too much urine out at once and blow out the end of my wiener.


I am fairly certain this is a physical impossibility. After a quick Google search, I could find nothing that confirmed or denied my worst fears (“Will my wiener blow up if I sneeze when I pee?” resulted in “0” hits, which is actually pretty impressive. I thought about changing the word “wiener” to something more scientific, but was pretty tired of researching by then so I let it stand.) I am sure I have sneezed while I was peeing, perhaps as a child, with no ill effects, but since the idea lodged in my fear centers I have made sure that sneezing and peeing are completely exclusive endeavours, even if I have to squeeze off in midstream or use every bit of self-control to staunch the sneeze before it starts.

I know where this fear began. Warner Bros. cartoons, specifically the scene where Bugs Bunny sticks his finger in the barrel of Elmer Fudd’s rifle and the gun goes off in Elmer Fudd’s face. Once again, not scientific, and the fact that I’m basing my greatest fear on a cartoon full of anthropomorphic, maniacal animals is troubling to say the least.

Am I terrible person that this completely fictional fear trumps the fear I should have for my children’s safety? What if a situation comes up where I have to choose–my family’s safety or sneezing while I pee? How will I react? In what godforsaken world would such a devil’s wager come to be? I’m overthinking, I suppose. We all have irrational fears, it’s just that mine isn’t on Google.

But there it is. My greatest fear.


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