Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Bogey Man

I've been watching Bowling for Columbine. I was not surprised that it was on tonight. Now I want to move to Canada or possibly Australia or the UK. The movie is just as relevant today as it was in 2002. Fear is still the favorite message here. It makes sense. Fearful people are easier to control. And, more importantly, they are ready to consume. We'll buy anything that will make us feel safe. Guns, diet pills, paper towels, anti-bacterial soap, home security systems, cars, retirement plans, credit monitoring, there are so many things you can sell by inspiring fear. There's a new ad in the subway these days advocating colonoscopy. It features the man who saved another on the subway tracks, it calls him the subway hero. The ad states that if you're over 50 you should get a colonoscopy and be a hero for your family.

Now, I've got some fears. They aren't based in reality but in a possible future that my mind conjures up. And at least one of them is the result of media and advertising. Specifically, I am worried about my financial future. We've been told we need a certain amount of money to survive our old age and we'd better start saving and investing now, right now. Don't wait, for goodness sake, or you'll be living in a cardboard box when you're 80. These fears are insidious, they can sneak up on you, enter you mind when you're not looking. The next thing you know you're wiping your apples with paper towels and getting your doctor to stick an endoscope in every orifice.

I've been doing my best to get rid of my fears. After all, I'm not afraid of bacteria or that I'll get blown up in the subway or that I'm certain to end up with colon cancer. So why should I be so fearful of destitution? Why I am I afraid that I won't find work that supports me both financially and otherwise? Why do I have to check the stove before I leave the apartment each day? Why do I think of the worst outcome to a situation and then prepare my response? Of course the real question is, how do I stop my mind from conjuring fear? Fear is a habit and habits are hard to change. I'm workin' on it. If only we could get the nation as a whole to work on it.

Warning: Non-sequitur

I went for a walk today in the park and now the cat is in love with my shoes. I wonder what I walked on. Some wild catnip?

No comments: