Friday, June 12, 2009

Fear of silence

Because again of my unusual work, I've spent a good amount of time thinking about mental cognition. And the deterioration of it. So literally, about losing your mind.

As it turns out, losing one's mind is one of the most feared and least talked about of all concerns. Short of Nancy Reagan promoting it now, it's the Voldemort* of diseases and fears, the unspoken creeper most likely to attack those actually looking for it.

*Honestly, I find the use of Voldemort foolish here, almost as comedic as Beetlejuice, though I'm sure you understand my pop-culture Bloody Mary reference either way -- and I suppose it seems current even if now a ruined distraction as a reference tool. In this case, my personal stalker is the slasher flick Candyman, which I saw at the perfect time and place to have it seared into my mind as three times more frightening than it ever was. It's horribly out of date for fright-night now, but I still don't talk to my mirror much.

Anyway, losing your mind scares the hell out of people like almost nothing else. I understand. Unless we each find our way to a catastrophic event (personal, regional or global), we should all fairly well expect to *lose things* as we grow old and older.

Effort, exercise, and purchases to the contrary may slow the process, but our grip on the precious will loosen either slowly or suddenly. And while the physical decline looks painful and frustrating, the mental fall is sheer terror.

I won't suppose to know why that fear is so true for others. But I fairly well understand why it cowers me.

I don't want to be alone. Not that much alone.

The same logic that makes solitary confinement an ultimatum and a Texas funeral the consummate theatrical threat makes going dark and muddy in the head outrageously frightening.

We spend more than enough of our lives pushing past the fog of distraction, addiction, misunderstanding and laziness to connect wholly with the ones we love. To cover that clarity with wet sand of undeserved doing is the home-wrecker of all time.

Surely there is punishment enough in the loss itself -- and we will all suffer loss -- but cognitive theft comes hardest because you must watch the fog roll in. You must watch your feet cross the planks. And you must watch the waving loss of love's grip as your ship slowly sails out, and the shoreline recedes into the murk.

It seems fair to be afraid of that. So I am.

And then not to think about it further. So I won't.

No reason to call the Candyman now.
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