The red book with the scraggly drawings on the cover which is prominently displayed on my living room bookshelf is called Fears of Your Life, and it is written by Michael Bernard Loggins, list-maker extraordinaire. Inside is page after page of Loggin’s fears, plaintively laid out in a simple, bare-bones script that accentuates the earnestness of his endeavor.
I am so enamored by Loggin’s raw truthiness, I decide to make my own list of fears. I start late one night, after several beers and a few slices of pizza.
- Fear of drinking until I become an alcoholic
- Fear of this nightly tickle in my throat growing until I wake up one morning realizing I have emphysema
- Fear of a drone outside my living room window recording and posting candid nose picking shots of me onto Nosepickers.com
- Fear of realizing that in jail, I am the bully, or the kiss up, or the sodomy instigator. That I am not the convict with a heart of gold
Mr. Loggins is considered to have a developmental disability. He has found an outlet for his art and writing at Creativity Explored, a visual arts center in San Francisco. They cultivate a platform for artists like Loggins, people that perhaps would be overlooked in a more conventional setting.
There are the usual suspects on Loggins list, like: 42. Fear of Death or 26. Fear of Bees and 13. Fear of Being Lost. Then there are the fears of a more particular variety:
50. Fear of being spank by a principal when a parent give an permission
Fear #2: I fear that those tv. People would take off my favorite cartoon. The Rugrats off the air and wouldn’t be able to watch them anymore for a long long, long time. “Please let well enough alone.” Please don’t take my Rugrats cartoon off the air because I love that cartoon. Let there be a possibility that life with the Rugrats stay put means leave my Rugrats cartoon on tv. Michael said.
I can certainly relate to that. When I heard a (false) rumor that Better Call Saul wasn’t going to be given a second season, I seriously considered writing a letter. Or, Jesus Christ, all the shows that get preemptively cut, and we never get to know the end, the creators ending vision?!? That’s the absolute worst.
- Fears that my mental illness holds my husband back and that he would be more successful if I killed myself
- Fears of my husband dying before me and I won’t be able to tell him what it is like to live without him
- Fears that instead of our lives getting better, our lives will get worse and we will have to survive an apocalypse in our sixties
Sometimes Loggins will tag his fears with “Michael said,” or even write out his entire name. It’s almost like there are just some fears one has to super-double claim.
Loggins lives and moves around in the city, so a lot of his fears involve transportation issues, like:
Fear #5: I’m afraid of my fear of crossing the streets of San Francisco when there are so much safety rules of streets for people to go by the laws and not break those safety rules….
- Feared that the bus driver is driving much too fast like if he don’t know how to stop it or he tries slowing it down some so that he wouldn’t hurt bunch of passengers
Fear #7: Only dangerous thing about stop lights they don’t stay on long enough for you to change your mind about crossing the street…
It reminds me of a recurring bad dream where I am driving up a long windy mountain road and can’t stop myself from plunging over the cliff and into the ocean. Cars and transportation are easy access to anxieties about control, and the loss of control, so I can see why such worries take up so much list space.
- I fear time will freeze and I will use that opportunity to pinch someone’s nipple, Amy said.
- I fear I will fail so many times at the same thing that people will stop believing I am capable of change says Amy Bee.
- I fear there is more bad to me than good, more dark than light, more selfish motivation than compassion. And everyone already knows this except me Amy Bee.
One of my favorite fears on Loggin’s list comes at the end, and I find it so sweet and touching and achingly universal:
Fear #45: Afraid this is the last thing that ever occur to me. This is the end of Fears of Your Life page in my book. Tuesday February 19, 2002 is when Michael Bernard Loggins finishes these pages up. So there be the last to be done for Michael Bernard Loggins. Congradulation! Michael my Buddy buddy! Pal you did it you got it done.
Loggins knows fear, and therefore, Loggins knows people. It’s as if he has his fingers on the crux, the tender spot of what is us, what it is to be people, what it is to be the same and connected, and yet unique and alone.
Fear #?? One night I finished the beers, I wrote a list of all my fears, and it occurred to me these may be my last thoughts. Oh well, Amy Bee! You did it! You got it done! The End!
*All fears in italics are the words of Michael Bernard Loggins, from his wonderful book, Fears of Your Life