Monsters 6/3/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

They say there are no more monsters. Okay, at this point you might be thinking this is another political blog but, no, I mean there are no monsters.

Or are there?

There was a very interesting observation from a movie I’ve seen that suggested that the only reason there are no monsters is because we’ve named them all. Imagine, for example, the first time someone saw a hyena. Oddly shaped with muscular bodies, nasty teeth and an evil laugh, surely somebody at some point assumed they were monsters. The hyenas haven’t changed significantly in centuries, but their status (probably) changed from “monster” to “hyena”.

Yes, hyenas from a different movie.

Maybe hyenas never carried the “monster” label, but I think you get the point. It’s the unknown, something that people have always feared. Horror books and films are often set at night when probably our strongest defensive sense, namely vision, is severely weakened. It’s been a long-standing hypothesis that people fear the dark for this very reason.

Frankly, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be visually impaired.

I guess, if you really think about it, we all face a multitude of monsters throughout our lives, unknowns that make us nervous or afraid. It begins, I guess, with that monster in the closet when we were children, but they never really go away. I still remember the terror when I first kissed a woman, well, frankly, I was well into my forties so there’s that. My first day at college, my first job, the first time a doctor told me that I’m diabetic and my first heart attack. All of these monsters were alien to me, fearful when I first faced them. Eventually, the concepts became familiar to me and with this familiarity the fear, and the monster, disappeared.

One of my few really beautiful memories of my mother was during an electrical storm when I was maybe six or seven. It was late in the night (or early in the morning) and the thunder woke me up. The storm center must have been very close to our house; it was very intense. I have no idea how my sister slept through it, but I crept into my mom and dad’s room and asked mom if I could sleep with them. The answer, of course, was no, but my mother did something beautiful. She put on a robe and took me downstairs to the largest window in the house, the dining room window. We looked out at the lightening together, oohing and ahhing the entire time, until I was drowsy and ready to get back to bed.

My mother, I’m sure knowingly, forced me to confront the monster of my fears. Before long, it became familiar to me, and I was in awe of the beauty of the display outside. This familiarity turned the monster into a life-long love of electrical storms that is still with me today.

An interesting thing happened just before I wrote this blog. Iowa’s Steve King has apparently lost the Republican primary for the House of Representatives. King has a long history in the House, and frequently suffers from Athlete’s Tongue as he makes offensive and racist comments. However, with his longevity in the House, he is one of the more powerful members of the House which is usually very beneficial for the home state. This makes it shocking that he lost the Republican party backing, but more than that, the “incumbent edge” means that politicians are far more likely to win re-election against their opponents regardless of their popularity. Think of George W. Bush who won his second term despite being highly unpopular.

I think this is because of monsters. The common expression is “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Unfortunately, this fear makes us vote politicians back into office whether we like what they have been doing or not. Nixon won his second term as president, one of the biggest landslide election victories in US history despite the fact that the Watergate scandal that eventually ended his presidency broke two months prior to the election.

Interesting. I guess this turned out to be a political post after all.

I’m facing my monsters tonight. I’ve reached out to a resume consultant and have responded positively to a request for an interview. My past few jobs have certainly made me “gun shy” in my job search, but once again, I’m standing, frightened, at that window. Let’s hope that it pans out. Things are certainly getting desperate for me.

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