When it comes to suspenseful scenarios, my imagination has been my worst enemy. It exaggerates the various possibilities of a situation and makes them believable. The consequence is that I am frequently frightened by harmless noises, people, and actions. My general pessimistic nature automatically makes me look negatively toward a dilemma. I have a cautious personality and like to be prepared for anything from a flat tire to a hangnail. Television and news media generously contribute various horror stories, such as tornadoes, serial killers, and man-eating sharks to my imagination and overall influence my prudence. This combination of television media and my pessimism supplies plenty of images for my imagination, and thus, I am unnecessarily stressed quite regularly.
My overactive imagination first manifested itself at the age of six. It was a typical holiday gathering, chaotic in all sense of the word. There were aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents from both my Mom and Dad’s side of the family. The younger children squabbled and bickered over dolls and games, and the older kids occasionally interrupted the cooking of the Thanksgiving turkey with wild theatrics and songs. Meals were prepared sunrise to sunset and dishes were washed sunset to sunrise, for our dishwasher had conveniently broken just two days earlier. However, my mother caught some of the eight or nine dishwashers running by and utilized their services. The only thing necessary to complete the mayhem was a visit to the emergency room. I was the most qualified candidate.
All of us kids were playing in our unfinished basement. While the more mature cousins and siblings were trying to cram as many people as possible into a double stroller, I was exploring the numerous uses of croquet mallets. My first and fortunately my last experiment involved using the mallets as crutches. Leaning on them, I limped about the basement dodging the crossfire of ping-pong balls and Nerf darts. My investigation came to an end when the mallets slipped, and my chin crash-landed onto the concrete floor. I involuntarily cried out in pain, but my real horror lay in the fact that I was actually bleeding – for such an occurrence rarely happened.
Instantly surrounded and rushed upstairs by my clan, I was passed around like a hot potato, and eventually made it to Aunt Nancy’s arms. She empathized and calmed me by recounting her multiple chin injuries. Yet, at the moment, everything was normal. I had sustained just another injury. Although Dad was making arrangements with a hospital, I was being cuddled by my favorite aunt, and everyone was treating me like a queen. However, all good things must come to an end. I was whisked off to the emergency room, and the torture commenced.
When we arrived, my parents and I sat at the entrance to the hospital and waited. Eventually, Dad was called to the desk, and Mom continued to cradle me and hold a rag to my chin. My mind was quite active, to my overall detriment, and I surveyed the alien surroundings. The first things which caught my attention were the ferns guarding the automatic doors to the foyer. I was then attracted to the warning label on the doors which read, “In case of fire, push”.
The label brought to mind a scenario. If there was a fire in the building, I reasoned that we would be one of the first out because we were so close to the exit. Yes, Dad might have to break through the glass, but we could eventually rush out to our car. I was quite satisfied with that conclusion, but soon another quandary entered my head. As this being two months after 9/11, and my mind was quiet fresh with the violence. I deliberated on what would happen if a terrorist walked in and blew up the hospital. There was certain death in that setting, and the only precaution would be to just keep watch for any men carrying bulging backpacks.
Before I could fabricate any more disasters, Dad and a man dressed in white came toward us. Dad introduced him as the doctor who would be stitching up my chin. I instantly disliked his looks, for he grinned too cheerfully, and a nasty smirk glimmered behind his eyes. It was his dark, beady eyes that led me to suspect him to be a criminal. I had visions of newspaper headlines and news reports blaring “Pseudo Doctor Murders Three People!” The assumed-to-be assassin escorted us to a room off to the side of the main lobby. There was nothing I could do to prevent him from leading us to his lair. My heart beat fast as he closed the door securely behind us, burdened with a prediction of what was to come.
My mind raced as he told me to lie back on the chair. Wary that I was to be the first victim, I reluctantly complied. After telling Mom to apply a liquid onto my chin to numb it, he left the room with Dad. I was certain that the homicidal maniac was trying to chum up to Dad in order to gain his trust and confidence before he slaughtered us. It was futile to try to convince Mom of his intentions because no one ever took a six-year-old’s advice.
My morbid musings were partially detoured by a new concern, the tickling sensation on my chin. “Did you feel that?” Mom asked. She was applying the numbing liquid. “When you can’t feel me brushing on your chin, let me know. Then he can operate, and you won’t feel the needle.” For the next five to nine hours, according to my internal sense of time, she brushed the fluid on my chin and reiterated the same question. I responded as best as I could without opening my mouth or moving my head. “Uh-huh”, “Nuh-uh”, “Uh-huh”. I did so apathetically for I was doubtful that my chin would numb properly. I was certain that, regardless of how much or how long the liquid was applied, I would be in excruciating pain. Yet, believing that my skin would not react with the liquid and therefore stimulate every sensation of needle and thread, I decided to respond bravely. I mentally prepared myself for horrendous pain.
Finally Dad and the lunatic re-entered, and it was time. My doom had come. I had reached the climax. I began to tense up and freeze. Either the building would blow up, the doctor would kill me, or the numbing liquid would fatally react with my biological composition. He had me lie down on the table and covered my face with a blue cloth, which had a hole cut out for my chin. I knew that the cloth would suffocate me, so I attempted to control my erratic breathing. Hoping it would not be a painful death, I tried to think of my family back at the house. They would cry for me and maybe write a song or a poem about my heroic death. I was sure that Mom and Dad would be able to escape as long as the murderer had not somehow hypnotized them.
While dramatically thinking my last thoughts and slightly saying good-bye to all that I held dear, I was surprised by a small sensation. I felt the slight tug of a string… and nothing else. Instantly I was brought back from the land of tragedy to reality. I was at the hospital to get stitches. I was not being suffocated. I could not feel the needle. According to my knowledge, there was no fire or explosion in the building. I was alive. The doctor was done before I realized it. He put a Bugs Bunny band-aid on my chin and helped me off the seat. Mom gave me a hug and promised me a lollipop when we got home because I behaved so well. Before we walked out the door, the doctor smiled and gave me a stuffed, purple bear.
To this day I do not greatly recall the pain and agony from the injury. Rather, I only remember the trauma and panic over my inconsequential presuppositions. Over the years I have realized that a focus on potential calamities dominates my suspicious brain. I have tried to curb my imagination, but because of my horrendous imagination, I am afraid that I will forever be a fretful, distrusting pessimist.