Saturday, June 23, 2007

Random Worry #1

As I've confessed here before, ever since I've had my two girls, I've been consumed with worry. At first, I figured it was magnified by your run-of-the-mill post-partum hormones, which make every emotion sharper, every worry more intense and lasting. But now I've discovered that motherhood just naturally magnifies every worry, and it Never. Goes. Away.

I worry about renegade drivers on cell phones. I worry about jack-knifing semis (this happens a lot in my city) and collapsing bridges (this doesn't). I worry about strange diseases. I worry about the lasting repercussions of poor school systems and the poor teachers that can rear their ugly attitudes and abusive behavior among the great ones. I worry about school bullies. And school shootings. Terrorists. Fundamentalist extremists of any kind, including domestic ones. America's image abroad. Racism. Sexism. The state of Social Security. Alzheimer's. Processed foods. Pesticides. Spiders. (Totally spiders.) The scorpions that live in my attic and sometimes come down to visit and hide in the toys. Sharks going vertical and zooming up to chomp my legs off when I'm scuba diving and the dive master makes us all float on the surface until everyone is off the boat. (Love scuba diving--hate floating on the surface doing my best Hi-I'm-a-wounded-seal! impression. Especially in my wet suit with the yellow stripe--a.k.a. "yum-yum yellow" since it's a color sharks find attractive. Who knew?) Strange family members who could get custody if we all explode. Religion. The meaning of life. Doing something that matters. Having a midlife crisis if I'm not.

And in the middle of all of that, I seem to have time to worry about some really bizarre, random stuff, too. Today's random worry came in the form of a CNN report about the danger of digging in the sand. Now the mere sight of Maggie and her little plastic shovel at the beach makes my hair curl. (Or frizz like I'm 1970s Donna Summer, thankyouverymuchFloridahumidity.)

Apparently, Harvard just released a report about how the odds of your dying from being swallowed up by a sand hole are greater than those of you being on the wrong end of a shark attack. ("Hi, I'm a wounded--urph")

The problem is so prevalent, a study of person-eating sand holes was conducted by Harvard University and reported in the New England Freaking Journal of Medicine.

Apparently, if you dig a hole at least 2 feet deep in the sand, then follow the natural and undeniable impulse to GET IN said hole and jump around (Jump around! Jump around! Jump up, jump up, and get down!)--or fall in it, if it's not taller than you are--the sand walls can collapse, swallowing you faster than the Mighty Sarlaac ate Boba Fett in Return of the Jedi. (No excellent tentacles or nasty gurgling noises, though.)

And here's the kicker, writes Harvard's Dr. Bradley Maron, the study's lead author, in the NEFJM: "Typically, victims became completely submerged in the sand when the walls of the hole unexpectedly collapsed, leaving virtually no evidence of the hole or location of the victim."

(Emphasis mine!!!!)


Easily solved, you say: Don't dig holes in the sand. Well, consider poor Matthew Gauruder, bless him, who was innocently playing football in the sand during his high school after-prom party. This breaks my heart--poor Matthew went for a pass, fell into an 8 ft. hole SOME OTHER LOSER dug, and died when it collapsed on him.

I can't bring myself to crack any more jokes after that sad story. Suffice it to say, I'm worrying. Death to all plastic shovels.


Sharron said...

I hate to say it, but I like to dig holes in sand...but I FILL THEM IN when I leave. Only losers leaving open holes!

Sharron said...

Oh, and I worry about my car going underwater and me not being able to get out and drowning. And I am right there with you on the floating on the surface. It just screams BAIT. We all know it. And so do the sharks.

Tracy Montoya said...

I worry about going underwater in my car, too! Compounding that worry, I've read conflicting accounts of how to get out. One says you should wait until your car hits the bottom and the pressure equalizes, and then you can just open the door. Another says you should open a door or window while you're still floating on the surface, because you won't be able to underwater. GAH! I'm not prepared!!!!!

Cathy in AK said...

Have you seen Mythbusters on the Discovery channel? One episode dealt with the getting out of a submerged car. They found that cars fill up pretty damn quick and it's nearly impossible to open a manual window as the water presses against the glass (forget it if you have electric windows). So you have to wait until the car is flooded (how long can you hold your breath?) and then BREAK the window. One of those little do-hickies that cops or firefighters have that sends a metal point popping against the glass works great, or something with a small, strong tip like that.

Just thought I'd share : )

Tracy Montoya said...

Well, that's cheery, Cathy. I bet you're glad that most of the water bodies around you are perpetually frozen over, eh?

Cathy in AK said...

Now, now, Tracy, let's not sterotype here : ) There's a lot of open water here in Alaska's "banana belt", but yes, it can freeze up rather nicely. (one of the big sports in our former town was car racing on the frozen lake) Though I can still worry that if I fall into a lake or river in the winter I'll be trapped under water AND ice.

There's a cheery thought : P

Tracy Montoya said...

OK, Cathy, you MUST tell me what the heck Alaska's banana belt is!

Water and ice--that's an awful thought. I saw an "I Shouldn't Be Alive" with that theme, too. Creeeeeeepy.

Cathy in AK said...

Admitedly, the term "banana belt" is relative. If I have it right, its northern reach is the coastal area around Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, and extends south east to include the panhandle (Juneau, Sitka, etc.). The banana belt doesn't get the biting cold of the interior (Faribanks) or the rip through you wind and snow of the Aleutian chain or western AK. Nor is it near freezing in July, like Barrow and other points WAY north.

We're in the northern edge of the belt, so we do get snow and single digits in the winter. See? Relatively warm : )

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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