"A real man dies a hero’s death, and who am I, if not a real man, sitting on this toilet like a real badass!"
There is little that scares me. Heights, maybe. Clowns of course. The open sea. Sharks. Conservatives. Preservatives. GMOs. Crowds. Doorknobs in public restrooms. Public restrooms. Waiting in line at the supermarket with the guy behind you actively fighting the law of minimum distances, breathing warm, wet carbon dioxide right into your neck. Dentists. Pop music. Nazis. White gummy bears. Sweet salad. Cabbage!
Obviously, I’m pretty fearless! There is a reason I scored only a 90 on Neuroticism in the NEO-PI-R personality test, and not the big fat 100. Basically, if you will, so to say, frankly, we could argue that, probably, mostly, I’m a really brave, badassy son of a bitch. I am as tough as a leather jacket and hard like a math test. My balls are the size of small soccer balls and made of Adamantium and women adore me as men adore a new sports car or zip-off pants.
I’m one of those guys who, when things get tough, tear open their shirt with less than three tries, exposing their muscular, big, manly mane of a chest, who yell really manly things with the bass and pathos of a braveheart, jump on their war horse and lead the Scots to victory.
If fear has a name, I am the one calling it nerd and stealing its lunch money!
The light flickers for a moment as I turn it on. The formerly white tiled room lights up in the damp glow of a single neon light hanging loosely at a cable from the ceiling. I walk into a gust of stale air, a moist, warm, mouldy scent of this-really-needs-to-be-cleaned-or-rather-burnt-down-right-away.
I close the foldable plastic door behind me and it roars like a startled walrus having a cold. Silence.
My fingertips slowly open the toilet lid. A real badass right here.
Oh, yes. My Kryptonite. It crawls and creeps. It has antennas. It follows me to any country I travel to and it has made me its archenemy, its lifelong dream to destroy me, its anger infinite and its wickedness boundless.
Cockroaches and me, that is high volume desperation paired with a pinch of panic, many manly tears and a lemon slice. Cockroaches and me, that’s Psycho, The Shining and the whole Twilight saga combined.
Snakes? Hungry tigers? Axt murderers chasing you through the streets of London past midnight with a boombox playing the best of ABBA? Fine by me. Give me my fedora, my whip and a fridge and I survive even the nastiest nuclear bombings. But cockroaches?!
Deep down in the depths of my heart there is an eternal fire, burning full of pain, and no amount of tears could ever kill it.
Trust me, I tried.
"with the hungover voice of a Morgan Freeman, his battle cry, for freedom and for Frodo."
The light shines on the white-ish tiles in front of me. The room is tiny. To my left, a sink, to my right, another formerly white wall and some kind of drainage that strongly resembles the Sarlacc Pit. The tiles are old, the dirt in between even older. But I don’t mind. My manliness shines strong in even the darkest, dirtiest places.
My eyes wander along the wall, in every direction, every corner, crack, edge and bump. I try to detect any possible crawling sounds among the speed metal drum solo my heart is beating. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Calm down. You’ll be fine.
I sit down.
It should be pointed out that anxiety can be overcome. Goethe, for one, once cured himself from his fear of heights by climbing up the highest tower he could find and looking down till his fear was gone. But not everyone is Goethe. And god knows which poor bastard discovered the downside of Goethe’s treatment when walking at the bottom of the tower that day.
The dripping faucet pulls me back into reality. On the other hand, I think, that’s exactly what I wanted.
Adventure. Danger. Risks! Leaving my comfort zone behind, going out into this world, conquering the exotic, the unknown, standing on its carcass with my hands in my hips and my eyes on the horizon, watching the sun set and radiate golden colours at my Ray Ban sunglasses as somewhere in the distance you can hear the Topgun soundtrack.
Whatever happens, a real man breathes in, breathes out, and then, with all his strength, roars, with the hungover voice of a Morgan Freeman, his battle cry, for freedom and for Frodo, and on his white horse he rides into battle, a battle so epic and legendary that the movie fades to black and the following events are told in text, because the CGI department didn’t have the budget for such greatness.
A real man dies a hero’s death, and who am I, if not a real man, sitting on this toilet like a real badass!
I look around. Maybe, actually, it’s all much ado about nothing. After all, I’m much taller. And stronger. And, did I already mention? A real man! Plus, I checked everything as I entered the room. The floor, the corners, the walls, every bump and dent and crack and hole. My inner self vigorously nods. I’m save. Seriously, those things would have to fly to get past me, I think. Or, like, walk on the ceiling, my inner self adds. We both laugh exuberantly. Ceiling, haha. Ha. Ha..
Are you ok? she asks, as I return.
Sure, why? I respond.
I heard a girl scream in there. Didn’t you hear it?
What? No, nothing! A girl? Weird.. Besides, that’s the men’s room!