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Friday, August 8, 2014

Scared? Yes. Terrified? Never

I've certainly been anxious or nervous many times in my life. And I can think of a few instances when I've been scared. But I don't think I've ever crossed the line into being terrified by something or perhaps worse, by someone. Another case where my life has been one of reasonably good fortune.

On the few occasions my Dad spoke of his experiences in WWII, I got a sense of the terror he felt as a young man. Like most vets I've met, he was reluctant to even speak about that time of his life. But the few details I got from him remain so vivid that when I hear someone say "I was terrified", they've got my attention. If it turns out the word is being used to exaggerated effect, I turn off.

Yet, as impatient as I can be now when people toss around the word terror, I'm a model of tolerance compared to Pat circa mid-90's. In those years doing adult education on the subject of domestic violence, which included visiting women's shelters as part of my research, I saw terror up close. "I'm terrified" got tossed onto my personal trash heap of hyperbolic expressions soon after.            

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