How Then Shall We Live?

18 May

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I have to believe in a God because I am obsessed with the concept of chaos emerging out of nowhere and steam-rolling my life—“Cheese and Rice”!  On any given day, something that you couldn’t possibly know about can come out of the blue, bite you in the ass, and take you out.  If I didn’t believe in God, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning (unless there were bed bugs and there is nothing I hate worse than bed bugs except roaches, rats, serial killers, and pedophiles).

I’m not an End Times nut, nor am I a conspiracy theorist, but if you’ve ever taken a gander at Revelation in the Bible (from which many a fantasy tale has been woven through the millennium), you’ve got to admit that those Four Horses of the Apocalypse (white, red, black, and pale) who wreak havoc on the Earth through conquest (people stealing your shit), war (people waging mayhem on you and your countrymen’s asses and stealing all y’all shit), famine (people starving you to death because of mismanagement—just ask Africa—and stealing the shit you were going to eat), and death (from diseases both known and unknown to random crap and planned attacks, and then fighting over your shit when you’re gone).

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov—Painted in 1887||Wikipedia Image


First, you’ve got your phobiashomichlophobia (fear of fog); chronophobia (fear of time); homophobia (fear of the gays—see Westboro Baptist Church for full-blown phobia on crack); socerophobia (fear of in-laws—if you had met my mother-in-law, you’d understand why this fear exists);

Engagement proposal card||

. . . triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number thirteen); metrophobia (fear of poetry, sorry M. Angelou and e.e. cummings); hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words); agoraphobia (fear of the “market place” or crowds); aquaphobia (fear of water); vasovagal syncope (fear of sight of blood); claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces); anuptaphobia (fear of staying single); acrophobia (fear of heights); pantophobia (fear of everything!) just to name a few out of a list that goes on and on until Jesus comes back!

Healthtips from

And then if you haven’t had a stroke from the fear of your phobias, you’ve got your diseases: Necrotizing Fasciitis (fleshing-eating disease caused by bacteria getting into a cut or wound from brackish water, dirt, or body fluids—probably the mother of MRSA, but don’t quote me); Progeria (rapid and premature aging in children); Acanthamoeba keratitis (common amoeba found in tap water that invades the cornea and can cause blindness and is excruciatingly painful); Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) (found in the tissue of some shellfish—death can occur within 30 minutes); and Candiru fish—aka, “the penis fish” (you must live near the Amazon River and swim in it if you’re human, pee in the water, where a translucent tiny fish will follow the stream of urine that will lodge in your penis and grow up to six inches long while feeding on your blood—moral of the story: never, ever pee in a body of water again, you nasty boys!); and Prion Disease (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy) which can hit us in one or two forms, just to name a few of the gazillion diseases on the Earth:

  • Fatal familial insomnia (genetic condition in which you will never fall asleep again—EVER!)
  • Kuru (disease from eating the flesh of another human—extremely rare unless you are a cannibal, so you should be good to go)*

If we can manage to pull yourself out of bed after these revelations, then we’ve got our animals gone wild and opening up a can of whup ass on us when we least expect it (Google “Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin killed by Stingray”).  Oh sure, they look all cute and cuddly when they are babies:

Baby Platypus||M. Mentry Photo||

“The baby platypus (platypi?) are adorable when they are little but the male platypus has venom strong enough to kill a small dog, or cause excruciating pain and leave humans writhing in pain for months.  The platypus is Mother Nature’s way of saying, ‘I made this thing out of spare parts I found on the workshop floor, and it can still fucking cripple you.’”—The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You |

I always thought baby hippos were so cute and harmless—too fat to do anything but eat and float about.  Baby-girl, my younger daughter, has had an inordinate fear of hippos since she was a baby, which didn’t make any sense because we live in the Northeastern part of the US and hippos generally hang tough in Africa.  She hated them from the first moment she laid eyes on them at the zoo and I have since learned why the “instinctual” repulsion.

Author’s perspective of a hippo’s non-violent life||pinned by Yvette Thorne on Pinterest

. . . And then just when I was contemplating a trip to Africa, I saw this video and I “got the joke” that Baby-girl had known all along—hippos are some angry sons-of-a-bitches:

Photo of YouTube video—“pissed-off hippo chasing a park ranger”|Google Image

“It turns out in the real world, hippos fucking kill people.” ”—The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You

Sigh!  And so, burdened with my life teetering on an apocalyptic precipice, and fearing injury and death from every corner, I went to Liberty University last weekend to support the graduation of someone near and dear to me.  Not having totally made up my mind about the fiber of one Mitt Romney to be the leader of the free world (I have Mormon friends who are the salt of the Earth and who we would be well-suited to be leaders in our government, so I don’t have “Mormonphobia”), I was hoping to take a measurement of Mitt’s character.  I went to the graduation hoping Mr. Romney would prove his critics wrong and throw me a freakin’ bone out of his Mormon heritage and roots to give me and the thousands of graduates some encouragement or revelation about “getting over” on this scary planet of conquest, war, famine, and death.  Ol’ Mitt followed the octogenarian CEO of Chick-fil-A who had brought down the house with a one-line homily:  “I decided long ago that a good name was better to have than riches.”  All Mitty-boy needed to show me was that he could at least match the chicken guy’s compassion for his community—a man who never went to college (S. Truett Cathy) but who has managed to provide 125 local students with college scholarships and sponsored and built fourteen foster homes in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Brazil.  Hell, Mitt just had to show me he had a human heart and not the core of a robot underneath his commencement gown.

Well, I’m here to officially announce that Mitt gave a gift to the audience—thousands of graduates and I left the stadium with a new phobia:  mittromaphobia (fear of Mitt Romney becoming our next president).

Mitt Romney||Liberty University Commencement Speaker

 “I saw that the President and Mitt Romney both gave commencement speeches over the last few days.  Obama was like:  ‘You can be whatever you want to be,’ while Romney was like: ‘I can be whatever you want me to be.’  But actually during his commencement speech at Liberty University, Mitt Romney revealed his campaign staff loves Chick-fil-A—the other thing that he revealed is that he doesn’t know what to say in a commencement speech.”—Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon/NBC


Oh well, maybe I should give Romney the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he has Glossophobia (the fear of public speaking)!


I am discovering that most people just want to raise their families, have enough to eat, put a roof that doesn’t leak over their heads, worship the god of their choice, live in peace with their neighbors, have a little merriment with their friends every once and awhile, live a long and fruitful life, and die a peaceful death—scary trauma and drama need not apply.  We are pretty much the same underneath when it comes to our core desires in life under our different color skin, the veils, the turbans, the pe’ot (side curls of orthodox Jewish men), the Western suits, and the Eastern saris . . . until we are overcome with fear of the unknown (“we’re all going to die!”), and then more often than not, we make the choice to succumb to the choas and add our individualized mayhem to the mix.

Happy Children &

Fear of the past (atrocities from those who hate us for no reason other than being different than they), fear of the present (attacks from those who hurt us to “get over”), and fear of the future (disastrous things of which we have no control) make us go crazy.  Reason alone fails to stand up to our own personal holocausts and reign in the phobias that overwhelming fear and hopelessness engender (sorry my Four “atheist” HorsemenHitchens, Harris, Dawkins, and Dennett).   Even though the fierceness of evil’s atrocity should make us want to sucker punch God for seemingly hanging us out to dry at times, it is only the ability to “trust” in a higher power that gives us hope beyond what we can see (faith) for another day, another generation, and another burst of “joie de vivre.”

The consummate expression of “Joie de vivre” on the face of a three-year-old||J Tomczyk Photo


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”Mark Twain

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”—Nelson Mandela

“I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world.”—Albert Einstein

“I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.”—Albert Einstein

“I fear one day I’ll meet God, he’ll sneeze and I won’t know what to say.”—Ronnie Shakes

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


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31 responses to “How Then Shall We Live?

  1. Dienna

    May 19, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Man, there were a lot of fears listed in that one. Interesting to know their names (anuptaphobia…interesting).

    • etomczyk

      May 19, 2012 at 6:24 am

      Dienna: That was only a drop in the bucket. I had to stop listing them because I was becoming paranoid that I was coming down with at least three of them. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and especially leaving a comment. All the best.

  2. momshieb

    May 19, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Thank you for the morning belly laughs! I am currently suffering from a severe case of “copophobia” as my sons are at the Chicago protests. But I also have most of those other ones, too! Can a person suffer from fear of fear?!
    As always, I think you are on the money about what people want from life. If only we could figure out a way to give it to each other!

    • etomczyk

      May 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Momsheib: Yes, the fear of fear is “phobophobia.” There is always something to fear, especially when one has children. I never knew fear like the fear I’ve suffered worrying over my children. I have to conquer it daily. (I left you a note about your kids on your blog.) Thanks for stopping by and leaving your wonderfully supportive comment. Cheers!

  3. Sondra Smith

    May 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

    This was excellent! Politicians, churches, and anyone that wants to control us, uses fear to their advantage. Once the seed of fear has been planted it takes on a life of its own it does not understand logic or reason.

    • etomczyk

      May 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      Sondra: Thanks for helping me see my way clear to this blog subject. You’re the best! ET

  4. Duane

    May 19, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Great stuff Eleanor. I love Einstein.

    • etomczyk

      May 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks Duane. I’m very curious; are you the Duane I know from back in the day? If so, hugs and kisses! Hope all is well and thanks so much for being a reader and leaving a comment. And if you’re another Duane, I love you too! 🙂

  5. Lori-Ann

    May 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Wow, that covered just about everything I ever had a nightmare about! It was exhilerating. When I finished reading I felt like I was stepping off of a phobia seekers thrill ride. (that’s a compliment)

    • etomczyk

      May 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Lori-Ann: What I couldn’t believe was how many phobias there really are–they are endless! I only listed a hand full of them before I started breaking out in hives! I wrote this post after my husband I were talking about why we are (all humans) not consumed with fear because there is so much that rages against us (add to the diseases and phobias the wars upon rumors of wars, including the muggers, robbers, and rapist, and one can hardly breath). It seems the more we know, the more prone to being consumed by fear we are (ignorance is truly bliss). So what keeps us from going crazy: being oblivious to our surroundings (polyannaish) or faith in something higher than ourselves? It made for an interesting discussion and hopefully a funny blog.

      Thanks for stopping by. ET

  6. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    May 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    One way to combat fear is to stop reading newspapers and listening to TV news people. Their job is to frighten us and make us feel more reliant on them for information.

    • etomczyk

      May 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Ronnie, you are so right. I’m personally tring to get handle on this. I need to keep up with the news to be a topical blogger, but it does exactly what you say. How to keep abreast of the news yet not let it give me a heart attack is a fine line. I’m trying to step back from it on the weekend–give myself a breather. Wish me luck!

  7. Lindy Lee

    May 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    ET entertains this her humble follower, once again; she agrees with Dr. Einstein’s declaration that he “…shall never believe that God plays dice with the world”. This is because human beings have that duty all wrapped up already…

    • etomczyk

      May 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Lindy Lee, Isn’t it the truth! Humans play dice with the world and its inhabitants but God does not. Thanks so much for reading my blog this week and leaving a comment. It’s always such a pleasure to have you stop by.

      • Lindy Lee

        May 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        The pleasure is all mine, rest assured. Your blog is a joy to follow…

  8. hereswhatsgoingon

    May 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Laughing is good. Laughing at fears? Really good. Laughing at the super scary stuff? ( I’m thinking right now more of political shenanigans than hippos) Priceless. 🙂 What a great role model you are for a new blogger!

    • etomczyk

      May 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Welcome Valerie and thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful comment. Hope to see you again. All the best.

  9. Babygirl

    May 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I had to stop reading when I got to the hippo picture, then I took a couple shots and got up the nerve to read on. 🙂 Love the quote from Jimmy Fallon, he said it perfectly, get it together Romney. That’s what the plane circling the ceremony should have said.

    • etomczyk

      May 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Babygirl, I knew the picture of the Hippo would send you for a loop! After doin research on them for my blog, I am inclined to join your camp of opinion.

      I forgot all about the plane. But you’re right–I can’t remember when I’ve been so bored. xoxo 🙂

  10. composerinthegarden

    May 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Oh, the bubble picture is priceless! Your grandson? From the four horsemen of the apocalypse to mother-in-laws – whew! Your usual amazing post that ranges from belly laughs to thoughtfulness to a few more giggles and a desire to contribute to a more loving world. Bravo!

    • etomczyk

      May 21, 2012 at 6:45 am

      Hi Lynn. Yes that is my grandson with the giant bubble. He had never experienced bubble making in that form and the sheer rapture on his face at the beauty of what he had created just took our breath away. Thanks so much for reading this week’s post. Although it is humorous, it isn’t too far afield from your inspiring music about breathing. When I’m frightened I don’t breathe (my Russian voice teacher used to harangue me constantly: “BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE”); when I overcome fear, my breathing evens out. I’m all about conquering fear of the known and the unknown.

      All the best. ET

  11. aFrankAngle

    May 21, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Interestingly, as i read this about fears, I just saw a good interview with Rep. John Lewis who talked about respect and tolerance. 🙂 The four atheist horsemen cracked me up! Well done E-Tom – and no Nincompoopophobia!!! Congrats on getting past the editor in chief!

    • etomczyk

      May 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Frank, my man: “Nincompoopophobia” (fear of Sarah Palin) is understood to be a universal phobia. People have this phobia in Botswana. One doesn’t have to state the obvious when listing fears. 🙂

      Yep, this week was a tough one with the editor. The problem is is that he edits as part of his job, so I’m not allowed to get away with anything. It was a long, long night! Take care. ET

      • aFrankAngle

        May 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

        Try the wine-and-lingerie bribery method.

      • etomczyk

        May 21, 2012 at 9:35 am

        Frank: Laughing OL! . . .literally! You’re hysterical! 🙂 Believe me, I’ve tried. Nothing moves WW (no cajoling, no manipulation, no whining) when he’s striving for excellence. Just ask our kids!

      • aFrankAngle

        May 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

        Oh my my … WW is one of those good people with the hard shell on the outside. How about threats? … such as, “WW, you won’t believe it, but I want to host the Palins for dinner.”

  12. An Observant Mind

    May 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I’m totally telling my son about the penis fish – minus it not being anywhere near any of the waters he swims in! Brilliant! I love that platypus photo too, how cute are they? Until you know the REAL story! I havent seen the latest on Mitt (being over here I have to go searching for the US news, they aren’t too apt to report it on the front page) but its no surprises there. He’d do better saying nothing at all!

    • etomczyk

      May 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Karyn, you are such a teaser. Poor boy, he’ll never go into a swimming pool or a lake again! There are so many diseases–it is a wonder any of us keep our sanity. I just finished reading your mother’s day story about the precarious birth of your son and I could hardly breath. Yikes, the things that assail us as humans never cease to amaze me. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I truly appreciate your support.

  13. imagesbytdashfield

    May 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    You had me crying with the “this or that happens and then they mess with your chit” lines. So very freaking true – all of them. Don’t get me started on the phobias! I’ve heard of a few of them and glad that if I ever have the chance to whiz in the Amazon I will be safe (read serious sarcasm there). As my amazing 8 year old loves Perry the Platypus I would show him the pics of the baby ones but he probably wouldn’t recognize the real from the cartoon but I like them.

    • etomczyk

      May 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Hi TD. I had hives for days after doing the research for that blog. Every bug that jumped at me out of the garden was subject to suspect as carrying the West Nile disease. I really am amazed that we, as humans, have the courage to get out of the bed in the morning. We really do live on a scary planet. I read your bucket list and one of the things I want to do with WW is go on a Safari, but I don’t think my nerves could survive. I had parasites once just eating Sushi from a place in our neighborhood. Can you imagine what I could come back with after three weeks in Africa? Yikes!

      Thanks for stopping by–Welcome back!

  14. wanderingstarrz

    September 27, 2012 at 4:30 am

    I love your humour, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts! It is the first time since reading a blog that I laughed allowed! Just wondering though; those 4 horses of the Apocalypse, aren’t they here already? All the wars in the world and all the ‘shit’ hitting the fans! Maybe they represent countries who are already tearing into shreds their people and their land. Have to say, sorry to ramble on and on; I agree with what you said about how we haven’t met our maker yet, so we can’t know if we are correct about our religions. I don’t think we are correct, as the words of any religious text have been twisted to suit whoever was in power at the time! Also, one last thing I promise; I would be suspicious of any ‘Politician’ who said they were acting as some kind of safe guard of or spokes-person of God, that is like a dictator. So basically whatever they say thereafter, has to be obeyed and seen as the truth because they are ordained by some some higher supreme force; what is all that about!


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