2001-10-10 - 11:09 p.m.

My biggest illogical fear is tornadoes. I don't know why. I've never been near one - have never seen one except on television. And, no, it didn't come from the movie the Wizard of Oz. One day in college, a friend of mine talked about dealing with tornadoes in Kansas. When she was a child, her family would hide in the basement with a radio. I guess back then they didn't have good weather tracking equipment, because they relied on the town folk to call in sightings to the radio. "It's comin' down Main Street awfully fierce!" The Bernier family wasn't that stupid. But, their neighbor Mrs. O' Grady would always call into the radio station and give a report. She never hid.

I have nightmares about tornadoes. Usually there are several tornadoes coming at me from all directions. I panic. I run. How can you run from a directionless mass of destruction?

My husband has a different fear. Back in the early 80's some horrible individual decided to put cyanide in Tylenol capsules. When you think about death, you ponder about the big catastrophes: car wrecks, falling in the bath tub, cancer, even getting hit by lightning - but not a headache. You pop a Tylenol in your mouth and BOOM! you're dead.

It's like this Anthrax discovery in Florida. Some mail clerk is just doing his job. He opens an envelope. BAM! He's dead in a day.

It is too much to think about right now. There are buildings falling, planes crashing, buses crashing, and loonies threatening stewardesses. Now, we have to sweat the little stuff. It would be too easy to become paranoid. My mother's neighbor down the street is posing for pictures with a gas mask, army fatigues and a rifle. Where do we go from here?

Maybe we just have to remember how fragile life is. That no matter how resilient our body appears, it just isn't. Instead of focusing on how little time we have, maybe we should focus on the time we have here and now. It's hard not to become scared. But, I'm going to try. Thanks, Mrs. O'Grady.

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