Thursday, June 07, 2007


I was just reading a news story from Wisconsin that skeeved me out. Apparently a guy dropped his cell phone down the grate of a storm drain. He then lifted off the grate, and reached in to retrieve it. He pitched face first into the drain, where he became stuck, with his head and shoulders underwater, and drowned.

That's it in a nutshell (but you can read the story here, if you're so inclined), but you may not realize yet the part of the story that I found so disturbing. Sure, this was just a guy that I'll never know who did something stupid. These things happen, but if you do anything more than muster up a simple "Awwww..." everytime you read about the untimely demise of someone you don't know, you will be debilitatingly depressed all of the time. But in this case, the story had an element that I am upset by.

The storm drain.

I have this fear, well it's not so much a full-blown fear as it is a phobia, that I will accidentally drop my keys down a storm grate. When I am walking somewhere, and I have to step over a storm grate, my hand is in my pocket, maintaining a death grip on my keys. This way the keys are protected by both my grip and the pocket, and there is no way that storm drain will get the keys.

And it's that bad too, where I envision that not only is there a remote possibility that my keys could drop into the drain, but that the grate has somehow latched onto some basic primal sentience, that knows not good nor evil, but simply exists to hunger for my keys, and that it will do whatever it can to sway the fates in such a way as to get them, just as I take extra precaution to prevent it.

I don't know where I developed this fear. I don't know anyone who has ever dropped their keys in the drain. It just appeared one day. But, in the scheme of things, although it's odd, it's rather minor and doesn't maintain my focus for longer than the instant that I am stepping over the grate (or in this case, when I read about a guy who fell prey to the bloodlust of a storm drain), and I think I can deal with it sans therapy.


Angeline Rose Larimer said...

Now, I love spelunking, but it only took once trying to wedge through a hole too small (combined with reading Reader's Digest 'True Story' section for years waiting for private oboe lessons...45% of the terrifying escapes from death involved caves) to realize I did NOT want to die wedged in, unable to save myself. Days in the dark, the dripping, the terrible news that the digger isn't going to be able to reach, or the walls are in danger of collapsing...etc.
I suppose drowning quickly is better...but Damn.

I would go into a storm drain to save a child/POSSIBLY a kitten, but that's IT. A cell phone?! 300 pounds, wedged face first into mucky run-off for a electronic device that was probably ruined the second it hit the water??
In a sick way, I'm kind of relieved they found him already dead. Can you imagine the trauma being the neighbor who couldn't pull him out?
This is why I try not to pay attention to my neighbors much.

Jennifer said...

Hmmm. This seems highly suspicious, to me. Lawnmower Guy has a pretty wife, doesn't he? He'd been a pretty inattentive husband, hadn't he? So pretty little wife takes up with Cell Phone Guy. See where I'm going with this? Wifey sees the men conversing over an idling lawnmower. She's at once annoyed about the tall grass and paranoid about the possibility that Cell Phone Guy is going to confess their adultery. In a frantic state, she calls Cell Phone Guy's cell phone. He sees her number on the screen and his first impulse is to get back on his own turf, out of the way of the idling lawnmower. Unbeknownst to either of them, Lawnmower Guy has foreseen everything and has removed the storm drain grate in advance. It was a trap! Murder One.

If you're reading this, Lawnmower Guy, the only right thing to do is turn yourself in, immediately.

Alpharat - can't you just buy a big-ass key chain?

alpharat said...

I've had a big-ass keychain (not to be confused with a big ass keychain, those are obnoxious), it did not diffuse my phobia, but did gve me a better grip.

Actually, the wad of keys I pack now isn't that small.

fineartist said...

True, we'd be crying all of the time if we stopped to fully absorb all of the deaths that we read or hear about.

To lose a life to a drain for a cell phone. Did he think it would work when he pulled it from the water? I hear the insurance doesn't cover water damage.

Now your key fear I understand. I'm obsessive compulsive. Truly, I understand, not saying you are...but I have those kinds of fears too, and I would go after my KEYS.

I was a crazed maniac over my passport. I would have taped it to my rib cage if I hadn't been afraid it might fall out without my noticing. Had it clasped in my hand and stuck in my bag, held up to my chest. Yes a walking dork who screamed TOURIST. I still get a feeling of apprehension when I think about it.

You guys crack me up.