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This one was written on Wednesday night and posted early today prior to us going to the airport. For all I know it is the last thing I will ever write. Airplanes crash on occasion, but far less than we imagine. Human beings are very bad at assessing the probability of bad things. It is curious to see what makes us fearful; we tend to pick and choose or fears and put more fear onto improbable events while not being wary about what is hazardous. For example: statistics show we are far more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident on the way to the airport than from the plane crashing. I continually see patients who refuse a medication on the grounds there is a chance of a certain side effect, but smoke cigarettes. They also buy lottery tickets, whose odds are miniscule, hoping this will pay off. This drives me bats.

Then there are the phobias. Nothing is so queer as another person’s phobia. I go into hysterics seeing a large spider but a scorpion in the just-opened drawer only evokes annoyance and outrage. Let’s talk about bats. Many people are frightened of bats. There is approximately 1 to 2 bat attacks per year for the entire North America continent* in contrast to tens of thousands of yearly dog attacks. You get the point. I happen to think bats quite cute if not downright comical. The dear little fuzz puppets! They eat massive amounts of insects every night (thank you!) and they fertilize agave plants. Every time I have tequila I raise my glass in thanks to some faraway bat for my drink. I would love to set up a bat house in the backyard but Someone is one of those types bats give him the heebie-jeebies.**

It’s tequila time! Thank you long-nosed bat!

If you believe all the Mrs. Kravitzes on the neighborhood app, our quiet district is overrun with burglars and strange men driving around in white vans. The streets are full of javelinas. coyotes, rattlesnakes, and liberals wanting to take away the guns. To avoid pending doom it is best to barricade ourselves in with six months supplies of toilet paper and ammunition. Oh the horror.

Marie Curie said “Nothing in life is to be feared but understood”. I wish I had a similar quote for putting risk-assessment in perspective. One could easily argue all of life is a risk. As soon as we rise in the morning we face hazards all day long, starting with slipping on the way to the loo and chocking on our morning coco-puffs. This weekend I face air travel, highway travel, a nearby beehive, and right-wing Michiganders running around unvaccinated and heavily armed. There are little brown bats in the woods around Brother #3’s place. They are the least of my worries.

*Turns out these are almost always the bat biting in self-defense as someone was trying to grab or hit them with a broom. The bats are right to do so.

**When I lived in Chicago I put up a bat house in my backyard. When the neighbors questioned it, I told them it was for woodpeckers.

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October 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018