Fear is a wonderful motivational tool

by Tommy Wells

By nature, I’m not very afraid of bugs, insects, heights or close-in spaces. Don’t take that to mean that I would be fine being buried in a casket filled with bugs on a mountain. I wouldn’t … mainly because I would prefer not to be buried at all while I’m alive.

Still, I’m learning that the things we are afraid of can be great motivational tools. Take for instance, a while back my oldest son, Bubba, and his best friend, Carson, were playing basketball in the front yard. After an errant shot had sent the ball rolling into the road, the two entered into a conversation to find out who should go retrieve the ball.

“I think you should go get it,” Bubba said.

“I think you should go get it,” Carson retorted.

“You shot and missed so you go get it,” Bubba said.

“You’re uglier than me, so you should go get it,” Carson said.

Understand, both of these guys are 6-foot-5 and determined to stand their ground. Giving inwould mean the other was anything less than the Alpha male. I know all you ladies out there know a few men like that, right?

After about 4 hours of arguing who should go get the ball, Bubba decided to end the argument. He threw up his arms and started walking … to the creek that runs behind the house. A few minutes later, he marched back into the yard, looked at his friend and says, “I think you are going to go get the ball.”

“No, I’m not,” Carson said.

At this point, Bubba reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small frog and begins walking toward Carson.

I’m not saying Carson is afraid of frogs, but someone with the initials of “Carson” screamed like a little girl and began running all over the yard like his hair was on fire. He ended up going to get the ball.

The same treatment worked for my youngest son, Bobby, a few days later. One of a handful of children the doctor gave us instead of a bill so many years ago, he was asked to take out the trash. One hour … two hours… and the trash was still there.

“Tommy Joe! (That’s what She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Made-Mad calls me when she wants to stress something) Can you get your son to take out the trash? I asked him to do it a long time ago and he still hasn’t moved.”

Being the cool male parental unit that I am, I didn’t raise my voice or anything like that. My blood pressure never rose a bit. All I did was use a little psychology … and a small spider that I found. I told him if he didn’t go take the trash out before I counted to five, I would throw the tiny 8-legged arachnid on him.

He went immediately. Of course, my approach backfired a little later.

“How would you like it if I got something you were afraid of and threatened to throw it on you?” he asked when he got back from taking the trash out.

“Like what?” I said. “I’m not really afraid of anything.”

Without missing a beat, he yelled.

“Mom! Dad just spilled coke on your couch!!”

I have to admit, he’s a pretty smart chip off the ol’ block.

Just as soon as SWMNBMM gives up searching for me with that stick, I swear I’m gonna crawl out of this trunk in the attic and go postal on that kid.

Until then, let’s talk in a low whisper. I’m very afraid of her!

Tommy Wells is the editor of the McGregor Mirror. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that are made up, exaggerated or just plain lies.