My Ungoals

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October 17, 2012 by Mandi Harris

Sometimes it’s easier to think about the things I don’t want to do than to make a list of the all the things I do want to accomplish. Since I am a fundamentally lazy person, I tend to go with what’s easiest. So, here are two of my ungoals, things I don’t particularly feel the need to accomplish by the time I’m thirty.
I don’t have any urge to:
Run a marathon
Oh my God. Marathons. My entire Facebook news feed is filled with people announcing they’ve run a marathon. When did this become a thing? All of a sudden, it’s trendy to run marathons, and half marathons, and 10 Ks, and 5 Ks, and Special Ks, and Louis C.K.s (I tried really hard to get a Mary Kay Letourneau reference in there, but just couldn’t. I’ll have to save that reference for a later post).
It’s not that I don’t applaud people who run marathons. I do. I really, really do. They have a kind of focus, drive, and physical fitness that I could never hope to have. But for me personally, it doesn’t make any sense. You spend months learning how to run in anticipation of…more running. I could understand it if you spent months running so that you were fully prepared to outrun a bear, or cheetah, or alien, but spending months running all for the goal of spending a day running at a steady, measured pace would be like being in my own personal Saw movie (incidentally, watching Saw movies are also like being in my own personal Saw movie).
Also, I know that, were I ever to attempt a marathon, the same law that dictates I get my period whenever I’m hiking in bear country would ensure I get my period at the starting line.
I figure I have my whole life left to train for a marathon, but as I become more of a grownup, my window of time for sleeping in and doing nothing narrows with each passing week.

Get over my fear of snakes
I’m really doubting the wisdom of announcing my biggest fear on the internet, but oh well. Yes, I’m ophidiophobic, and I’m in no hurry to get over this fear. Why? Because I think it’s a wise and rational one. Sometimes fears are irrational and sometimes they stem from plain ol’ common sense.
I don’t want someone pointing a gun at me. I don’t want to get into a car driven by Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes. I don’t want to go on a date with Charlie Sheen. I don’t want to introduce my 16-year-old nephew to Taylor Swift. And I sure as shit don’t want to become a snake handler (that was not a hand job joke). I value my fear of rattlesnakes because it gives me a hyper awareness of their presence and just may end up saving my life.
Snakes can and will kill you without an ounce of remorse or thought for the weeping loved ones you leave behind, and I know they’ve put a hit out on me. In high school, I was mowing my neighbor’s grass when I ran over a snake. Tiny snake bits came exploding out of the mower and spattered on my legs. I gasped and looked up, only to see four different snakes watching me: one from a wood pile, one from the roots of a nearby tree, one from the gravel driveway, and one slithering by on his way to plot my painful demise. I know with absolute certainty they saw what I did. I would have tried to explain to them that it was an accident, but there’s no reasoning with snakes. Call me speciesist, but I believe you can really only negotiate with mammals.
AND ANOTHER THING: My great uncle went insane from rattlesnake venom. When my family discovered his unconscious body, they found multiple puncture wounds all over him. To this day, no one knows if it was one rattlesnake who bit him a bunch of times, or if it was multiple rattlesnakes who bit him multiple times. I do know that he went a little crazy from all the snake venom and, in a display of how poorly my dad’s side handles off-kilter situations, the entire family shunned him.
I grew up in a rattlesnake-y area, yet I have never been struck. However, I fear my time may come, and I know the only thing that will keep me safe is my vigilance and preparedness. Strangely, it’s not the venom I fear. It’s feeling a sudden, sharp pain, only to look down and see the quick flash of a snake’s head as its fangs retreat back into its mouth, and it regroups for a second strike.
As for constrictors? Being slowly squeezed to death in what is basically an armless hug? Oh, yeah, that also terrifies me.

I am good with my ungoals. Thirty year old me won’t be a marathoner, and she won’t be dead or insane from a snakebite. That’s a win/win for me.



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