It's not much wonder why we are neurotically paranoid. We have been overly sensitized in the past several years by motion pictures depicting alien invasions. After heroic battles, we have been able to stave off defeat. Then came this year's crop of outer space movies where we are facing annihilation by a comet or an asteroid. In addition, Godzilla terrorized the Big Apple while laying eggs for a sequel. All these movies give us a taste of what is lurking out there ready to do us in. Only the most sophisticated non-movie goers can write-off these cataclysmic traumas as merely Hollywood toying with our primordial fears.

Whether or not aliens, space debris, or an over-sized green Barney are presently threatening us, they all feed our paranoia. If this isn't enough, I recently read an alarmingly true story about Asian swamp eels starting to take over the waterways of Florida. If the fires weren't enough, now the Sunshine State faces loathsome eels. In the wild, they can grow to three feet and weigh more than a pound. These slimy Asian imports eat all aquatic life and have no natural enemies. The eels seem unaffected by poisons. It is difficult even to catch them, because they produce a large amount of mucous, which makes them slippery. In addition to swimming, they can wiggle their way over dry ground.

The Asian eels reproduce in a unique manner and are prolific in that endeavor. All Asian eels are females at birth. As they mature, they become males. After the female lays her eggs, another former female now male eel transports the eggs to his slimy home where he tends to the next generation.

Aside from the aesthetically unpleasant and nasty nature of the eels, ichthyologist and marine biologists are worried that the eels will become endemic in Florida's waters and then spread all over the North American continent. Experts fear that the eels will soon become the aquatic equivalent to the Kudzu vine growing out of control in the Southeast. The only way to kill the eels is by clubbing them to death, which is hardly an effective way of controlling a large number of reproducing eels.

Therefore, this article is a clarion call to Dixonites-especially those who boat on the Rock River. While the Asian androgynous, mucous-bearing eels are still isolated to a small area in Florida and several small lakes in Georgia, they are on the move. The eel threat is just another disaster waiting to happen. We will have to deal with the eels before we need to destroy comets, asteroids, aliens, or Godzilla's offspring.

How can we cope emotionally with the epidemic of potential disasters that present themselves to us? Here are several suggestions to keep your equilibrium:

  1. Ask yourself, "Am I still breathing?" If you can answer this question, you are to this point winning the battle in the constantly changing struggle of life. You can take comfort in being a winner and undefeated champ. Because you are on a roll, the percentages are with you in the future.
  2. While it is true you can't control asteroids or Godzilla, there is much in life over which you have control. You can control your drinking, watch your diet, exercise, and stop smoking. Eels, aliens, or asteroids might not get you, but poor health habits surely will. Therefore, control those areas of your life where you have control. It would be a shame to die prematurely the day after we successfully defeat any of the threatening alien invaders.
  3. There are some events in life over which you are impotent. Worrying about them won't add a bit of power to your arsenal. Indeed, the more you fret about something, the more power you give it. You defocus from those things that you can control and waste time and energy fussing over things that are out of your control.
  4. Realize that we and our world are amazingly resilient. We have the ability to bounce back and adjust to many of life's threats and changes. That is one of the messages from these apocalyptic movies like "Independence Day", "Deep Impact", "Godzilla", and "Armageddon".
  5. Live life to its fullest. Before various space invaders come to earth and before the eels or Godzilla's eggs hatch, enjoy the journey of your life. Life isn't a dress rehearsal, and there aren't retakes in real life. Something at sometime in the future will get all of us. Therefore, make the most of the time you do have.

While you implement these suggestions for dealing with our paranoia, watch out for those slimy Asian eels that are coming to a river or lake near you.

This article first appeared in the Dixon Telegraph.