I know that you are probably thinking, “What the heck are you thinking, Mickey? There are really only five senses!”
And I am probably thinking, (ignoring the fact that I should know for certain what thinking is present at least in my own stupid head), “Oh, I think you are probably wrong about that, considering carefully that I should only think this and not say it out loud, because people get mad when you suggest that you are smarter than they are.”
Besides the five senses we all claim of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, there is also that one people often refer to as “the sixth sense”, and by that phrase they don’t necessarily mean that you “see dead people who don’t know they are dead”. Instead, that sense is kinda like a sense of intuition. A feeling that you simply know what is about to occur, or you know something about something that you could only really know if you have ESP… Or if you are Spiderman, it is your “Spider Sense”… wiggly lines radiating from your comic-book head.
And what about the sense of hot and cold? Or the sense that you can’s breathe the air in the same room with your cigar-smoking Republican uncle, you know, the one with all the toxic opinions you are forced to listen to too often? And there’s a sense of contentment. Or the sense of happiness. A sense of dread. There are all kinds of senses that your magnificent stupid-old brain constantly responds to that you really haven’t been counting.
Of course, I am not writing about any of those today. I am writing about that old “Sense Number Thirteen”, the sense of certainty that every pessimist lives by, the sense that your natural daily bad luck won’t kill you today, but only because it would all be over and prevent more suffering if it did.
Yes, it is Sense Number Thirteen that makes you prepare yourself for the worst, because you simply have the sense that it is destined to happen. I dread going to the mailbox. I know I will hate what I find there. This week I found a letter from the IRS, who has already accepted my 2017 return and the first installment of my tax payment, suggesting that they may reopen my case in order to determine if I owe them more money. And I got the hospital bill that I have been dreading because I cannot afford to pay it.
I dread walking the dog also because there are two pickup trucks, one black and one silver, that routinely roar through the 30-mile-an-hour neighborhood doing sixty or seventy. One of them is going to run over my dog while she has me on the leash, or maybe even run over one of neighbor Frank’s grandchildren. Anyway, we are preparing by organizing a neighborhood petition and complaining to the police. The Thirteenth Sense really screws with my life. But it forces me to prepare.
The hospital payment department told me that they are going to send paperwork that will help me pay the debt by forgiving part of it, since I am already bankrupt over medical bills. I was taken pleasantly by surprise by that. I have so far successful avoided thinking about the IRS. Those jack-booted shock troops apparently aren’t going to show up at my door until next week. And the police cruiser has been on our street twice already since I last talked to Frank, and they put out one of those speed limit signs that shows you in bright red lights how much over the speed limit you are going.
So, there’s the saving grace. A pessimist gets to be happier in the long run than the optimist. By preparing for the worst, the pessimist is ready for the bad thing to happen, and either deals with it as it comes, or is pleasantly surprised at an outcome devoid of extra suffering. A pessimist is never taken by surprise for the worse. I’m glad I have a 13th Sense. It helps me be a HAPPY stupid old pessimist.