Speaking in public is said to be the second greatest fear that most people have. The greatest fear of all - is death.
Each time we face up to our fears and deal with them, we grow. At least that is what my Dad told me, as he tried to convince me to ride the Water Log Ride at Busch Gardens when I was 5 years old.
Oh, it looked wonderful, and they all came back laughing. Slightly wet, but everyone laughed. They were having a glorious time.
"Come on Michael," coaxes my Dad, "Think of it as a growth experience." "You've got to be kidding!" I tell him. I had always been content to experience my thrills from a spectator's seat. I couldn't take a step. Just listen to the screams as they come hurtling down the slide. Oh, no. I'll just watch.
"It's perfectly safe," says Dad. "Little kids are going on it - and look at that little girl.
She's even younger than you."Oh, I know it's safe. I truly believe it's safe. But there is a vast difference between believing in something and in daring to experience it yourself.
Still, it can't be too bad. Everyone comes back laughing.
I don't know how I came to be straddled across a wet seat in a hollow log boat, but I'm sure it's a mistake. Oh, well, looks like I'm committed now.
Dad's not worried. He hums a little ditty as we drift into a dark tunnel. What have I let myself in for? I don't know where I'm going or what will happen. There's no way out now, but to go through with it.
The boat drops down a black hole in the darkness! I wasn't expecting that. My heart is pounding. If that little dip frightened...