What If: the Scary Tale of Vague Ambiguity

Vagueness and ambiguity are scary.

It’s why we are both excited for and scared to death of change.
It’s why, when we get a promotion, we are immediately excited about the benefits, but when we consider the possibilities, we shudder.
It’s why we desperately want a change of scenery, but we are afraid of getting lost in our new locale.

So, for you, a short story.


“What if?”

That’s the question the Watcher always asks. I’ve never really thought much about it. To me, it’s been one of those “entertaining” thoughts, the kind that helps give me that mental break I need.

That break from reality. And problems. And life. Decisions.

In fact, my indecision helps me to not make the decision I’m too scared to make.

And sometimes, I escape to the fantasy world of “what if.”
What if Aunt May were still around?
What if I had never met Mary Jane?
What if dcTalk never broke up?
What if Tracy Ullman or In Living Color never happened?

But who am I kidding? I reminisce or joke around to get as far away from the matter at hand, the one that’s really plaguing me: Johnny.

For me, it started in the Negative Zone. Johnny and Ben were protecting the kids from “bug people,” and imminent annihilation. Total annihilation. The only plan that would work was for someone — either Johnny or Ben — to stay behind while the rest escaped via shuttle.

Ben took the heroic lead…
…until Johnny, the hotshot that he is, the most emotionally connected of the group, pushed Ben back onto the ship, closed the door, and said to best friend Ben, “You don’t wish it anymore than I do.”

Reluctantly, Ben and the kids leave Johnny. Story goes, his final words before planetary annihilation were, “Flame on.”

That was never a “what if” anyone ever had: “What if bug people threatened to annihilate the earth and the only way to save the planet was to sacrifice Johnny?”

We can never imagine all the “what ifs.”
We will never be prepared for all the vague, future ambiguities.

The question posed by the Watcher years ago, “What if Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four?” now has come true.

It was a question I never thought would happen, in a way I never imagined.

But the world isn’t over; in fact, we’ve got a new lease on life.

And I choose to live.



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