Two words which every man fears.

Maybe its the neatly boxed quizzes in his mom's Reader's Digest which carelessly sum up the fact that both nature and nurture have combined against him. Perhaps its the half-page articles in the 5-parts-pop-culture-1-part-health magazines that show some serious washboard abs next to a bold red font exclaiming their latest sex secrets. It could be the collective unconscious spewing forth years of evolutionary guidance touting the fact that nobody's uncle lives past the age of 40.

Whatever it is that preserves and promotes the constant underlying phobia streaming through a man's veins, the last place he wants to find himself is lying closed casket-style on frigid surgical table with leech like tubes crawling into his chest cavity.

He remembers watching on the Discovery channel the neatly folded blue surgical drapes that dehumanize the fleshly hole that contains the victim's most important muscle on a documentary praising the most serious of heart disease treatments. He can't seem to forget the placidly blank expressions emanating from the narrowed pupils of the manipulators of the latex gloves that moments ago sawed like a butcher through the protective cage surrounding the weakened vessel. These images haunt him at times unexpected, the anxiety pouring over him in those moments before sleep or in the middle of a quick jog where a small gas bubble sent a sharp but lasting pain through his rib cage.

It is in those times that those lost moments of empathy he once felt with his colleague at the office who was suffering the sudden loss of his father begin to return. He thinks about an argument he had with his wife or how he really doesn't have enough life insurance and how that chocolate-covered-double-fudge cheesecake from Applebee's probably was a little over-the-top considering he still hasn't lost that `spare tire' he picked up a couple of years after college. Then, like all good men do, he shrugs it off and files it away as a momentary weakness.

After all, he has tried to stay away from the forbidden cholesterol-ridden foods to only find that the numbers don't change unless your doctor prescribes Lipitor and last time he checked he wasn't a member of AARP. Sure, his blood pressure spikes every now and then but its probably just the 'white coat anxiety' or the 'pointy haired boss' stressing him out. "Modern medicine is a marvel" and someday he'll be able to pop a pill and clean his arteries out.

But just in case, he'll drink some red wine and swallow an aspirin every now and then. He will eat a few turkey subs from Subway each week and even hit the gym a few days a month. But this will only subdue his fear short-term, and he will continue to dread the day where he notices an unusual shortness of breath and a tightness in his chest that mark the beginning of his worst nightmare.

Because for some, it's inevitable.