A concerned friend of mine looked at me the other day and said, “Don’t kill yourself, BB.” They were most likely referencing something I posted on Facebook. Maybe it was my exhausting work-outs at the gym posts, or climbing Enchanted Rock and crawling 50 feet up a crevasse – I don’t know. I shrugged it off though. We all make excuses for our excesses. We know not to do something, but exclude ourselves from judgment.
I am not a daredevil. I don’t believe in stacking the odds against myself. I’ve been hurt too many times to think I can pull it off safely. But, that confession is relative in that which I consider a calculated risk, which another may lean back as if they are going off the edge of a cliff, grabbing a tree root, or a hand-railing in desperation.
Take a spider, or even just a spider web and let some people accidentally walk through it and it will look like they are beating themselves to death while screaming like a howling monkey. Me? I walk through them all the time and rake the spiders off without much thought.
On many occasions I’ve walked right up on venomous snakes (there are no poisonous snakes here) and have stopped to take a photo. I don’t scream and run with my arms flailing straight into the nearest spider web and then fall down kicking up leaves and dirt. I just mosey on.
I was on the spin bike at the gym and I was really pushing the pedals and I had the thought that I may at some time in the future have a heart attack and fall off the bike. My only thought was, “How embarrassing!” You see folks, if this did happen, I would go out in a blaze of glory instead of falling down a flight of stairs where I had no control. Give me the bike or crevasse every time.
A number of years ago I wrote a column on what I wanted on my tombstone and Ms. Gladys wrote me a letter chastising me and telling me I shouldn’t write such macabre words, but (God rest her soul), I do need to consider my future health and the things that I do for fun and adventure. Some of my choices might not be sound. However, they will not come as a surprise.
I won’t jump out of a plane. I don’t like heights if there is a chance they are unstable. I don’t like strangers walking up to me at a fast pace and I sure don’t like people endangering my life with their vehicle. A couple of days ago I was given the green light at Chaparral Drive and Massey Tompkins and was about to pull out when I heard a truck gun his motor to my left. There was a built up 4X4 truck parked which blocked my view and another truck similar to that one blew through the red light at about 60 mph.
If I would have driven out on that green light, sure as the world I would not be writing this column. However, just like my treks through the woods and exercising at the gym, I apply the same rules to driving. I take precautions. Sure, I push the envelop a bit at times, but I have safeguards in place. I didn’t go because I could not see.
In my Jeep, I like to go when the light is green. I often jack-rabbit off the line as I run 4.88 gears and it feels good to go. On the trail I walk at a rigorous pace, which has been criticized by some as a bit too fast. In the gym, I do push it and sometimes, to premature muscle failure, but I still have both eyes wide open. I am watching for that flash of danger. I know when enough is enough.
Am I alone here? I think not, but some of us need to stretch our boundaries a bit. Remember the old Bruce Springsteen song, “Blinded by the light”? In the song there are two lines that fit here perfectly.
“Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun
But mama, that's where the fun is”
I make no apology for eschewing vicarious adventure in the form of organized sports (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s just not for me. I want to live it. I want to get up in the morning sore from the stress I put on my body yesterday, instead of feeling sore just because I am aging. I’m going to be sore one way or the other, so I might as well get something out of it.
“With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older,
I tripped the merry-go-round”
I tripped the merry-go-round”
The guy in the lifted $50,000 truck simply didn’t want to wait at a red light, but he could have killed both of us, or at the least totaled our nice rides. What he did wasn’t calculated. What he did was plain old stupid and it’s probably not his first time. Unlike me, the odds are he will eventually get nothing but heartache for his poor choices.
I realize I am in my golden years, but I’m not dead yet. I still have goals and I want to push myself to places people my age don’t go. I also do not want to take anyone with me, especially if my thinking is like the guy in the big truck.