Phobias, the scary, very real feeling we experience that can be terrifying, right? One definition takes it further: "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something." We all have one or more whether we will admit it or not. I know I have one to be sure, maybe two. Seeing a person wildly react to something that doesn't bother us, can be hilarious, I admit.
However, whenever I meet someone who has what many believe to be an irrational fear, I treat it as real, because no matter how bizarre it may appear to me - it is real to them and I try to empathize.
Now before you decide where I'm going with this and you are scared to death of clowns, snakes, and spiders that I plan to dangle in front of you because I'm mean, hang on and let me elaborate. Look at the title of this week's column. What makes you jump? What gets you going? What does it for you when nothing else will? What is your thrill fix?
Scary movies? Death defying stunts? Maximum horsepower with fat under-aired tires smoking rubber on asphalt and you without ear plugs so you can really feel the moment? How about a steaming plate of fajitas and onions that causes your jaws to ache as saliva is released? Maybe it's that beautiful woman you've been married to for (x-amount) of years that really makes your Webley tremble.
You are in control until that 14 point Boone & Crockett whitetail buck steps out into the open and provides you with that once in a lifetime side view shot and you raise your rifle or bow and let one fly! It is quite possible that none of these wonders are what make you jump. Maybe it's a timely scriptural verse or one of the inspiration parables published each week in the Sun that really gets your shouting shoes tapping.
Jumping is good. Jumping is what defines us. Every morning I hop out of bed and run to the coffee pot for my first jump. I want that blast of energy from caffeine. It is an amazing drug that enhances my day. My next jump is when I open the Drudge website followed by Google News, and then the Baytown Sun. I want to see what has happened in the world and in my city since I went to bed. It's like a cathartic drug to me.
Sure, irrational fears make us jump and exposing ourselves to them can be both detrimental and beneficial, but why indulge in them when there are so many other good jumps out there? Personally I think people mistake bucket list items as the only viable jump. Experiencing places and things have their place, but if we use them as the standard for a jump, we are setting the mark a bit too high for daily living. I mean after all, daily living is what we do, right?
Why hobble ourselves with achievements that only come occasionally when we can get all jiggy over life's simple pleasures? Speaking of simple pleasures, the other day I made a big pot of potato soup with bacon, butter, cheese, onions, and canned milk and then I made a big fat pan of sweet cornbread to go with it. Holy cow! Boom! I jumped!
Every day of every week we are given the opportunity to make leaps forward. The trick is to seize the moment and not miss it. The other day I was near the VA off Holcombe Avenue exiting 288 and I needed to get in the far left number 1 lane. I was in lane 3 and came to a halt in the heavy traffic, or I would miss my turn a hundred yards up the road. The fellow behind me didn't understand that I needed to wait and began blowing his horn in what was a very annoying manner. I sat and waited and when the rushing cars finally passed, I moved over and drove unrestricted at least a hundred yards to make my turn. He moved up three whole cars. I jumped and he didn't and I was so proud of myself for being a cool head. It was a victory for me and I loved the feeling I got for not responding.
So, jumping can be everything from responding to irrational fear to keeping a cool head when life throws you a curve and to be honest, all of them are learning experiences. Some are fun and some are not. One last jump I need to cover is the one I get by fulfilling my responsibilities. It is the most satisfying of all of them.
For the past month, I've adopted a new strategy that is possibly driving my bride crazy. Cradle to grave. Anything I can do to completion, I do. I do not procrastinate. A simple example is carrying a coffee cup to the kitchen and placing it on the counter. An hour later, I walk by and put it in the sink. That evening, I put it in the dish washer. Now I walk in and put it in the dish washer. Once again, I made a satisfactory jump and this time, in efficiency. Now, start jumping.