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Danger, Will Robinson!

To quote the less than cool robot from Lost in Space (1965-1968), some things are just worth worrying about, while others are just not that worrisome at all. I talk to lots of guys about how we aren’t really indestructible, immortal, or otherwise impervious to harm, but I know that they are still going to do stupid things for one reason or another. Usually the reason is not all that good in retrospect, but sometimes all one needs is a dare to do the dumbest thing ever.

We’ve all seen the silly and stupid things on the highlight reels, YouTube, and other media outlets, and the ones that get the most play are not the ones where someone did something daring successfully but rather unsuccessfully. I won’t bother with examples. If you need them go to YouTube.com and search for “skate or bike accidents.”

But what of danger? What is dangerous to one person is not so to another; what I might consider doing, another might consider unthinkable. What frightens me, others do without much thought other than to plan their success.

I started thinking about this today when I read a quote from Helen Keller, who has to be one of the greatest people who ever lived. I don’t think about her much, and I’ll admit that I have told my share of jokes about her (I know that you all are thinking about them anyway- shame on you), but I do admire her courage and determination. She had every reason to fear the world, being unable to see it nor hear it, and despite those things, she learned how to communicate, then speak, and later to be creative in her expression of words. Here is a sample:

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Now don’t get the idea that I am going to get up tomorrow and spend the rest of my Labor Day Weekend climbing solo on Mt. Rainier with a jug of water and a few extra Clif Bars (this is the weekend that we had planned to go- it just didn’t work out); I am smarter than that.  Breaking my femur a long time ago taught me to use my brain when trying to use my brawn (such as it is), and I mean to keep using them together.  This quote simply encourages me to keep myself open to opportunities, and to see challenges as gifts rather than trials.

Live well.


Comment from steven
Time: 4 September, 2007, 1:22 pm

I was thinking this a.m. about the time Walter Slotboom jumped off the basketball pavilion (rougly 30′ high). He bounced up uninjured and the would-be bicycle thief gave up without a fight. (I would too after seeing the wrath from above.)

Anyway, all of us have these notions of what we can do. I could stand on the roof of Paul’s garage and just sort of KNOW that I could make it into the pool, whether jumping or diving. But the pavilion?–I KNOW I would have hurt something.

This knowing that people have is obviously fallible, no matter how strong the conviction.

Now, you being the good physician (“Great” is taken), perhaps you can confirm my suspicion:

Take broken bones. (This is where you can enlighten.) If your arm or leg is pushed to 98% capacity, but does not break, there’s no pain at all, right (no pain from the bone, anyway)? So then, there’s no warning. One minute you’re armwrestling, the next you’re sitting in the ER talking about the gunshot you heard when the bone snapped.

In other words, Slotboom might have been in for a surprise when one of his legs snapped under the weight of his flying leap. It seems no one could possibly know in advance the true limits of what their bones can withstand. Mine have handled a lot so far, knock on wood….

Comment from m.
Time: 4 September, 2007, 3:52 pm

Anyone who doesn’t believe in guardian angels just doesn’t
know you two. (Or Walter.)

Comment from the Travel-junkie
Time: 4 September, 2007, 7:28 pm

True. I imagine my fall from the tree on my back was broken by an angel because I didn’t even have a mark on me.

As to the breaking of bones, it would greatly hinge (sorry) on the effects of a blow to the soft tissues and joints, which could hurt quite a bit. It is also true that whatever doesn’t break your bones can make them stronger. I’m sure that Walter was pretty sore later on anyway.

Comment from Diana
Time: 5 September, 2007, 5:39 am

You are super.

Comment from Beth
Time: 7 September, 2007, 8:55 am

I’m not a super-quoter, but the Helen Keller quote is one of my favorites.

Comment from m
Time: 7 September, 2007, 7:32 pm

Sure beats The Simpsons!

Comment from Sol
Time: 9 September, 2007, 12:42 pm

I wish that I was as daring to share the good news of God with people as I am to share my enthusiasm for traveling, trying new food, or reaching new levels in any scary adventure. Someone recently told me, “If you could do one thing for God and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would it be? Okay. Then why don’t you go and do it?”

Comment from the Travel-junkie
Time: 9 September, 2007, 7:02 pm

Nice, Sol. I’ll have to remember that thought.

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