The fastest form of transportation is fear – Interview with a 2,000 Year Old Man
It’s no small miracle I made it to my 54th birthday alive. I grew up a largely unsupervised surrounded by 1,280 acres of Kansas prairie full of farm ponds, gullies, dilapidated barns, rattlesnakes, and hitchhiking hippies. Oh yeah, don’t forget the herd of cows whose favorite form of merrymaking was scaring the daylights out of me. “Chase him, Ethel,” Maude the cow shrieked, “let’s see if he wets himself again!”
An article in the Atlantic Monthly, Hey, Parents! Leave Those Kids Alone!, suggests that parents are over-protective of children and, therefore, impeding their healthy psychological development. Some suggest that kids should be exposed to more things that could send them to the emergency room. The basic thesis is that playgrounds and parks are too sterile and foam covered with too many adults hovering so kids don’t develop risk-assessment capacities.
I’m surprised people are just now discovering it’s actually healthy for a kid to have dangerous options for stupidity to be scared out of them. Most of the owies I got as a kid did not elicit a kiss from Mom and Dad; instead, they would generally remark that I should know better and to wait a few days; the hair on my eyebrows would grow back.
Since I spent most of it as an unsupervised country kid, I made up a list of I made a list of things of relatively dangerous things;
- Drowning in Hobsons Pond – I lost count of the near misses
- Midnight diving off the 15’ Stone Arch Bridge into 5’ of water
- Rattlesnakes that hid under the rocks that we flipped over looking for, of course, snakes
- Screaming down the flooded ravine n Hobson’s Pasture in the middle of raging Kansas thunderstorm in an inner tube with bolts of lightning lacing the sky
- Falling through the ice in the middle of Bergen’s 3-acre pond
- Trusting that my nephew, Leroy, cleaned the shotgun; thankfully, my Dad taught me always to check the gun first. Sure enough, the barrel was hard-caked with foot of dried mud.
- Jeff Miller- he was another nephew and, even when we were babies, started daring me to do stupid things. After he’d convince me, he’d turn to his sister Colleen and say, “Here, hold our baby-bottles.”
- The UFO that was coming to get us. Okay, so maybe that one wasn’t real, but Jeff had the rest of us convinced and perception is reality.
As John Wayne would say, “Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”
The photo on the blog page is of me when I was ten. It was shortly after I nearly blew my fingers off with a firecracker. Of course, my mother warned me not to try to throw firecrackers. Jeff convinced me she was alien life form and, therefore, not to be believed.