A coworker asked me, “What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done in the last week?” and it really got me thinking. Not that that’s unusual. Every question gets me thinking, although I don’t always think enough before I answer, and sometimes I don’t really put enough thought into what I say, like the time at work several of us were sitting down to a meeting and a very talkative coworker next to me said, “I don’t really take notes in meetings, I just doodle on my pad,” and I said, “You probably meant to say that with your in-your-head voice,” and she said, “Oh, I’m not sure I have one of those. Ask me a simple question and you’re likely to get my life story.” I then said, “Why do you think that is?” and everyone else let out a collective groan, but that’s another story. The question of what the riskiest thing I’d done in the last week was put me into such a reverie that I had to take a break and go out for a long walk. Had I done anything in the last week that could be considered risky? What about the last month, or even the last year? Diving into the deep end of the pool? Diving into the shallow end of the pool? Going out with wet hair? Eating grocery store sushi? Doing my Steven Tyler impersonation when my lips were chapped? Nothing that I’d done that I could think of seemed particularly risky. I’m not a timid person, or at least I don’t think I am. Maybe I’m just afraid to admit it. My wife has put the kibosh on me ever trying scuba diving because she says it’s too dangerous, and this raises the question of whether arguing with her about that would be considered an extreme sport. Actually the biggest obstacle to my trying risky things isn’t cowardice; it’s frugality. If someone else were picking up the tab I’d jump at the chance to try bungee jumping or wingsuit flying trying out for the Steelers. I’d just want to make sure I did all those things properly and took all the necessary precautions. There are ways to almost kill yourself without being stupid about it. Believe me, I’ve checked the price of skydiving lessons and for that much money I can get on a plane that will land on the ground someplace I actually want to go. Or maybe the destination could be the risk I take–I could go explore some place remote and dangerous like Death Valley or the Sahara desert or Poughkeepsie. Maybe I could just find ways to challenge myself: talk to strangers, take acting classes, knock over a liquor store. As long as it’s still winter I could try one of those polar bear challenges where people in thongs go outside in freezing temperatures and jump into a cold body of water, and, hey, just wearing a thong in public would be a challenge for me. I could even try the extreme version which involves jumping into a cold body of water with real polar bears. As I walked along my head was so full of possibilities I barely noticed the sound of screeching tires and a voice yelling, “LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING, ASSHOLE!” although it did give me the idea that maybe I should look into how much it would cost to try race car driving lessons.
Doing risky things might not be all it is cracked up to be. My fractured tailbone is proof 🙂
Stick to doing your Steven Tyler impersonation when your lips are chapped… I’d like to see that. Or, get some lip balm and eliminate that risk. Just look both ways before stepping into traffic. That is a risk not worth taking.
My Steven Tyler impersonation is painful even when my lips aren’t chapped, but I’ll do it anyway. I just don’t want to risk bleeding on anyone.
And I hope your tailbone is better soon.
Dare I say that it’s risky to miss your blog, Chris, because almost everything else I read these days is stupid.
Being smart can be a risky thing, especially in a stupid world, but I’m glad we’re both brave enough to take that risk.