Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Look out! We're getting reckless.

Americans live recklessly, poll finds.

I saw this headline in this morning's N&O and thought, "Cool." Americans are finally tossing away those dorky bicycle helmets and eating butter again. They're thankfully letting their kids go outside to participate in that unscheduled, unsupervised activity known as play. Have we, I wondered, finally shed this bubble-wrapped fantasy that life should be without risk?

Then I read the story.

Jesus wept. What a bunch of wusses we've become. Want to know what the N&O calls living recklessly? It means eating raw cookie dough, putting cotton swabs in your ears and having a beer while using a cordless screwdriver.

Is this the country that carved a railroad through the Rockies? Are we the same people who built the Panama Canal, explored the oceans and went to the moon? No, we're the people who think showering without a rubber mat is on par with leaping over Snake River on a motorcycle.

Reckless? Buddy, you don't know reckless. Reckless is discovering you have no brakes and still riding around the city for an hour, timing the traffic just right before you hit an intersection.

Reckless is seeing your brand new business partner is carrying a gun and still going up to the hotel room.

Reckless is sleeping with your wife's bipolar best friend.

I suddenly have the urge to go outside without sunscreen. Later I may just run with scissors.

If you're so inclined, tell us about the most reckless thing you've ever done. But if you'd rather keep that to yourself, we'll understand. There's a fine line between truly reckless and just plain stupid.


eviljwinter said...

Hey, I've been know to touch the toilet handle to flush.

Of course, the soap is less than 30 seconds away, so I don't know how reckless that is.

But dammit, I live dangerously, and that's how I do it!

EagleEye said...

When I was young, I wanted to prove to myself that Mary Poppins wasn't that crazy...

I jumped off of a porch roof on an apartment complex under construction next to ours... damn them for destroying my combat-HQ (i.e field) to build them!

Anyway, the stoopid umbrella didn't work... Wound up with a twisted ankle (luckily)...

It is either that or swimming for hours on end in the Mississippi river. Funny that I don't get sick that often now. Could it be that my body adapted and overcame all manner of critters?

Great post.

Chagres55 said...

At Gamboa (former Panama Canal Zone, now simply Panama), there is a single car lane / single RR track bridge that connects Gaillard Hwy across the Chagres River to the townsite. Long ago, the Panama Canal Company had a small dock making a right angle with the bridge so that their small river craft could tie up.

We kids would jump down from the bridge to the dock & go swimming in the Chagres River.

Never mind that there were river currents. Never mind that there were beautiful Hyacinth flowers with long, tenacious roots that could drown you if entangled. Never mind that the passing world's ships churned up the water that really made for excitement when it met the river flow. Never mind at all.

We never lost a kid.

Joe Saundercook said...

Once, in desperate search for a bar that would serve underage drinkers, my college freshman buddies and I wound up in a bar that catered to bikers (not the retirees-and-trust-fund-babies kind, either). After a brief verbal spar with one of the other patrons, I politely pointed out to the gentleman that he didn't know who the f*** he was dealing with. At that point the kindly, elderly bartender with no sleeves and fewer teeth grabbed me by the upper arm and shoved me out the screen door and into the gravel parking lot where I scuffed my hands and knees. Fortunately, my "buddies" had started running before I even got the f-bomb out, so the car was running.
Meanwhile, I just walked my eight-year-old home from school (about 500 yards off, sidewalks the whole way)...

David Terrenoire said...


I remember that rail line. I loved taking that little train from one side of the isthmus to the other. I never went swimming in the Chagres, that I can remember, but I did swim in the French cut, snorkeled near the base of San Lorenzo and body-surfed at Pina Beach, one of the primo spots for Great Whites.

Panama is a great spot for getting stupid.

norby said...

When my family would have reunions at my great-grandmother's farm, all of us kids were allowed to play in the barn, as long as we stayed away from the cows. (I'm now fairly certain the adults were hoping that one or more of us wouldn't come out...)

We used to get up in to the hayloft and jump through a small hole into one of the feed bins.

Fortunately, there was always some feed in the bins.

RedTree said...

My childhood and youth was an endless series of reckless events marked by flames, gunfire and some minor scarring. We once had a an incident we call the the Legend of the Hood Rider where a friend of mine climbed on the hood of my '64 Impala and I sped away through our school's driveway. I still remember his face as he grabbed my wiper blades for dear life ( no rain gutters to grab on old Impalas) and how he was laughing, pressed up near the windshield. Unfortunately, we had forgotten that stopping at the end of the driveway would be involved. His face transformed from an exhilarated grin to a mask of sheer terror as I slammed on the brakes, his horrified face becoming more distant as he slid away from me, frantically losing his grip on my wipers. I screeched to a halt just as he came off the hood, banging him on his shin and sending him sprawling about 60 feet across the wet pavement.
We gathered him up, moaning and wet, and raced away. We dumped him at his door and fled.
I found out the next day that he had broke his wrist. When I made the requisite visit to see him, his mom put me in a choke hold then broke out laughing. She just shrugged it off.
Man, were times different...

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

This one time, when I was staying at a hotel in a city where nobody knew me? I went across town, switching cabs three times and doubling back once to make sure I wasn't being followed.

Then I went into this greasy-looking joint and had a bacon cheeseburger with french fries. I think the fries were cooked in beef lard.

I sprinkled salt on them, too.

Made me feel like a throwback.

kellie said...

I used to work at a bar at WVU where I went to undergrad. One night a local moonshiner (yes, they do look exactly like they're pictured in the cartoons) said he'd give my fellow waitress and I $100 to dance on the bar to "Take a walk on the wildside". Of course we jumped right up there - nevermind what that makes us, you can live for a whole semester at WVU on $50! So Jennifer and I are bouncing our 19 year old selves around the bar thinking it's the easiest money we ever made - I turn the corner for the long strutty stretch of bar - "hey babe... - WHAM I got hit in the head with the ceiling fan! Knocked off the bar and unconcious. Woke up with a concussion and not a moonshiner to be found. I'm mostly okay now though. Not sure it was the riskiest, but has got to be in the top 5 for stoopid.