Friday, August 20, 2010

Taking Chances

As an eight year old child, I crawled through a sewer pipe barely bigger than my young thin body could squeeze. I must of had a flashlight too, I'm sure it was that modern piece of technology that intrigued me to find out what was lurking in the nether world.

The distance I crawled was far. My shoulders and hips had just enough room to squiggle. Even today I remembered thinking back then, "don't panic, just keep going". And I was never scared.

I'm sure if my mom was home, or if she asked "where's Mike", she would have freaked. And her freaking might have caused me to freak. But she never did know where I was. To this day, I wonder if she ever knew what I did. Of course there were a lot of things I did as a kid that she never knew about. That was one of the great things being raised as a kid in the 60s--I got a chance to explore. And we kids explored.

So yes it was impulsive. What if I got stuck? What if a rat bit me. Or my greatest fear, becoming surrounded by snakes. When I look back, I remember finishing my crawl through the sewer, getting out and just going on with my play. It was no big deal. No fanfare.

I look at stories today that make national or even world headlines. Big deal. I made bigger headlines than that many days of my life. And I thought nothing of it. Today we live through other people's lives via the news. I especially do with Tiger Woods. It's pathetic really.

And we've become so afraid to take chances. We want to be safe. The Government's main job is to keep us safe. I remember years ago listening to Pres. Clinton give a State of the Union address and I marveled how many times he used the word "safe" in his speech.

My wife's nephew and niece have never in their lives spent the night with their aunt. News of kidnappings of children taken from their front yards has been news well received. When I am around children, my radar is definitely on. I know the parents have their radar on too, wondering if I'm a pervert that's going to steal their children. Hyper sensitivity rules the day. Common sense does not.

Children are taught never to talk to strangers. How sad. Children should talk to strangers. I remember as a 15 year old hitch hiking to my job. I worked in a fast food chicken joint. I got picked up by a queer. When I got in his car, he started to rub my leg. I didn't know what that was all about. To be honest, I'm not sure I even knew what a homosexual was. Look at the way we're going, in a few years we'll all be fudgepackers. Anyway, I remember being uncomfortable with this man's advances and told him to let me out of his car.

Watching the PGA tournament last week, which is one of the most important tournaments in golf, a mistake happened by a golfer leading the tournament on the final hole. He subsequently was penalized two strokes and came in fourth or fifth place. Now everyone's bemoaning what could have been done. The Golf Channel has been talking about it nonstop. Polls have been conducted. Numerous commentators have weighed in. Who's to blame, how can we prevent this, etc. You know what, SHIT HAPPENS. It does. We can try to minimize it, but shit happens. Do we not want to live our life out of fear that something bad may happen?

I like being careful. Don't get me wrong. But government has become our nanny. Things have gone too far.

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