Earlier today I had a chat with a friend. She was with her teenage son. We talked about driving and safety. That launched my mind on a survey of various dangerous things I had done. I wondered if they were already included in my post entitled 50 Things That Should Have Killed Me Already . Nope. No mention there of the time I explored an abandoned manganese mine with my brother and his wife (under a mountain in the desert, long descents on old wooden ladders down very deep shafts while two of our three headlamps went dead). No mention of driving across Death Valley in August at 3 in the afternoon (MG Midget, 90 mph, no air conditioning, 130 degree sun). Those were both in the same week! Surely I must have included my first snow camping experience (also my first time on cross country skis, backpacks, 10,000 ft, miles from nearest road, stove wouldn't work, wind collapsed the tent during middle of the night blizzard conditions). Nope. My mind reeled on and on. I thought of more dumb things I had done and survived. Like the time a coworker was tormenting me at the machine shop, I walked over and kicked him in the ass while he stood at his machine, even though he was 6'10" and about 280 pounds. Our shift ended at 3 a.m. and I walked briskly to my car, feeling very alone and vulnerable.
I find myself wondering, "Did I really do all this stuff, or am I just exaggerating?" Well maybe exaggerating a bit, but I am pretty sure that the basic facts are correct. For example, I really did have a pet rattlesnake in a glass jar. However, he was a little one. I found him, but I talked some other kid into getting him into the jar. I probably only tried to feed him a grasshopper once before I realized that lifting the lid was a bad idea. I was driving in a light rain at 50 or 60 mph on a curving back country road when my Camaro slid off the road into a ditch and a telephone pole. But I slid for a long way and spun around before hitting anything and was probably doing less than fifty when I hit the pole. So yes, I may make things sound more dangerous than they really were. Still, it seems that out of a long, long list of those, at least one would have at least put me in a hospital for a while. Well, o.k. I was in the hospital for a couple of hours after trashing the Camaro, but I walked out and made it to a meeting that I had to lead. Mostly I didn't get even a scratch from this stuff. I suppose one day I will look the wrong way again while crossing a street (it's easy to do where they drive on the left) and perhaps that time a coworker will be unable to pull me away from an oncoming bus. I am thankful I lasted this long. I hope to make good use of whatever time I have left.