Friday, June 06, 2008

Avast, me mateys!

Guess what? I am like a full-blown adventurer now.

Last week, I was up to my cooch in whitewater.

This week, I boarded the H.M.S. Bounty.

Yeah, the other night, around midnight, I crept silently down the dock in San Pedro where she was berthed, climbed up the rope ladder and boarded her. Had a look around. Took the helm. You know, your basic sailor/pirate-type stuff.

We were dropping off Spooney’s visiting nephew, who’s a crewmate on the Bounty, after a night of plying him with margaritas and tacos carbon – which he mispronounced “tacos cabron,” by the way, which is definitely NOT something you want to say to a Mexican waiter in my neighborhood. But, anyway, the best part is that he’s going to invite us back during some tall ships festival thing in a couple of months and let us stand on the deck while she’s actually in motion and everything.

Whoooooooooohooooooooo!!! I’m the king of the world! Listen, don’t you ever call me a dried-up old cougar, man. I’m not a cougar. I might wrestle one, though. Yeah. That’s my next adventure: wrestle a freakin cougar.

Although I’d hate to injure a cougar. Or a puma, or a mountain lion, or whatever you want to call them, because next to a black panther, a cougar is like the most beautiful cat there is. Well, okay, Siberian tigers are pretty stunning, too. So are jaguars. In fact, all cats are beautiful, except for this one.

So, anyway, the point is, during the last couple of years, I have been making a concerted effort to combat the approach of fear creep.

I first noticed fear creep about 3 years ago, when sis and I were in Vegas for Xmas and we decided to ride the roller coaster in that casino that’s pretending to be New York City. That coaster is so tightly coiled that as we went roaring past adjacent tracks and jutting supports with mere inches to spare I suddenly became very frightened that the car was going to send us crashing into something. I became so frightened of that prospect that I did not enjoy the ride. That is not like me. I freaking LOVE roller coasters. I love to scream. I love being scared. It is so not like me panic on some pansy-ass Vegas excuse for a roller coaster.

You’d think that as we get older, we would be less afraid than we were young, because we already have a good part of our lives behind us, and therefore…um…less to lose?

But of course it doesn’t work that way. And that is why we have Republicans.

You’ve all heard some version of the joke, often misattributed to Churchill, that a young conservative has no heart, and an old liberal has no brains.

First of all, while probably touching upon some kind of basic truth, that statement is also the single most cynical thing I have ever heard in my life. Is this what life experiences are supposed to teach us, to be more selfish?

Wait a minute, am I equating Republican philosophy with selfishness?

Hells yeah. Which is why, I guess, I don’t understand why, in this country, everyone always acts as is the opinions of both sides have equal validity. Opposing civil rights for gay people is not a valid point of view. Letting poor people suffer or die because they can’t pay for health care is not a valid point of view. Enabling business to obstruct the rights of workers to organize is not a valid point of view. Those are not examples of valid, alternate thinking. Those are examples of WRONGNESS. Wrongity-wrong-wrongness, in fact. Those are examples of “what’s good for business, is good for the country,” and that philosophy is wrong. It just is. Business is, by its very nature, selfish. And selfishness is wrong, right? We were all taught it. The great philosophies of the world espouse it. Jesus was so on it.

But then, once your income hits a certain figure, and once the word “portfolio” enters your lexicon, and once it becomes acceptable to loudly blather in public on your cell phone at Denver International Airport about your income, and your next boat, and how “it’s all good,” outrageous self-interest suddenly becomes socially acceptable. If it were up to me, people who say things like “get me drunk sometime and I’ll tell you how much I make” should be taken out by the INS and put up for sale to other countries. Because I’m sure there are some underprivileged nations in the world that are in desperate need of overinflated tools.

I’m not saying that I’m not way, way, too selfish. Hell, my shoe closet speaks volumes about my priorities. But I also think that our government is there to aid in our civilization, and what is civilization if it’s not about trying, as RFK said, to “make gentle the life of this world”?

So I’m probably not going to wrestle any cougars this weekend, I mean, unless Kim Catrall throws the first punch, of course, but I think I will ride my bike very fast on the bike path, and maybe eat something I’ve never tried before, or, at the very least, listen to some music that everyone my age thinks is “just noise.” Anything to keep the fear at bay, people. Anything to chase the fear from my heart.


Dad E said...

I paused at the start gate knowing this would be my last race of the year. I knew why my results had been mediocre in previous races this year. I had skied with good technique and tactics but I knew what was missing. I needed to go all out by being aggressive to the point of being on the edge between wreaklessness and control,barely making the gates and searching for speed. One of my friends said "Go Dave" as I pushed out as hard as possible. His words were helpful.

I had one of my best races all year and smoked my opponent who I knew was dying to beat me. Talk about an adrenaline rush. There is nothing that compares to this feeling of being more alive than ever before.

I have always respected fear and I am drawn to it at the same time. Overcoming fear offers the best opportunity to become more and being less restricted. Good preparation and confidence are one's allies here. It does get harder as you get older because the hunger is not as large. The trick is to keep wanting to feel the rush but not getting stupid.

Glad to see you becoming more adventurous.

Anonymous said...

I think you've touched on something that's been bothering me for a while. Fear creep. I like that phrase.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You go girl.

Hey speaking of music, I've put together what I'm calling the "Monster Monkey Music Mix" of new music off of RCD LBL. If you'd like one I'll be happy to send it to you via snail mail. Email me your address and I'll shoot you one out.

Larry Jones said...

Wait -- You have a shoe closet?

SkylersDad said...

I fear shoe closets.

"That's why we have Republicans" is the best line anybody has ever used Vikki!

Distributorcap said...

i wish i was half as eloquent as you

republicans fully understand fear creep -- it is in the DNA -- and have used it quite effectively

and cat stevens

Bubs said...

Fear creep is a perfect phrase. You're right to link the personal fear creep that so many of us experience as we get older with the political fear creep that I think we're all susceptible to as a result of the political world we live in. I struggle against it all the time. After 20 years of dreaming up and training around worst-case scenarios I find it's really altered the way I look at the world. I don't like that.

vikkitikkitavi said...

DadE: Some excellent insights. Having had surgery and having been hospitalized for 10 days or whatever it was, I will admit that staying out of the hospital is powerful motivation for me.

Kirby: Doesn't sound like you suffer from it. Hell, you camp outdoors in SoCal. That's probably the bravest thing I've ever heard of.

Dr.MVM: What? Songs about monkeys, what?

Larry: A few, yeah.

SkyDad: Really? Wait, is that R. Kelly movie about YOU?

DC: Ah, thank you for getting the Cat Stevens reference. And I hope fear creep is not in the DNA. I doubt it is, because my sister doesn't have it.

Bubs: I know what you mean. This will sound stupid, but I read one of those "worst case scenario" books, and it made me start thinking about worst case scenarios constantly. I would be driving and thinking "What if my car flipped over on this turn and slid down the embankment?" or "What if that guy walking toward me has a knife and takes me hostage?" It was making me crazy. I had to throw the book away, and it took awhile for the effect to wear off. I don't know how you do what you do.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I saw the look in your eyes when you were able to confront the fear of the ocean and ride that wave, standing on the surf board, looking at the beach. Even if only for a few seconds. I was selfishly proud of you because I took part credit for getting you to that moment to see such glee come over your face. Maybe it's okay to be selfish sometimes, just a little bit.

dguzman said...

GREAT post! Maybe you could beat up that Exxon tiger--that wouldn't be wrong.

You're dead-on with the "opposing views" part too--it's idiotic to brag that you're "fair and balanced" when you're presenting shit vs logic, greed vs compassion.

Doc said...

I don't want to be rude by quoteing a Republican, but perhaps, "We need to appeal to the better Angels of our nature." Our present Govn't hasn't.

I agree with your philosophy on cats. Take on a big kitty, but don't hurt her.

Fear Creep is just the back of your head reminding you that you have spent an awful lot of time, trouble, effort, and money to get this far, to know what you know, to be who you are, and still look this great and have a grand time doing it. It is nothing more than good instinct, like pulling your hand away from something hot.

I know from reading Bub's blog, in his down time he hangs with his loved ones, has a good home cooked meal, listens to music, and the occasional cocktail. If that is enough for him to roll out of bed and do what he does, maybe that might be a good perscription for you? Try something you have never had, hug Spooney, turn on a "guilty pleasure" movie and have a cold drink.

You need a little selfishness every now and then, or why bother to get out of bed at all?

Looking foward to your sailing stories. See if they will let you into the Crow's Nest.


Grant Miller said...

Amen, again.

'Bubbles' said...

I use my kids as my excuse for fear creep. I works for me.