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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thrill-Seekers: Have at it!

Someone posted on Facebook a photo of the world's first "double-decker" rope-way system, which is a metal bucket disguised as a ski-lift stuffed with dozens of people, suspended hundreds of feet above the beautiful Swiss countryside and sent from hither to yon on a zip line. I saw the picture, swooned in abject terror and nearly pitched off my desk chair onto the soft, comfortable carpeting two feet below.

Anyone who knows me is well-aware of the fact that I am no thrill-seeker. Given my irrational fear of the ocean, its inhabitants, land creatures with fur, birds, circus clowns, fire, helmets, heights, black licorice, things that go fast, polyester and children with two different-colored eyes, it would be tall order indeed for me to take on the role of thrill-seeker.

Yup - I don't trust him.

The very idea of jamming myself into what is basically an open-air double-decker bus and be sent wheeling into space is inconceivable. I would drop dead of fright while waiting (in chains and a straightjacket) in line to board the goddamn thing. And I am nearly certain that when the EMTs were removing the straightjacket and chains from my lifeless carcass I would have a foul surprise waiting for them in my britches.

Daredevils, in my opinion, are nothing more than fools. Monkeys without fur. I saw a vintage photograph of two dumbasses playing tennis on the wing of a biplane. First of all, I doubt that any serve made it over the net, since the plane was probably moving at two-hundred miles per hour or so... Every game would end love/love - a completely useless exhibition of devil-may-care tomfoolery. Second of all, as the pilot of such an aircraft, I would not feel at all comfortable flying around with these imbeciles hopping about on the wing of my plane. I saw another photo of Karl Wallenda of the Insane Flying Wallendas walking on a wire high over a baseball stadium in the break between games of a double header. In a shirt and tie. If he had fallen, I guarantee it would have taken forever to start the nightcap.


What is it that motivates these adrenaline-junkies to find ever-higher, ever-faster means to risk their lives? According to Wikipedia: "Adrenaline junkie is a non-medical colloquial term used to describe somebody appearing to be addicted to endogenous epinephrine. The "high" is caused by self-inducing a fight-or-flight response by intentionally engaging in stressful or risky behavior, which causes a release of epinephrine by the adrenal gland." 

Yes, but what causes this behavior? Also from the world-wide-web: "No one knows for sure. It may be genetically determined. We may discover one day that adrenaline junkies, conditioned by defective genes, develop special neural and biochemical paths, an unusual sensitivity to adrenaline. Or, it may indeed be the sad outcome of abuse and trauma during the formative years. the brain is plastic and easily influenced by recurrent bouts of capricious and malicious treatment."

Thanks for clearing that up.

In summary, it could be an imbalance, faulty genetics, or a sad outcome of abuse or trauma. I would most likely disagree with this hypothesis - I have all of the above and have no desire to climb aboard a high speed roller-coaster built on top of a needle in the middle of Las Vegas. None at all.

No desire for this. Zero.

In fact, the only time I would ever want to have the look on my face that any of these intrepid gentlemen to our left is experiencing is if I am having a world-class orgasm. Hopefully, my last one.

I consider thrill-seeking a much-needed thinning of the herd. Eventually, these "adrenaline junkies" are bound to fall off the wing of the bi-plane with nothing to break their fall but the tennis racket clenched in their white, thrill-seeking knuckles and every generation or so, a couple of Wallendas topple from their high-wire into the swirling wind of the baseball stadium, mountain gorge or the urban air above the teeming city streets between the skyscrapers. And you can bet your life, I will be safe at home, wondering my leisurely walks through the neighborhood give me shin-splints.

So, have at it, thrill-seekers - you shall be missed. Until the next one comes along with a higher, faster plan of action.

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