Play with Fire (from the Old Fogey in me)

As we get older, we realize how precious life is. When I was 18 years old in Army Basic Training, there wasn’t much that I was afraid of. I just threw my body with abandon into any circus event I could find. Today, I consciously step up onto a curb and brace myself as I cross the ice.

As I sit indoors in the comfortable, flat plains of Illinois, the probability of me being attacked by a mountain lion is nil. But the times when I was pacing the Western States 100 mile race in California or running the Hope’s Pass portion of the Leadville 100 course in Colorado, I was keenly aware of those silent green eyes of the mountain lion lurking in the shadows. There is a plaque dedicated in memorium to a lady who was eaten by a mountain lion at mile 95 of the Western States 100 course. I saw a research article of a park outside of San Diego where they tracked mountain lions. All of their nesting places were nearly adjacent to popular hiking trails. The probability of an encounter greatly spikes in these locations.

Its getting darker sooner. And it is well known that darkness often brings out the worst in people. When I was a kid, we didn’t go to the clubs until 9 or 10pm at the very earliest. Most crimes occur in the darkness. When I drive home from teaching yoga after dark, I am very leery of the two-lane country roads with no line in the middle. It would take a drunk driver checking a text message a split second to veer into my lane and hit me head on. In fact, I choose NOT to drive in the dark as much as possible, especially on a Friday or Saturday night when people are partying.

True story: When I was on my way to Drill Sergeant’s Academy at Fort Knox in Kentucky, I stopped at this quiet little town off the highway. I had just gone to sleep when I heard sirens blaring for hours. I got on the road early the next morning to find emergency vehicles on the highway and a burned out church bus. Later, I found out that a drunk driver got on the highway in the wrong direction and hit the bus head on. He killed 27 people, mostly children, and injured 34 others. I was just miles from the place where so many lives had ended.

Not to be fatalistic, but you can die anywhere…anytime. But those who choose to go to the clubs at night shouldn’t be shocked if they are a victim of violent crime. Someone walking down a city street at 2 A.M. when they don’t need to be there is more likely than me to be attacked by evil. People who live promiscuous lifestyles are going to be more likely than me to get AIDS, HPV, or other STDs. Believe me, I’m no Angel and I don’t expect to be a Saint. And I know its cliche, but when you play with fire…

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