Risky Business….

 

jumping-across-1-e1525387320303.jpgCOVID has struck fear in the hearts of young and old and has put  new element of risk in everyday life. I took a questionnaire based on age health etc and I have 8% or 1 in 12 probability of getting it and below 1% chance I could die from it. I fiddled with some of the answers and could not skew it all that much. C’est la vie. 

I have been thinking about how much this has changed our life. Kathy and I were going to take a road try this summer to visit friends in Michigan, upstate New York, DC and South Carolina. Nada! Ain’t gonna happen. We were going to fly or drive to Colorado to see the kids and grandkids. Another goose egg. What was holding us back? Should we take the risk? Should we ask others to do the same?

I have really got to thinking about this thing called risk. Webster says it is exposing someone to danger, harm or loss. I think that is a little too negative for my liking. I took a risk in marrying my wife or more probably she took a much larger risk in marrying me. But was there the element of injury? I hope not. 

You go to a casino. You have the ability to limit your risk by how much you bet and what are the best odds in a particular game of chance. You play in the stock market and try to increase your chances of success by doing your research. You buy a house or you choose a career. I guess if you want to do something in life, you have to take chances.  

Our society today serves both ends of the spectrum. Unknown-2You have helicopter moms and dads that want to orchestrate every baby step to reduce any perceived harm and of course maximize results. We have spent gazillions making, cars, planes, cribs, Big Wheels and life in general foolproof. There are warning stickers everywhere. Guard rails, seat belts, shields, et alia. All in the interest of keeping us safe but are we taking all the enjoyment out of life? Good question.

On the other side of our ethos are the crazy people. They have gone to new heights to get their thrill. I recently saw a guy jump out of an airplane without a parachute and landed on this huge net. Base jumping, wing suiting and bull running will get your attention. But why do we have these opposite poles of behavior?

It seems first off that people are far more inclined to encourage others to do a risky thing before they want to do it themselves. When I jumped out of an airplane a few years back, a whole lot of people wanted to hear about the experience rather than doing it themselves. They take vicarious pleasure but could they do it themselves? It depends on a variety of factors. 

In my case with the parachute thing, it was in many ways a physical but also psychological challenge to my acrophobia. When you are staring out an open door at 18,000 feet it gets intense. But in a strange way I became very much at ease. It was sort of here goes and there is no turning back. It either works or it doesn’t so enjoy the ride. And boy did I. But I also surmounted a great fear and the accomplishment made me want to do it again. Unknown-4.jpeg

In life we have choices of all sorts. Where you go to school, a career, a spouse, where you live. I don’t know about you but every time I have done something different or taken chances there is an incredible sense of discovery and of course a fair amount of trepidation. But once you do it and pull it off so to speak, you get more confident the next time. And that leads to whole new worlds and feelings. And as many of you know that is very cool. 

Life has no guarantees. Sure I could hole up in LaLa Land until the storm blows over but I could also have a heart attack or get hit by lightning too. I can buy insurance for my house, my car and even me but can I cover everything? Lastly what if this thing does not peter out but become and even greater part of our lives? What then?

We are in the midst of this ugly pandemic. We should be wary but we should not freak out. Respectful but not afraid. I have done my research and I think I understand this thing to a fair degree. The most striking part are the odds. Today we have 5.55 million cases that has resulted in 177,000 deaths. If I told you 50 million people in the US had COVID and there were only 177,000 deaths (.0035) would you feel differently? In actuality that is probably the case. So many have had it and are asymptomatic. images-5.jpeg

I have tried to limit the risk for Kathy and me and she has done the same. I play by the rules but I am also not going to become a recluse. Personally I think we can reopen carefully and sanely. I am appalled by the college beer parties but in all honesty I can’t guarantee you I would not have been in the middle of them. Neither could you. Life has to go on. There are so many ways we could see our end. That’s life. It’s a risky business but a pretty good one too. Stay safe but have a little fun.

As always

Ted The Great 

 Factoids:

40 million persons in the United States suffer from anxiety. Yikes. This number was obtained before COVID.

Comfort Zone….a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested:

Courage….strength of mind to carry on in spite of danger 

Antonyms:anxious, apprehensive,afraid, worried

Risk also means possibility, opportunity, prospect ,vulnerable

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The I’s Have It…..

This last week has inserted a little word play into my feeble brain. When we hear I, do you mean, I, eye or aye? Each one has had a place in occurrences of the past few weeks. 

Unknown.jpegI went to the ophthalmologist last week and of course his concern was the condition of my eyes. Hazel or blue and sometimes red they have been with me for quite a while. They are and have been my window on an incredible lifetime. The exam was extensive with pressure tests, glaucoma tests and of course following the bouncing light.  

I am curious by nature and I queried what each procedure was trying to prove. The best one of all was when they dilated my peepers and looked inside. The doctor called out various observations and measurements. Optic nerve? Healthy and good volume. Really? Rods and cones? Well those are associated with detecting light and color, not fishing or ice cream. Not bad either. Thank God I can still see the pretty girls. Am I allowed to say that these days?

I don’t want to make this Ted’s organ recital but it causes one to think on two planes.  If I had to guess which is the most critical of the senses it would have to be your sight. Without any lens to the outside world, you would only have your imagination to guide you. Yet it is striking how many wonderful musicians are blind. Andrea Boccelli, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Jose Feliciano to name a few. 

The more deep and spiritual instance happens when you consider how incredibly complex and intertwined our bodies are. A ray of light comes into your eye and is processed in nanoseconds and then proceeds to ignite something  in your brain to further cause a physical reaction or perhaps a wonderful feeling. Just like that!

I am not trying to convert anyone but do you really believe all of this happened by accident when a few bacteria got together a few billion years ago and the process of evolution just created us? Look at us and the creatures around us and the trees and oceans and doesn’t cause you to think that there might be some sort of higher being behind all this? Just thinking. I would have to be awfully arrogant not to. 

Moving on to “aye”,that little three letter word has taken center stage in our lives. Aye denotes comprehension as in, Aye,Aye sir.images-1 But it also is a vote for something. Not only do we get your drift but we agree with you. That has been elusive in our little democracy. Why is it so hard to say on either side of the fence? What prevents them from saying what they know is right and fitting for the country? Beats me. 

That’s when Aye turns to I. That one letter is important to me when I am trying to express my thoughts in a blog or conversation. I want to get down and dirty with you and tell what I really feel inside. That is difficult for some and you have to be careful to whom and when you sound off but it is at the same time raw and pretty good to just lay it out there. 

The odious I is the egotistical one. It says there is only one important person in this world. It is selfish, hubristic  and uncaring. Do you know who I am? If you don’t do what I want, you are toast.  I will go along with you but only if it suits my interest. I fear we are becoming more and more a bunch of I’s. 

Unknown-2.jpegThis week in Sturgis is a monumental display of egotism and stupidity. 250,000 are descending on this small town in South Dakota. They could be bikers or bankers, it doesn’t matter. They think they are exercising their rights. They are not wearing their masks or social distancing in defiance of anything sane. They are saying, F__k COVID and good for them. But what about the people of that little burgh who voted 65% not to have the annual rally only to be overturned by the town council? Do they have any rights? What is this bunch from everywhere  leaving behind there or worse yet what are they bringing home? It is happening all over. 

Ok, TTG how does this all tie together? Well if we have eyes we will see the problems before us clear and simple. What are we blind? Secondly we should be more than aware that it is going to take a majority of ayes to get this thing turned around. Swallow your pride, hold your nose congress people and take the castor oil of common sense. 

Lastly this is not an I situation. We as individuals have to act in concert with our society and suck it up. Take responsibility for our actions. We have kind of forgotten about that side of the equation. images-3Whether you are a rock star, politician, corporate exec or just an ordinary Jill or Joe, this is where the rubber meets the road. “US” and “WE are the operative pronouns”. “I” should be nowhere in sight. 

 

As always

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

The concept of ego has many negative connotations. Entitlement, self importance, arrogance to name a few. Yet we all need some sense of ego to be part of this world. This trick is making it work for and not against us.

The eye is the fastest muscle in your body – hence why when something happens quickly, we say ‘in the blink of an eye!’ .A blink typically lasts 100-150 milliseconds. You see things upside down – it is your brain which turns the image the right way up.  Sometimes…

Most rank the importance of senses as sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Some see the sense of touch as more important in that you feel pain. Others feel touch is important to relate to our fellow human beings. This is why social distancing is so difficult. These rankings actually differ greatly across different cultures. 

I won’t bore you explaining my moniker of Ted The Great. Suffice to say it is a pure spoof on uppity people. For you newcomers, it has been with me for over twenty years. I am not impressed by  people in high places.