I’m technically not scared of everything, so much as I am worried about everything.
I don’t like to fly.
I don’t like working in tall buildings.
Spending a vacation in a chalet is borderline out of the question for me (really bad experience!).
And I don’t even let my cab drivers talk on the phone when I’m in the cab anymore—per New York City law!
But the reason I shy away from saying I’m scared of those things, is because I do all of them anyway. I fly when I have to and sometimes when I don’t have to. I work in tall buildings. Heck, I sleep in tall buildings. I’m planning to vacation in a chalet in Italy in the not too distant future. And when it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I’m tired, I cut my cab driver some slack if he’ll where an earpiece.
Still, I worry about all of those things. I won’t let you see that I’m worried. I won’t let you know that I’m worried. But trust me, I’m worried. If we’re in a tall building, on a plane, or in some other semi-plausibly dangerous situation and I’m keeping to myself, minding my own business and really not trying to communicate with anyone near me, it’s because I’m worrying about the worse possible outcome.
That’s just who I am. I think about those things. Some people, on the other hand are the exact opposite.
I remember one time in college, I was talking to one of my football teammates, and we were just talking about random stuff, most likely because he was high or drunk, or both. At one point in the conversation, he said, “When you’re in the subway, do you ever think about what would happen if you pushed someone standing on the edge onto the tracks?”
Before you get all crazy, he was probably high, so he was being existential and what not, and that’s something he would never do. But clearly, it’s something he thinks about, because that’s the type of person he is, he’s always wondering what would happen if HE pushed the limits.
I, on the other hand, in response to his question, both said and realized that my line of thought is the exact opposite. When I’m standing on the edge of the subway platform, I think about somebody randomly coming up and pushing me onto the tracks. Why? Because I’m always worried about crap like that.
I’m worried about planes cracking in half in mid-flight. I’m worried about the breaks on the bus going out when I’m crossing the street. I’m worried about leaving the iron on, going to work, re-entering my building, only for a fire to break out upon my return.
Once again, I don’t ever let any of those things freak me out, or even effect what I do in life—they’re just thoughts of concern. However, because I am always worrying about crap like that, I have exit strategy for just about everything.
I know if a terrorist is on the plane, I’m going for his knees before anything else.
If somebody pushes me onto the subway tracks, I’m pulling them down with me, rolling over to the platform side, leaving their body between myself and the train.
And if I get held at gunpoint, I’ve practiced that gun trick from Rush Hour 1 like a thousand times.
I could probably teach a class in physical exit strategies. Of course, on the final day of class, I’d just have to be real with everyone and tell them that in the game of life, you can never really be prepared for the worst, because the worst never happens in your moment of preparedness.
The people of Haiti found that out in a very devastating way a couple of days ago, and unfortunately for them, no exit strategy could have said the many that have passed away. Here’s to the people from Haiti. As someone who worries about silly things far too often, I’ll try to do whatever I can to relieve at least one person of there worries, even if it’s just for a small moment in time.