I’d rather live in a dangerous world where I can jump off Fanny Bridge any time I want, as long as the water is deep enough to complete the jump safely, than live in a strictly regulated world where we have to surrender the responsibility of our safety to someone else, and obey every little rule and regulation ad nauseam, but that’s just me.
I’d rather be a rebel without a clue than a captive conformist with no individual identity or liberty.
A lot of people share my appreciation for danger, for several reasons. The main reason is because we realize we live in a dangerous world where people pretty much do whatever they want anyway, and we find it profoundly moving and entertaining. We love the excitement, the thrill and risk of bodily injury and death, and welcome with open arms the harsh reality of a dangerous world full of global chaos, impending doom and racial unrest.
We started off as wimps, so we understand that sometimes it makes sense to wimp out. But we also know that a dangerous world helps build character.
A perfect world in which no one gets hurt would be nice, but then, where will we get all the good material for America’s Funniest Videos? Sunday evening TV would be totally boring because AFV will be nothing but re-runs. It’s hard to cringe with an almost total lack of sympathy watching people who don’t have a clue about gravity and physics do the same stupid stunts over and over again, nearly killing themselves.
But it would be better than nothing.
To celebrate the danger in life, and to express my sincere desire to keep the world a dangerous place, I plan to jump off Fanny Bridge on my 63rd birthday this year, even though I reserve the right to wimp out at the last minute, especially if the cops are watching.
The water is deep enough to make a safe jump. This is not a death wish, or an act of civil disobedience to protest all the uncivil disobedience going on right now, or to protest against protesting, although I like that idea. It is a celebration of freedom and joy and of how natural and organic danger is, and a promising attempt to relive my youth.
I felt it was necessary to tell everyone about my plan to jump off the bridge just so you know that my stunt was a premeditated act. I wouldn’t want it reported that I got drunk and accidentally fell off the bridge. That would make me look like an uncoordinated 63-year-old, which is only half the story. Besides, danger is always more fun if you’re sober.
It’s a good thing we can’t be consistent and thorough about public safety, and do away with every activity that could hurt people, or get them wet. If so, we would have to close down the ski resorts, ban cars and stop launching boats on Lake Tahoe. We would have to pass a town ordinance against life. A world that safe would be too boring.
Can you imagine someone coming between you and the Pacific Crest Trail head and saying, “You can’t hike this trail because you might trip and sprain your ankle, or worse, and then we might have to rescue you, which we’d rather not do”?
That would be the best reason to make the hike.
I want to apply for DNR status, if there is such a thing. DNR stands for “Do Not Resuscitate.” A bunch of friends and I were talking about it at a barbecue the other night. The bawdy and raucous discussion included an affirmation of death by danger, accident or natural causes, and how dying, and joining the chosen people, wouldn’t be such a bad thing, given all the hatred we have to live with here on earth. We had a hilarious talk about our zest for life, and our unshakeable confidence in a glorious life after death.
When you are sure about something that great, you can appreciate real danger.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.