T is for Trusting your Gut


The news the other night reported how many people have died taking selfies. At Yosemite, by the ocean, in a college bell tower, anywhere and everywhere. What I don’t get is, didn’t they know how stupid they were being? Did they think they had a guardian angel? Did the selfie arm in the air throw them off balance? Where was that little voice in their head?

I grew up listening to that little voice in my head (or more accurately, that twist in my stomach) when something felt dangerous or wrong.  I backed away from more than one risky thing as a teenager. My OCD served me well back then.

What is OCD, you ask? That’s when the little voice in your head points out ALL the bad things that could EVER happen to ANYONE (that’s the O part). The chances of it happening to you are statistically low, but I’ve always considered myself special.

Always having my purse, a Kleenex, a pair of scissors, and a Band-aid, that’s the C part of OCD.

I’ve mellowed a bit in my old age, but I still have those bad thoughts now and then and say to myself, “Hi, OCD, how are you? I haven’t heard from you in a while.”

Everyone should have a voice in your head that reminds you when something is risky.  If you don’t have that voice, think of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other shoulder. Which one would encourage you to do something risky? Ding, ding, ding! That’s right! The devil made you do it.

I grew up in a day when abortions were illegal in my state. That was the best birth control a teen-aged girl ever needed. I didn’t want a baby in high school, so I learned how to avoid that.

At Camp Dodge swimming pool, the distance from one side to the other was enormous, and I wasn’t that great of a swimmer. I stayed away from the deep end and the raft in the middle of it with all the rowdy boys throwing the girls into the water. Iowa flirting in the summertime.

At the state fairgrounds, I looked at the roller coasters put together by the carnies, the guys that traveled from town to town setting up the rides for ten days, then tearing them down and heading off to somewhere else. My friend, Debbie, thought they were cool and sexy. I was more afraid of them than intrigued. In the end, she took home way more stuffed animal prizes than I did, and she didn’t have to knock over milk bottles to get them (wink, wink).

The crazy guy with the souped-up car that gave free rides to pretty girls, well, I did that once and never again. That guy died in a single-vehicle car crash.

The motorcycle dude that took me up the interstate to the wildlife refuge on I-35, he was cute, but not cute enough to get me back on that motorcycle.

Okay, so all you motorcycle guys are thinking I’m a wimp, and the roller coaster lovers are thinking I’m a dork, and the fast car gals are thinking I’m a dweeb.

Oh, and the spillway guys, who rode down the spillway in the dark while drinking!  Yes, I was a big chicken, and as I said before, not a great swimmer. Swimming while drinking isn’t advisable for anyone, good swimmer or not.

I’ve done a few risky things, like go to South America to student-teach, and travel around that part of the world, two young women, getting by on our looks and a smile.

I’ve dated some questionable guys in my life, and have had some thrilling hikes and trips.

But no cruises. I don’t like boats. There’s the voice in my head again. “You know you get seasick!” “And what if it sinks? Or everyone gets sick? Or you lose your luggage?”

I just threw in the last one. I’ve never lost my luggage. But I did lose a boot in a bar once. The little voice in my head was off duty that night.

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