Ever feel like life isn’t quite as interesting, fun or adventurous as it could be? Does the daily grind strike you as being far more a chore and far less a challenge than it used to be? I think we all get days when we feel that way, it’s part of the human condition, but I do wonder sometimes if our modern world actively conspires against us to make things far more boring and bland than they strictly need to be.
It was especially brought home to me this morning when a lift found it necessary to inform me that its doors were closing. Not a particularly noteworthy thing you might think, but to me it’s indicative of the sort of craziness that’s permeating our lives these days, an overly protective and politically corrective society that stifles the very essence of what it means to be alive.
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to live in a world just a little bit edgier and just a little bit less risk averse than the usual nannying that has become the norm in practically everything we do. What I really want – and I suspect I’m not alone in this – is a life where occasionally there’s a chance of finding myself in a position of, what Disney likes to call ‘mild peril’. I’m not talking about taking big risks that threaten life and limb… Been there, done that and survived to live to become a little bit older, although not necessarily wiser. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that my extreme danger days are best left in the past. Oh, and whilst I’m on the subject… Disney, mild peril is not cartoon princesses being rescued from slightly worrying situations; mild peril is leaving it to the last possible second before stepping off the escalator, it’s tobogganing down a snowy hillside on a tin tray, it’s jumping over fences, climbing on the rocks and not holding on to the moving handrail!
In fact Disney’s warning is a case in point: when we need to be warned that a cartoon contains ‘mild peril’, then I fear we’ve lost all sense of proportion and commonsense. I’d really rather not live in a world where someone is constantly looking over my shoulder, reminding me to check my change, watch my step, mind the doors, and generally take care about things that frankly are none of their freaking business! I do want to live in a world where I’m free to take risks, live (slightly) on the edge, and occasionally come a cropper. If I want to live mildly perilously, then that’s my choice, and it’s not some overbearing cosmic policeman’s duty to berate me over it.
Sadly, the health and safety nazis don’t believe that’s an appropriate way to conduct one’s life. They think I should be wrapped up in cotton wool, protected from myself and be spared the horrors that lurk beyond their caring grasp… So, for heaven’s sake, please don’t tell them about SL!
In Second Life, I can do all those things – and more – that Big Brother frowns upon in real life: I can go out in the rain without a coat, cross the road without looking, ride a motorcycle without a crash helmet, bungee jump, skydive, muff dive(!), powerslide, do donuts, eat donuts… lots of donuts, climb trees, wrestle poodles, play with guns, lie on the railway tracks, operate heavy machinery whilst under the influence of alcohol, kayak, ski, skateboard, screw, fall off ladders, fall out of windows, get into fist fights, get into cars with strangers, get into trouble, stare at the gorillas, poke the lions, tap on the glass, walk across hot coals, jump into volcanoes, poke fun at vampires, shoot zombies, walk the streets at night, walk tightropes, stay up way past my bedtime, pet stray dogs, hang out with the wrong sorts, loiter on the wrong side of town, stand too close to fireworks, run with scissors, throw stones, pull faces when the wind changes, eat pies with hot fillings, munch on snacks that might contain nuts, tread on banana skins, walk on the pavement cracks, swim after meals, ignore the signs, jump in puddles, laugh at the ‘funny’ people, not tidy my room, take risks – all sorts of risks – big, small, crazy, whatever, and no matter what, nobody is every going to remind me to ‘be careful’, ‘stay safe’, ‘mind the gap’, ‘hold on to the moving handrail’, ‘ensure product is piping hot throughout’ or ‘stand behind the bloody line’ for my own safety!
A friend manage to sum up perfectly the joy of a world where we’re just allowed to get on with enjoying taking the odd risk, just the other day: “I am trying not to get eaten by crocodiles or piranhas… well I have been killed twice already!”
All good, clean, healthy fun.
What’s so bad about that?
Like a true nature’s child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die
Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild