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Avoiding rattlesnakes

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Christian evangelists long ago perfected the art of making oratory mountains out of scriptural molehills.

What follows is GOF's first tentative step on the road to becoming the world's next Benny Hinn……or maybe even Jimmy Swaggart if I get lucky with my staff and congregation.

I have chosen a text today from the Gospel according to John.
John Laws, that is, self appointed deity of Australian talkback radio.

If at any time you feel the power of divine extortion annointing, please tithe your salary, or place a generous number of shekels in the collection plate which my henchmen stewards will soon be passing around .  
Bless you.

"The world is full of wonder.
 One day you will have to leave it for good.
 Make sure you absorb all its mysteries and pleasures
 while you have the time"   

I would like to speak to you today about John's use of the word "all".

Some degree of circumspection needs to be employed when it comes to experiencing what our world offers if we are also to score well in the game of longevity.

There are probably many mysteries and pleasures to be "absorbed"  at night in the back streets of Bogota, the favelas of Rio, canyoning in the Alps, or cave diving deep beneath Australia's Nullabor Plain.

Now admittedly I personally have the courage of a newly hatched chicken who is reticent to venture very far from its mother's wing.  
For me that "wing" is my instinct of self preservation which tells me not to go base or bungee jumping, parachuting, train surfing, swimming with sharks, or truthfully telling that big tattooed Maori security guard that he is a fat bastard who should lose some weight.

Some things are just not worth the risk.

Recently while decending a particularly steep section of the Mt. Bartle Frere walking track Mrs Gof and I came across a young man, alone, half way up, carrying a mountain bike on his shoulder.

The narrow track is in places almost vertical, and strewn with loose rocks and exposed slippery tree roots.  There are deep chasms between boulders where you cannot see the bottom.
He had chosen as a challenge to ride his bike down several kilometers of this trail.

In fading afternoon light.  With only one functioning eye.

The other had, at some stage of his young life, obviously been lost in some sort of horrific facial accident.  I do not wish to focus particularly on his disability or deny his right to adventure, but anyone attempting this particular project, alone, in a remote area and ignoring basic survival rules will inevitably draw attention to the very thin line between bravery and foolishness.
There were no other people on the mountain that day to help him if he got into trouble.
(I hasten to add that I returned specially on the following day to make sure his car had departed from the mountain base carpark)

Maybe my eagerness to survive life has also denied me some of its other more obscure pleasures.

Injected drug use and autoerotic asphyxia, apparently, can be fun, but the possible side effect of death always put me off those ventures.

No, I don't need to experience all the mysteries and pleasures of life to guarantee my happiness.
Some of them are located far too distant from my protective wing, and neither the destination or the journey involved in getting there appeal to my sense of responsible exploration.  

Now if I can just work out what chemicals Benny uses to get all that body and bounce into his silvery mane.


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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

8 responses »

  1. Cool! That young man is living life to the fullest. I'm grateful that you were looking out for him. We've moutnain biked a bit too late as the sun was setting and I found myself riding a passage of trail pretty much in the pitch dark.
    I won't ski, though. You see, the right activity finds you. There's 1 or 2 specific scary as hell adventures that could not conquer you, no matter if you are blindfolded, half blind or with one arm. You just need to figure out what they are. Trust and intuition are key, I think.

  2. Maybe I'd better reassess my opinion of John Laws, as that is as good a philosophy to live by as any I've heard. If I didn't know better, I'd say he had been talking to Snowy.

    Now what's this nonsense about you being chicken? As a young feller you fly your own plane in the wilds of New Guinea and that's chicken?
    You live in a cassowary infested rain forest, and that's chicken? And
    you give cheek to Inga? And that's chicken? No, my friend. If you're chicken, then the rest
    of us must be bantam chickens.

  3. One of the survival rules for walking these indistinct, easy to get lost on, jungle trails(and it is written on a sign at the base of the mountain) is"do not walk in the dark" …….is you lose the track by just a few metres chances are you will not find it again. Our adventurous friend was proud to show us his little single D cell torch with which to navigate out in the dark :-)I'm happy he made it out safely. Perhaps our world needs adventurers like him

  4. I don't think Laws claims all these little gems to be authentically his own work….more a collection of stuff he has heard or collected over a lifetime.He obviously must read your blog Snowy.Yep, giving lip to Inga is an act of courage. (or stupidity seeing as she will be organising the nursing home one day)

  5. Lord, I read it as Benny Hill the first time! I was wondering what you were thinking.
    To my mind, there is experiencing life and just plain stupid. That guy with the bike was just plain stupid. They never stop to think that someone else may have to risk their life to save them…
    When I worked in the bookshop and had to sell another copy of John Laws words (we had them on the throw out table) I used to want to grab the customer by the neck and say can't you think for yourself? But then I was living in a red neck centre (sorry Snowy).

  6. Benny HILL could preach to me any time :-)Re the bicycle dude…..not sure how you feel about the 16 yo trying to sail around the world, but I will never forget when Dick Smith wanted to be the first to solo helicopter to the north pole he stipulated that if anything went wrong no public money was to be spent on any search and rescue.If my memory serves me correctly we spent millions on rescuing that Bullimore dude from the southern ocean, then he went on to make squillions from his memoirs…..wonder if he paid anything back to us for saving his life.

  7. Maybe his car was stolen ……….. As I've aged I've become more sensible about enjoying life to the fullest.

  8. Maybe his car was stolen ……….. Damn….all it needs is one person thinking outside the square and all my good works are in tatters 🙂


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