I Survived – But Just Barely

by Ron Haynes

As we breathlessly await the next proclamation from our news sources about the dreaded swine flu, I mean H1N1 (wouldn’t want to upset any swine), I got to thinking about all the other dreaded things I’ve survived.

So far I’ve survived

  • Bird flu
  • The “hole” in the ozone layer
  • SARS
  • Lead based paint
  • George W. Bush
  • Bill Clinton
  • Heck, I even survived Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson
  • Riding in the back of pickup trucks
  • Never having a car seat
  • Riding my bicycle with no helmet
  • Pesticides
  • Riding my bicycle MILES from home, alone, and coming home just as the street lights came on
  • Swimming less than one full hour after eating
  • The crime “explosion”
  • The Alar apple scare
  • Second hand smoke
  • Campfires
  • Spankings from my teacher, the principal, my mother, and my father — all on the same day
  • Barbecue
  • Toy guns
  • “Violent” cartoons like the Road Runner and Tom and Jerry
  • Coffee (and caffeine)
  • High tension electrical wires
  • Breathing gasoline fumes
  • BB gun fights
  • Dirt bikes – again with no helmet!
  • Asbestos roofing shingles
  • Saccharin
  • Cowboy gun fights
  • Dodge ball
  • Shooting bottle rockets at each other
  • Drinking out of a garden hose
  • Four major earthquakes (went to Central America by myself when I was 17)
  • Guerillas (the kind with AK-47′s)
  • Pneumonia and pleurisy
  • Eating food from a street vendor in a rural city in Guatemala (four times! – it was good)
  • Climbing 100+ foot cliffs with no safety gear
  • Halloween candy
  • Flying in small single engine planes
  • Flying in large multi engine jets — over the ocean no less!
  • Working in the South Town projects
  • Herbicides
  • Butter
  • Hot Dogs
  • Sugar
  • Medicine bottles without childproof caps
  • Falling out of trees
  • Teachers who were more worried about me knowing a subject than about my self esteem (oh the agony)
  • Sticking a butter knife in an electrical outlet
  • “Dirt clod” fights with all the neighborhood kids
  • Chasing the city mosquito sprayer truck on my bike (breathing pure DDT)
  • Fistfights in 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade …
  • Breaking a thermometer to play with the mercury
  • Walking five blocks to school (yet never got abducted)
  • Shooting homemade bows and arrows
  • Falling off horses
  • Eating fruit without washing it first
  • Fungicides
  • Having a home with only one bathroom (and five people!)
  • Stepping on a rusty nail (ok I DID get a tetanus shot)
  • Keeping a baby copperhead in my pocket all day at school in the third grade
  • Playing around construction sites, not just home construction sites, but when they built Interstate 65 through my hometown (boulders the size of houses, I’m telling you!)
  • Homemade slingshots
  • Sleeping outdoors on camp-outs
  • Candy cigarettes
  • Monkey bars
  • Playing a game where we would throw our pocket knives at each other’s feet to see who would be the first to move

Can you believe it? What are the odds I would survive all this? To hear the media, these things should have resulted in my death, or at least damaged my psyche, but the last time I checked, I’m still kicking. I guess I just didn’t let the media’s need for a screaming headline interfere with living my life. Sorry CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS. Sorry USA Today, Washington Post, and New York Times. I’ve got better things to do than listen to or read about your nail-biting drama about the latest thing to dread.

Life is too short to live in fear.

What have you survived?

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1001 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

If you enjoyed what you just read and would like to get FREE email updates with the freshest articles from The Wisdom Journal delivered right to your inbox, subscribe today! It's ridiculously easy and you can unsubscribe at any time. Since your email address is never sold or abused, you can subscribe with confidence, PLUS you'll get free reports/guides/eBooks, subscriber only benefits, and other perks.


Baker @ ManVsDebt

Wow, what an awesome idea for a post! How do you come up with this stuff? I laughed out loud several time while reading that list. It’s really got me thinking about not only everything that I’ve survived, but looking ahead to more things I will want to add to that list. Thanks for the thought-provoking list!

Andy Wood

Numbly peg! Haven’t heard that one in in a while. We used to play that all the time in scouts.

I also survived bottle rocket wars, middle-of-the-night bike rides (my parents weren’t aware), and joyriding in my friend’s dad’s Ford Maverick at age 14. Plus nearly all the things on your list. Great reminder. You’re on my soapbox now, my friend!


HA HA HA !!! You made me laugh several times!!! Wonderful post! But, did you say a baby copperhead? Oh my! And, I bet you got your bottom spanked again for throwing knives at each others feet, if your Mom and Dad knew about it! LOL!

Positively Present

Great post! So often we focus on the negative and what we’ve struggled with, but this a great reminder of all the things you’ve made it through. I think I’m going to create a list like this for myself and take a look at it every time I’m feeling like I can’t get through something. Thanks for being so inspiring!


Wonderful list! I remember all those things and more. Kids these days do not know HOW to have fun! Climb a tree, ride a bike or build a fort in the woods!


Ron – I totally relate to so many of these items! Things like toy guns, Tom and Jerry, Halloween candy, spankings from my parents and teachers, riding in the back of pick-up trucks and riding my bicycle with no helmet are all very familiar to me. It is a wonder we made it out of childhood, isn’t it?!?

I remember vividly how my brother, who was 5 years younger than me, and I used to ride our bikes (w/o helmets) all the way across town to the local motel to go swimming in a pool with no lifeguard! We did all of this with no parental supervision. Parents today would go to jail! Of course, nothing bad ever happened to us. We just had a lot of fun!

I certainly wouldn’t advocate irresponsible actions, but I do think we could lighten up a bit! Thanks for reminding us of this.


Great post! I’ve thought this stuff for a long time, and you nailed it! I also survived red food dye (loved those red M&M’s) and going outside in the cold with wet hair. I drank sugared drinks and didn’t get sick. Drank after other kids and water from the hose outside on a hot day. Swam in creeks wihtout knowing or caring what industrial plant was nearby. Ate food that had been sitting out for a few hours after cooking. Nobody put a thermometer in our turkeys either. And they were stuffed. As a teenager, I snuck out of the house in the middle of the night and met friends in a nearby field. Didn’t die. Sleepy as all getout, tho. When we got a cold, mama gave us popsicles. No doctor required. We just got over it, fever and all. If we talked back, we got spanked. My self esteem is intact, and I learned respect at the same time. Amazing. Ain’t it grand we lived through all the danger?

lvlc @ FromMomToMom

OMG! hahahahahahaha YOU HAVE MADE ME LAUGH!!!!!!!!!!!


Love it! Yes, we live such a sheltered life nowadays we are just about afraid of everything!

Add to your list: the homemade potato gun (14 year old boy + can of ether+ lighter= fun!)


Great post, this brought back so many memories to me. I got a great laugh from this, sometimes it’s nice to tune out all this madness that’s on the news, smile and enjoy the ride of life!


Hey, we all survived Y2K as well!


LOL!! Btw – your last post was called “chicken” and we played in when I was in 6th grade. If my Dad only knew…’course he still doesn’t know I ride my own motorcycle and I’m 48! :)


LOL!! Btw – your last *item* in your post was called “chicken” and we played *it*. . . (sorry 4 typos)


Hi Bud!!!! :wink:


ohh my!!!! how funny! Just the same, so glad none of the little boys in my class are like you….baby copperhead…eeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!!!!!
knife-throwing, bb gun fights….oh my.
Although, the riding in back of pickups did bring back happy thoughts! Add to it playing in the middle of the road & popping tar bubbles(rural area) all summer. The kids who live on that road can’t do that now though, too much traffic.


LOL. One of the best articles I have read in some time. That’s why I abhor watching the news on TV… They over-dramatize everything. I can’t stand listening to that crap!

Frugal Dad

This is a great post! Have you ever noticed the “doom-and-gloom” nightly newscasts are filled with commercials by pharmaceutical companies pitching anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medications? I think I first heard that observation from George Carlin.


Have you heard the side effects from those medications? That’s some funny stuff. “Sleepwalking and driving with amnesia of the event?”


Awesome list – I always bring up the topic about riding my bike without a helmet. Now, if you let your kids ride without a parent – it is like committing a crime. I even had a neighbor threaten to report me recently because my kid was riding his scooter without one.

Matt Jabs

Oh my word!! You embodied what I think on a daily basis…awesome.

You guys already know how I feel about personal responsibility, and I think this post follows right along those same lines.

I especially appreciate how it delivers much deserved pun on unnecessary modern societal evolution…I love it.

Matt Jabs

ps…I meant “evolution” with pun as well…

Matt SF

Great post! I was glad to see you included BB Gun fights… one of my favorite activities as a kid since Laser Tag had a short battery life.

A list like this makes me question whether it’s ethical for the media to overhype stories the way they do. In a perfect world, mainstream media would be forced to publicly disclose how much money they make from advertising dollars when overhyping a story.

Matt SF

Great post! I was glad to see you included BB Gun fights… one of my favorite activities as a kid since Laser Tag had a short battery life.



Nicki at Domestic Cents

This is awesome!! Thanks so much for posting it :)


Awesome list! The world today makes you think you can’t survive a bicycle ride without a helmet anymore!

To add a few to your list:
Playing in drain pipes
“Exploring” with my brother, older cousin and dog. Getting lost and ending up in the creek under the expressway where we could finally climb back out!
Being a latchkey kid with my 1 year older brother since I was in 2nd grade
Playing on rail road tracks
Ditching the bus and walking home from school along those same tracks (bridges were scary!)
Walking in bare feet


I like these lists, too. My parents let me stand up in the front seat of their car when I was young, for example. However, we shouldn’t discount the numbers of children who died, were kidnapped, fell seriously ill, were maimed, etc., because of many of these things. Some bad things did happen to some people because of this stuff. How many grieving parents wish they had made their kids wear seatbelts and biking helmets, stay away from construction sites, etc.?


*Lawn darts! The big heavy ones that could skewer you if you got in the way.
*Riding my horse alone along the rural roads for miles, sometimes racing cars at a mad gallop on the highway shoulder. (and I was a pretty red-headed little girl, too, but nobody stole me OR the horse.)
*Fishing by myself – I could have fallen in and got giardia or something (I don’t sink, I float – been known to fall asleep on my back in the pool.)
*Swimming in the cow pond, pushing aside the floating cow, um, poop to get through to deep water. Never got e. coli or bitten by the cottonmouths that overran the pond before I was born. Running barefoot through fresh cow poop just to feel it squish up through my toes, ditto. (Ewwwww!)
*Eating dirt (I had 2 big brothers).
*Not washing my hands every 5 minutes.
*My mother didn’t use disinfecting anything except bleach in the laundry. Didn’t get sick much as a kid, though.
*Switchings and being slapped for having a smart mouth. I even survived having to cut my own switch without being scarred for life. Nowadays my mother would be -under- the jail!
Ah, the good old days. There’s something to be said for the freedom to do what you please (within reason) when you’re a kid. Nowadays kids seem to have every moment of their lives scheduled out: ball practice, ballet lessons, tutoring, you name it. When do they just get to be kids??


Awesome list!


But, did you RUN WITH SCISSORS??


Many times! Haha!

Previous post:

Next post: