I Survived – But Just Barely

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?