A couple of days ago, my friend Sam and I enjoyed lunch at the new cafeteria inside the local supermarket. He asked if I was going to have a dessert. I told Sam that I was in the mood for some peach pie. He looked at me and said, “You silly savage!”
I chuckled and replied how tame my wild side had become, if having a slice of pie is the craziest thing I do all day. I asked Sam what he considers to be his own wild side and what does he do to exhibit it.
After a minute or so, he admitted that he had not given much thought to what it might be. He assured me that it didn’t entail doing something that would send him to prison, yet he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
I nodded for him to continue.
Finally, Sam admitted that if he could do something crazy right now, it would be to go white water rafting. I smiled at the thought of my mild-mannered friend dodging large rocks in the rapids of the Colorado River. I asked Sam if he owns a life jacket or even a safety strap for his eyeglasses.
Sam replied that he owns neither of the two and that he’s only been on a boat a couple of times in his life.
I said that I loved the idea of my friend stepping outside the paradigm of how I normally think of him. I hoped Sam does actually go white water rafting.
So, Sam asked me, “Aside from eating peach pie, what insane thing do you want to do?”
Without hesitation, I told Sam that someday I’d like to rent a Ferrari and learn how to drive real fast around a race track. That’s something I’ve dreamed of doing for many years.
My friend asked why haven’t I done that already?
I said that, “First, I can’t afford to do it. Second, the thought of it kind of frightens me.”
Sam smiled knowingly and said, “Thinking about rafting through the rapids scares the daylights out of me, too.”
I admitted that running the rapids is a far cry from his daily job of data entry at the medical center. It’s really difficult for me to see him follow through on his wish.
Sam said, “Yeah, James Thurber could have written a sequel to ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ and based it on my life.”
I said he could have written another sequel based on my life, too. “How did we get to the place where eating at a supermarket deli has become a big thrill in life? What happened to the twenty-somethings we used to be?”
“We grew old and cautious.”
I mentioned that I used to think nothing of booking a flight to some far away city, but now, I think about all the difficulties of a 140 mile drive to Omaha. In my defense, I mentioned that with age comes worries about reflex times needed for heavy traffic, worse eyesight, and other physical symptoms of aging.
Sam asked, “So, is the window of opportunity for that Ferrari race closing?”
“Yeah, I’d almost be happy just to sit in the passenger seat while a driver zips around the track. It’s looking more and more like an adventure I should have done years ago.” I leaned towards Sam and asked, “What about your dream about rafting?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes, just getting out of town for a day seems to be enough excitement for me. I think we need to push each other’s envelopes more often.”
Smiling in agreement I said, “Sam, I think you need to get yourself a slice of this delicious peach pie.”
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the founder of the Boy Scouts and British Girl Guides, Robert Baden-Powell. “Juvenile crime is not naturally born in the boy, but is largely due either to the spirit of adventure that is in him, to his own stupidity, or to his lack of discipline, according to the nature of the individual.”