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The Dangers of Ordinary Life



Sometimes a phrase gets stuck in your head. It's like having a tune such as "Yellow Submarine" playing in your brain for weeks. Someone I once knew calls this a "mind worm." It happened to me again this week. The mind worm struck.


The phrase in question was something the neighbor of a missing girl told the press. "When something like this happens, it reminds you of the dangers of ordinary life."


My ordinary life is dangerous, all right. It always has been. When I was two, my brother opened the car door and shoved me out. Yes, I lived. My shoulder was dislocated, though. When I was seven, my brother made me cross a railroad bridge over a waterfall, a bridge that had no side rails and seemingly wide gaps with nothing under it between the rails. That was dangerous.


When I was 9, my brother and I caught the thieves who had stolen my mother's Sierra Gold '57 Chevy. Only they got away again while we went to call the police. Or they would have, if I hadn't stood in front of the car. They swerved just in time and sped down the road where my father, on his way home, saw the car and followed it. Realizing they were being followed, they turned back, got panicked, and struck the side of a building, smashing the car. Their ordinary lives were really dangerous.


When I was 10, my brother almost drowned me. I'm not sure if this was intentional, but given the car incident and the bridge thing, it's pretty suspicious.


When I was 12, I got my hair caught in a mail slot. At 13, I was riding a bike and nearly got hit by a bus.. And when I was 22, I got cancer. At 27, I got it again. At age 28, I became a newspaper reporter and started doing deliberately dangerous things such as interviewing kidnappers in jail and going out late at night to accidents and fires.


These are the dramatically dangerous things in my life. Let's not forget the countless times I've nearly dropped the hairdryer in the sink or almost set the house on fire forgetting a pan on the stove. Should we include the time I broke my toe answering the phone? Or isn't that dangerous enough? What about last week when I was carrying the ash bucket and tripped, knocking my head on a wooden box and slamming my shoulder into the floor?


This phrase "danger in an ordinary life" has been haunting me as I try to chalk up the ones I've experienced and begin to wonder what other dangers I could be headed into.


There was the danger of divorce in my life. There was that feeling of stepping off a diving board into an empty pool as I got a full-time job for the first time and learned to live alone, to create a life by myself from scratch. But that turned out right. It wasn't really dangerous to do that. It just felt like it was.


Then there was another walking–off-the-edge moment of realizing I'd fallen in love again. That seemed dangerous at the time, too. But it turned out okay.


Now there's super germs, food borne pathogens, worldwide terrorist cells, a trashed economy, and potential social unrest looming on the horizon. Those are dangers, aren't they? I don't know, maybe I should just stay home---wait, that's what I'm doing! And I still burnt myself on a coffee pot, hit my head on a shelf, and dropped firewood on my foot. I guess it's true, then. Ordinary life IS fraught with danger and anything can happen at any time as we go about the normal, sometimes numbing order that shapes our days.


I thought this should bother me more than it does. But I was wrong. "Life is good" proclaims a T shirt I saw in the supermarket. "Each day is a gift" says a magnet in the Hallmark Store. I had giddy thoughts of making one that said, "Ordinary life is dangerous! Life is Good! Each day is a gift! Don't burn yourself!"


But I chuckled, remembering my father telling me if we hadn't been born there wouldn't be such a good chance of dying. His conclusion was remarkably similar to the one King Solomon came to. "Do what you can, while you can and honor God while you do it."


So as I head off to do the laundry with "Yellow Submarine" running through my head, I decide that mind worms aren't too bad. They aren't even mildly dangerous although they could be considered part of ordinary life, which IS truly filled with hidden horrors, blind driveways and dangerous detours.


So how bad could things be? Dangerous! Yes. But we're in it together. That thought comforts me as I contemplate an unknown future. Life is not more dangerous now. It's always been dangerous. It's always been a shaky proposition, this thing called survival and those who make it aren't any more special than you and me.


Ordinary life? Sure I laugh in the face of danger! I got up this morning, didn't I?


And come to think of it, so did you.


I'd say we're off to a good start here. Just please; never play "Yellow Submarine" within 12 yards of me. You know, mind worms.


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I love your blog! I'm printing some of your stories and adding them to my homemade 'Bedside Reader'. It's a binder filled with a collection of my favorite writings found on the 'net


Please keep writing!

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Mind worms...that's a good one. :wormie2:


Yes, indeed, they can be overwhelming.


You've had many more scrapes than I...but I do believe it's HOW we live our life and the quality of days we have. Sounds like you not only have the quality, but some good humor as well.



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Judy, you have such a wonderful ability to Word-Weave! It's no wonder you were such a successful reporter.


Now, as to that brother of yours...the next time you see him I think you should make his 'ordinary life a little dangerous'. Perhaps dropping a piece of firewood on his foot? Oops!

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LOL LOL My brother would give me the shirt off his back if I needed it and we love each other dearly. (But he lives in the south and I live in the north, LOL) :lol: :lol:

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