I admire a man of unmitigated bravery; the kind of man who finds tranquility in dangerous situations, the man who doesn’t scream “Look at me! I’m climbing this giant fucking mountain!”, while climbing a giant fucking mountain. An individual of great worth - the type of people who we, as a society, revere as if they were humble martyrs — and deservedly so. What’s not to like about a person who can calmly perceive an unrealistic challenge as an opportunity to progress? Progress for themselves; progress for our species…
From a distance, I am appreciative. As coward, I am appreciative.
I am a coward.
I am the man who appreciates things from a distance. I am fearful. Fearful of the path we take in order to discover newly kindled attributes within our personalities. “No risk, no reward”? Fine. That’s fine - Because more often than not, said risk will outweigh said reward. Hypothetically, If you were to climb a mountain, your reward would ultimately be self-satisfaction and a handful of washed out memories for you to personally cherish until the day you die (and possibly a 60-second piece on PBS New England). To some, this is a reward worth the risk. To me, this is a damned foolish endeavor.
What will be that person’s legacy once they’re dead? And what if you die during an act of bravery? If your passion is a high-risk activity the likes of cliff diving or…snake kissing, and you die doing one of these activities, you can’t expect to be perceived as anything but foolish and stupid.
Which brings me to my next question (in which I again ask from a distance): Does bravery coincide with stupidity?
It’s the old “natural selection” gag, here. I’m not talking about the knuckleheads you see on Youtube hurling themselves off their Dad’s garage onto a bed of glass. Clearly, those people are very stupid people. To put yourself in that situation for user views can only mean that you’re stupid. No, I’m talking about your typical firefighter, or your casual skydiver. Yes, we respect those people for what they do, but when you partake in an occupation or a hobby that traditionally has a high death-rate - and then ultimately DIE doing it - is it incorrect or disrespectful for us cowards to say “obviously”? Or are we, as cowards, just being cowards?
It’s interesting to me. It really is. Aware that we all will cease to exist one day, I remain cautious and inside of my metaphorical safety ring: A “cowardly” act that can really only mean better odds for me. I sacrifice new experiences, instead watch contently from afar. Yet as a coward, I see the people who make themselves more susceptible to scrutiny and death as foolish, for they are rolling the dice against the life they were given…such a short, meaningless life….