Some Call It Courage
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF DIFFERING DEFINITIONS of the word “Courage.” Some call it “Grace under pressure,” while others say it is “Being scared, but acting anyway.” I think that, in many cases, what is called courage is simply not paying attention to what is happening around you.
I heard someone once say that the most courageous person in history was the first person to eat an oyster. How hungry must that person have been to consider eating that thing? If I was faced with that dilemma today I would still hold out for something better.
“I ain’t eating that. There’s gotta be a Cracker Barrel nearby.”
I would even eat a tuna sandwich from the Marathon Gas Station Mini-Mart before I’d pick up that raw oyster and say, “Pass the hot sauce, please.”
Last night my wife, the lovely and highly courageous, Dawn, and I attended the SF Giants vs. the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium. There were a number of people there arrayed in Giants shirts, caps, and attitude, but we were nowhere near them. We were surrounded by about 40,000 Cardinals fans, yet we never felt in peril. There was good natured ribbing going on, but being a Giants fan there never required courage – except maybe when I got in line to get a hot dog. Getting a ballpark hot dog always requires a modicum of courage. There is always a smidgen of that “first oyster” memory lurking in the background with ballpark dogs.
After downing our hot dogs we moved to our seats to enjoy the game. It was there that we witnessed the most courageous act since Bruce Jenner decided to have his eyebrows plucked.
Allow me to set the scene –
Here we were, in St. Louis – in Busch Stadium – looking across the field at the largest Budweiser sign in the galaxy – with every vendor in the park yelling, “Cold beer! Get your Bud Light here!” – And, seated in front of us was a young man of indeterminate intelligence, time/space awareness, or survival instinct wearing a shirt bearing the message, “Miller Time.”
This was a fellow who had either lost a serious bet or was trying to commit “Suicide by Brewery.”
Going anywhere in St. Louis wearing a shirt saying “Miller Time” would be comparable to opening a Pulled Pork restaurant in downtown Baghdad, while dressed as Uncle Sam and wearing a Yarmulke.
I’d like to think that this fellow, pictured above, just lives in his own private Idaho and is protected by the Fates who must have one doozy of a surprise waiting for him down the road sometime in the future.
Perhaps this guy will be selected as Joe Biden’s running mate, or Donald Trump’s barber.
I think that the fact that he was able to get out of the stadium alive is a testimony to the kindness of St. Louis-ians. In most other cities he wouldn’t have made it past the old guy selling scorecards before being turned into a crime statistic.
Personally, I didn’t really care. I’m not a beer drinker. My only concern was that we might fall into the category of “collateral damage” if things didn’t go well for Mr. Miller Time. I don’t want my death certificate reading, “Cause of Death: Jackass shrapnel.”
Maybe this guy is one of those people who are considered, “Thrill Seekers.” You know – the kind of person who skydives using a parachute packed by someone with the nickname of, “Better Luck Next Time.” – Or who jumps into shark infested waters carrying a Rare Sirloin Steak in his back pocket.
The most common phrase one hears in reference to “Thrill Seekers” is, “Oh, yeah, I remember him.”
So, whether it be wearing a shirt that doubles as a bull’s eye, or being the first person to eat a raw oyster, it takes something special, I just don’t know if I could call it courage.
I’ll reserve that word for folks in the Armed Forces and anyone who would marry a Kardashian.