The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

June 18, 2013

Some people have to live life on the edge

Do you like living on the edge? Think about it.

Some people just love to take risks and live dangerously. They are so near the falling-off place that they like the “rush” they feel.

Some people try to beat the clock. Some people watch the clock but only to race with time. They prefer to hardly leave one extra minute for the unforeseen to happen. They don’t allow for a train to block the road or even for that matter, for a stop light to be red. If someone should pull in front of them, it throws off their rhythm and speed and they become furious. This, my friends, is road rage!

Wouldn’t it be much simpler and less hectic to wake up a little earlier and have a few minutes to spare, and not live so close to the edge — or so near the end of time?

I have never quite understood people who run their gas tanks to “empty.” Even when the light comes on, they swear they have a few miles yet to go on those fumes. Two half tanks do not cost more than one full tank. And look at the hassle it would save. And the worry it would prevent. And one less way of living on the edge.

When I was in college, I remember what it was like to study for tests or assignments. Some of the younger students waited until the very last night to “cram” for a test. I wonder if they learned what was needed for the tests, or if they just memorized facts so they would make a passing grade. Did they retain that knowledge?

I was never one to wait until the last minute. I got too uptight if I put it off too long. It was bad enough just to review, much less start from scratch to learn something for a test. My disposition would not allow that kind of living on the edge.

What worked for me with college, and still does on certain projects, was to wake up at about 2 a.m. and study for two hours while the house was quiet and my mind was calm. I gave it all I had and then went back to bed until time to get up and face the day. I retained that knowledge and it was fresh in my mine. All I had to do was recall it. I was never exhausted during class time. I had a clear head and enjoyed every test and class I took.

Another way of living on the edge is to not keep track of what one has in their bank account. Banks do not make that many errors. Usually, people are just late getting their deposits in or write too many checks, hoping they have a few days to go through channels before they clear. Wouldn’t it be much safer and save a lot of stress if one just kept track of what was in the account and allowed a little extra to spare?

We have never been late with filing taxes. However, this year, Jim was hospitalized a few weeks before the tax deadline. Monty, our trusted CPA, applied and got an extension for us, but we were able to make the deadline because Jim got out just in time. We had all year to plan our taxes and at least four months to figure them. Luckily, we do keep things up-to-date and only had to total the columns and submit our information for the forms to be completed. We almost were living on the edge.

But every year, without fail, there is a line at the post office until midnight with their taxes in hand to be mailed. Nowadays, most people press the send button on their computers to file their taxes, but even then they wait until the very last minute.

Every year, we hear of people who are killed or physically harmed because they choose to live dangerously. I am not referring to bungee jumping or hang gliding. I mean those who will try to beat a train to the crossing, take undue chances on the highways or jump into a strong current or waterfall. They are just playing Russian Roulette with their lives. Why take such hazardous chances? Life is too precious to lose. The trouble with living on the edge is that eventually, we may slip and fall. It may be costly — too costly!

I have thought about going to one of those camps where people learn to trust others with falling and saving and survival. But those exercises are under controlled circumstances with life support handy. If I were 40 years younger, I would consider it to conquer my fears.

There are enough accidents that happen when we are being careful, we don’t need to take undo chances for bad things to happen to us. Even the most careful people fall. Even the most cautious drivers have car accidents. That is risk enough for me and mine.

I would not live on the edge and serve my family and friends a casserole of mutton, pineapple and rutabaga. I would much rather be a little conservative and cook something most people like, or at least wouldn’t be afraid to try.

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