Friday, November 11, 2005

Would you like to be Aron Ralston?

I'm having a beer after work with a colleague recently when suddenly he says

"Do you remember Aron Ralston?"

"I don't think so", I reply, "what bank did he work for?"

"No he's not a banker!" says my colleague laughing, "He's the guy who had to amputate his own arm after he got trapped climbing a couple of years ago."

"Oh yes, I did hear about that, somewhere in the Rockies wasn't it?"

"Yes I think so. But what an experience! Wouldn't it be fantastic to have an experience like that?"

"You mean you'd like to lose an arm?" I reply horrified. "Don't you like your arms? I'm quite fond of my arms you know! Anyway it must have been horrific for him to have to do that to himself."

"But think of the exhilaration! The exhilaration must have been extraordinary!! Just imagine! You've been trapped for 5 days right, you really think you're going to die, no, in fact you know you're going to die. You considered cutting off your arm at the start, but realised you'd never be able to cut through the bone. But then you suddenly realise that it's possible to break the bone! Imagine walking away from that, what a fantastic experience."

I'm definitely not convinced.

"You know", he continues, "I bet 50% of guys would happily give their arm for an experience like that. Rather than execute some wonderful transaction for the bank they work for, or be told by their boss that they've done a fabulous job managing some boring project. There's no comparison."

Indeed. Perhaps I see what he means. I definitely need excitement and exhilaration in my life. I'm sure that's one of the things which drives me to meet guys furtively for casual sex, because it's always an adventure. (Sometimes I even get a kick out of writing this blog, it's also a tiny adventure because no one who knows me knows that I'm a blogger.)

So perhaps my colleague is right. Most people lead relatively dull lives, and maybe some of them would love to have an experience like Aron Ralston. I can't help thinking though that it's a sad reflection of modern society if people yearn to lose limbs just to add some meaning to their lives.

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