Thanks to the risk takers

It is true that in spring, fancies turn. For many people, it’s that time of year when wild and foolish plans are put into action.I love these interesting, curious people. I try to surround myself with them, read their books and listen raptly as they spin the tales of their discoveries and adventures. The best part is that I never envy them. There is nary a daring bone in my body or thrill-seeking cell in my cerebellum. I may be slapdash, sometimes spontaneous and I can even claim enthusiastic. I will never, however, be very brave, and my curiosity is easily satisfied.

The sun comes up and goes down. It’s magic. That’s swell. I was fascinated when I found out why, but I would have been content to go through life just knowing it happens because I saw it happen. The same goes for most laws of physics. I might have been one of those “the earth is flat” sort of people. Although I regularly wish that I could be Queen of Everything, I cannot deny that if I had been in charge over the ages, life might be considerably more bland.

A good example is the artichoke. Hungry or not, I would have strolled right by that ugly, prickly thing and never have imagined that if you trimmed off the thorns, steamed it and then were satisfied to nibble just the very end off of every leaf, you would enjoy a tasty side dish. If I had somehow managed to get that far, I never would have bothered laboriously scraping off the choke to get to the delicious heart.

I would never, ever have picked, much less cooked with, something that makes my tongue sting, my mouth burn and my eyes water. Salsa would not be the same. The idea of snitching honey while the bees are still using it would never have dawned on me.

If I had been the head of the think tank back when, Las Vegas would still be a dark spot in the desert. My faint heart would leave the county fair missing a midway, and the big attraction at Magic Mountain would be the bluegrass music festival.

Because I never would have set sail in some tiny wooden boat, we would still be landlubbers and, at best, we might be riding horses, but certainly not racing them. Don’t talk to me about madness such as clinging to a basket beneath a balloon or trying to get off the ground with wings. Heaven forfend we should consider jumping off a precipice on purpose, even with a stretchy cord attached. We might huff and puff up some steep foothills, but climb that sheer cliff? Don’t be silly!

You all go right ahead, though, and continue sticking your necks out. I’m really quite grateful to you all. Truth is, I’d really miss those artichokes.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer and thorough coward. Contact her at




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