Last night I was riding the El (subway) train back to the North Side of Chicago. I was on the Red Line in a crowded coach — fortunately, safely nestled in a seat this time — for something like sixteen stops. After a while, the conductor of the train announced sharply, “Once again, do NOT sit on the train platform with your legs dangling over the side. A train could not see you, and you would be without legs . . . and yourself.”
the health fallacy
Immediately thereafter, just about every fellow passenger began murmuring comments of the “What kind of idiot would do that?” variety.
It really reminded me of the time, years ago, when I was walking out of a cinema at night and there were these kids — adolescents — laying their bodies supine, connected head to toes like tiles across a crosswalk on the street. The street wasn’t major, but still. They were having a good, juvenile time tempting fate lying across the street, their sounds of joy the only ones in the air. A car or two came, waited for them to clear the road, and after driving away, the kids would lie back down.
It was one of the most bizarre things I’d ever seen.
Finally, some guy, young, maybe twenty-four or -five, came and started barking at them. He went off on a “What the @#!$^ do you think you’re doing! Are you ^#@* out of your minds?! Don’t you know how dangerous that is you little #^@$!!!” until they scattered, told off by their own kin.
Moral of the story? People do some crazy @#^%. And they know they’re being stupid, as they shirk off their own duty to watching out for themselves and taking care of their precious machines. Almost always, these are the little knuckleheads in need of kin to wake them up. Because they forget it is not their job to do it themselves.
You know what, I am your kin. Why? Because I’m a human being, and I care about other human beings. I know what it’s like to be that tiny percent, a shaving of a fraction of the population that has some freak thing happen to her. And I didn’t bring it upon myself. I was born with a time bomb built into the brain, my control house, so I didn’t have to dangle my legs over a platform or lie across a street. (Or smoke or do drugs. Same difference.)
Do yourself a favor, next time you have some inspiring idea to maybe throw away your life: You were built for health and beautiful physical expressions. Don’t let yourself be your own downfall. You only get one body, so you have to treat it right.
To our well being,