How I learned.

I guess you want to know how I found out. That’s all anybody ever really asks about? When did you find out? What happened the first time you figured it out?  Well, if I’m going to answer that, I’m going to have to go back pretty far. I mean, if I don’t start at near the beginning, you’ll never believe how I went nearly twenty-five years without knowing about it.

My mom was over protective. A helicopter parent always hovering over me to make sure I didn’t hurt myself. You know those experiments wher they put babies on tables with glass to create a false ledge? My mom would have considered that too dangerous for me. While most other kids learned to walk with a few bruises, I was the only one who had to run around in a wheeled walker with a crash helmet on.

It only got worse as I got older. My swingset was the only one on the block with seatbelts. I could forget about any sort of team sport as well. Football, basketball and hockey were all hooligan’s sports where the other players would pulverize me before murdering me and dumping me unceremoniously in an unmarked grave. Even bowling was considered too dangerous, at least, until the age of twelve, when my father intervened to allow me to go to a classmates birthday party at a bowling alley.

Up until high school, when my teachers started actively complaining about it at the parent-teacher conferences, she would even go so far as to prefold all of the edges of any paper I might possibly be handling that she could access. Just in case I might somehow receive a papercut.  These were the extremes that my doting mother took to protect her only child from the world.

So it’s not surprise that growing up in this kind of environment I became very risk averse. Normal kids would run around in the snow throwing snowballs at each other in the winter. I was the only kid convinced that another child would hide a razor blade within a snow ball before throwing it at me. When I went to college, I took bed safety rails with me just to make sure I wouldn’t fall out of bed in the middle of the night and break a bone. Whenever I handled scissors for anything I would wear cutproof gloves.

I was so paranoid about being harmed that I would walk an extra 5 miles out of my way to avoid previous locations of violent altercations between drunk students on the belief that I might be accosted despite it being daylight and all the students in the area during the day being mostly sober. I would throw out perishable foods the week before they would potentially go bad just to avoid getting food poisioning.

Like I said, completely risk averse. I made friends, despite the stupidity of my avoidances. And finally, on my twenty-fifth birthday they convinced me to go out to a Japanese grill. They convinced me that it was completely safe. Showed me statistics that no one had ever died or been injured at the one we were going to. So we were sitting at the grill. It was really fun watching the onion volcano. Then he started with the fancy knife work. The chef coming to the grill behind him accidentally bumped into him.  The knife went flying from our chefs hand right at my face.

It bounced off. And that’s how I learned I was invincible.

Apropos of: Nothing in particular


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