Friday, April 11, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Fearless - 4/13/08

The prompt "fearless" immediately brought two names to my weary mind, neither of which were Myrtle Beached Whale. I am the polar opposite of fearless. I am afraid of spiders, snakes, clowns, mimes, heights, women with tattoos, badgers, poop, any word ending in noma, dentists, meteorites, herpes, and shopping.

The first person that personifies fearless to me is General Chuck Yeager. In World War II, by the age of 22, he had shot down 11 German aircraft and had been shot down himself over France. He evaded capture, found his way back to England and flew more combat missions.

He actually had to bail out of an aircraft on two separate occasions.

That would be quite enough flying for most pilots. Not for Chuck, though. He became a test pilot after the war.

What a test pilot essentially does is attempt to fly an aircraft that no one really knows for sure will actually fly. Theoretically, it is supposed to fly. So was the Spruce Goose.

He was the first man to break the sound barrier. He was a test pilot for 13 years, during which he flew 330 different aircraft and flew faster and higher than any pilot had ever flown. He then flew combat missions in Viet Nam. He retired from the Air Force in 1975, after 34 years. Now for the amazing part: In 2007, at the age of 84, when most people are driving 45 on the Interstate, indicating an intention to turn left for 30 miles, and eating dinner at 4 PM, General Yeager piloted an Air Force F-16 through the sound barrier. This was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first time he did it.

This is a truly fearless man. I had the pleasure of meeting him some years ago.

The other person that immediately came to mind was the late Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. Here is Steve Irwin in a nutshell: (Imagine an Australian accent. I am doing one now in my head): “Look at this beauty. This is the most deadly poisonous snake in the world. I am going to tease him until he is forced to bite me in the face.

Then I am going to ride this 15-foot croc down the river so I can better observe his death roll.“

Since his untimely death there have been several poor imitations of him, but there will only ever be one Crocodile Hunter.

He honestly did love those deadly reptiles. With all the amazing adventures he had, it is ironic that he would be killed by one of the most docile creatures in the sea.

Many who read this will call both of these individuals not fearless, but crazy. I agree. I don’t think any rational person can be totally fearless. Oh yeah, almost forgot. I am also afraid of bees and fire ants.


Redheels said...

LOL... for a big man you seem to be afraid of many things.
I shouldn't be judging you. When my daughter was 2 years old, I had her killing spiders for me. Now of course she is deadly afraid of any spider.
I always enjoy your posts.

Jan said...

You have almost the exact same fears that I do. I can better think of things I'm NOT afraid of.

I'm not afraid of lizards, some snakes (small ones), frogs, and most aliens.

To add to yours - I'm afraid to drive fast, to drive on highways, to sleep in the dark, to go to any country where they don't speak Engish as a native language. I'm afraid of bridges, heights, scorpions, crickets, palmetto bugs, and strobe lights. (too much LSD in my youth).

Anyway, thanks for letting me know I'm not the only scaredy-cat in Myrtle Beach...:-)

GreenishLady said...

I come across all brave in my own post, but no, I would not handle a snake or a croc, not ever, not even for the great bonus of overcoming a fear. Not even a little snake. Not even a non-poisonous one. Not even a dead one. Ok. I am a scaredy cat.

That final photo is absolutely amazing!

Lucy said...

Wow, that was so interesting. I didn't know that much about Chuck (mostly chuck chuck Bo buck)
What an amazing man! Where did you meet him?
(I hope he wasn't dressed up like a clown.)
I'm happy you mentioned poor steve irwin, It broke my heart when he was killed and I thought all the jokes so soon afterwards were heartless.
great fearless post. :))

Granny Smith said...

I think of Chuck Yaeger as fearless when he exceeded the sound barrier for the first time ever. That made him a true pioneer. For that I admire him.

I can't say the same for Steve Irwin. I like and respect many of the animals he man-handled, but I think he was foolhardy - and yes - crazy!

It's a good post, involving a lot of research. I don't personally have a lot of fears. I'm afraid of spiders, global warming, Alzheimer's, and not much except for ANYTHING happening to those I love.

myrtle beached whale said...

Steve Irwin was amazing. No one loved and cared for animals like he did. The animal world of Australia will miss him greatly.

I am less afraid of global warming than I am nutbags like Al Gore.

gautami tripathy said...

I hate lizards. Cockroaches and spiders are ok for me!

shapely ghosts

keith hillman said...

What an interesting piece. Two totally different people , equally feerless in their own way

Inland Empire Girl said...

Two good choices... I am like you about fears. I could never even watch Steve Irwin.

Tammy said...

I can't get past that last picture. LOL Chuck!

Greyscale Territory said...

Once again, your posting is both informative and entertaining!

Totally appreciated your reference to Steve Irwin! (I am from Australia!) He is a legend!


Patois said...

I do agree that to be that fearless there must be at least some craziness as well.

Anonymous said...

Amazing creativity.
Your writing bravado is
unparalleled. Let's go pro.
Miss Rose