Thursday, December 23, 2010

The "fully used up" fallacy examined

This is a paraphrase of a common statement you hear from "young punks" in extreme sports like snowboarding, rock climbing, kegging, etc.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming-WOW! What a Ride!

Let's compare that to driving into a gas station at 2 AM arriving on fumes. How often does that work out for you? "Next services 96 miles" said the sign. You check, and about 1/4 tank, which is about 4 gallons, at 24 miles per gallon equals 96 miles. Sure, let's go for it. We should probably try to get there ASAP, so let's go 120 mph the whole way. Yeah.

The problem is that a lot of people who live like that hit Empty at around age 35 and realize "Oh, Crap! I'm only about half way there. Now what?". Maybe that's why a lot of these "extreme athletes" are pro-socialized-medicine. ;)

While I've totally ridden that life-and-death edge a number of times, I also feel the effects every day of accumulated injuries that I probably would have taken better and proper care of had I realized I would live this long.

So my advice is go ahead and live by the above creed, but do yourself a favor and plan your timing right. If you plan to die all used up, then plan to die when you're all used up. Just my two cents.