Cliffhanger

Cliffhanger: (n) an ending that leaves the audience in suspense.

I can’t watch the movie.

I’m talking about “Cliffhanger,” with Sylvester Stallone.

There’s one scene that is just not able to be viewed. Suspended on a single rope, Stallone tries to lift a women up to him so that he can take
them both to safety on the edge of the cliff. It goes badly. Her glove slips off and she tumbles–thousands of feet?–to the ground below. The camera follows the face of a very disappointed Stallone.

Not me. I’m wondering what it’s like to fall three thousand feet to your death.

It’s why I could never jump out of an airplane. I would have to convince myself that I’m prepared to die, just in case everything fails. Because the sensation of falling is not one that is acceptable to the human psyche.

Of course, I feel that way about all deaths.

I think the old song, “The Gambler,” says it well. “The best you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”

Of course, that’s kind of creepy, too. You nod off and the next thing you know, well…is nothing you know.

Death truly is the greatest cliffhanger in our human journey. We’re not going to know what it’s really like until we get there, and by the time we get there, it’s much too late to build up the courage and spunk to “do it well.”

Sometimes I think about what the worst deaths would be, as compared to a more tolerable demise. But in the end, you’re either getting smashed or being forbidden air.

Great choice.

We’re all heading for the cliffhanger. Matter of fact, some of you reading this essay are already uncomfortable, wishing I would get to a final sentence and stop talking about this crazy shit.

So I will do…

 

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Brevity

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brevity: (n) shortness of time.

Brevity is not only the soul of wit, it is also the heart of smart.Dictionary B

It is very important that all the sons and daughters of Earth learn at an early age about the dangers of boredom and how little attention span most people can offer.

When I first started traveling, I assumed that my presentations could last an hour-and-a-half. Even though I was careful to keep things interesting, and even surprising, I quickly discovered that with distraction and a bladder, the human being has limited tolerance for sitting patiently and “receiving.”

Matter of fact, I am frightened to the core of coming across repetitive. I look for any sign that I’ve lost the attention of nearby hearers.

I have even stopped in the middle of a sentence–and no one noticed.

I had to giggle inside, realizing that several paragraphs earlier they had obviously bailed out of the conversation (probably without a parachute).

Are there guidelines to help us avoid being overly talkative?

Here’s a clue: tell a part of the story. Leave it dangling on a cliff. See if anybody demands you continue.

Then create another cliffhanger–always providing an open door for the listener to be satisfied … and move on.

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Acrophobia

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAcrophobia: (n.) extreme or irrational fear of heights

It has to be that scene in the movie, Cliffhanger.

THAT particular vision–a woman suspended in mid-air, thousands of feet above the earth, only prevented from falling by a hand extended to her, as the glove on her fingers gradually begins to slip away and you realize she is about to tumble to her death.

If you are able to watch that scene without turning away, you might be free of acrophobia. Matter of fact, it would be an excellent way to diagnose the condition.

That was when I realized that I must be a bit acrophobic. For me, that little piece of the movie was unwatchable. It’s not so much that I’m afraid of falling or even hitting the rocks below. Certainly my body would grant me the mercy of a heart attack before I reached the “stoneful” end. It’s just the idea of having to prepare for my upcoming plummet by pausing for a moment to think about it, terrorizing myself.

I don’t like to stand too near the edge of a cliff. Now, I don’t remember feeling this way as a youngster, even though growing up in Ohio, there were not many a precipice. But somewhere along the line I became leery, and even queasy, about gazing off the edge of some high-mounted place, to the tiny confines below.

I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of whatsoever. I just don’t like to be around people who want to flaunt their “bravery on the edge.” You know what I mean–those folks who stand on one foot on the ledge of a building. Or the guy who walks across the rope over the Grand Canyon, while praying. I’m sure I would be praying, too, but I think I would like to put my supplications to less of a test.

Acrophobia is real. But I do recall, if I am not incorrect, that there are two fears we are born with: the fear of abandonment and a fear of falling.

So maybe those people who DON’T have acrophobia are aliens … and should be taken to Area 51 for further study.