Damp

Damp: (adj) slightly wet; moist:

To avoid landing in uncomfortable situations, one must be willing to listen to counsel and follow it without trying it out for oneself.

Yet all of us—and I mean all of us—have some sort of ingrained streak that requires we touch the hot stove before we’re convinced it burns.

Otherwise, you arrive at age thirty-one, standing in front of your small child, saying, “Don’t touch the hot stove”—to which the child questions, “Why??”

And for a moment, you find yourself stalled, having no personal experience—just anecdotal evidence.

But mostly, though, we are just bratty and defiant.

When I was a younger fellow, just about ten years old, we went swimming at the lake. From the lake, we were going to go swimming at the local pool. I don’t know why both events were chosen for the same day, because I wasn’t in charge. After the pool swimming, we planned on going to Dairy Queen to have a good old-fashioned American dinner of grease, fat, sugar and unknown preservatives.

After the last swim, all the children were told by the counselors to go into the bathroom and change out of their swimming suits into their street clothes before we had our supper.

I decided not to.

I chose to wear my damp swimsuit during the entire encounter at Dairy Queen.

Here’s what I learned:

Although a swimming suit may not be uncomfortable as you sit on a bench, having just left the pool, after an hour or so of having it cling to your skin, you discover some shocking realities.

It stinks.

All during our little dining experience, people kept saying, “Can you still smell the pool? I can. That’s weird.”

I just kept praying no one would notice I was still in trunks.

The odor was a mixture of an elementary school’s nurse closet, blended with the budding body odor of a ten-year-old fat boy.

It wasn’t overwhelming—but there were moments it threatened to sting the eyes.

On top of that, the two blocks we had to walk to get to our car and the block-and-a-half we strolled from our car to Dairy Queen made me chafe due to the damp swimsuit.

It was kind of itchy, kind of sore and very unpleasant.

And finally—and most importantly—having something damp down near your pee-pee hole makes you think you should be pee-peeing all the time.

So I spent a lot of time wiggling, or excusing myself to go to the bathroom, only to discover that it was a false alarm induced by my damn damp suit.

I share this with you today because there are reasons that traditions have come to be—like not touching the stove and changing out of your wet swimwear.

There may be others.

It’s always a good idea to consider that some rules may actually be there to protect us against ourselves instead of punishing us for being free thinkers.

Brake

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Brake: (n) a device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle

Oblivion is the condition we find ourselves in just prior to the tragedy we refer to as “an accident.”

This was my situation many years ago when I was driving through the Sierra Mountains in California, completely enraptured in the scenery and infatuated with a gorgeous waterfall.Dictionary B

I had a car with a trailer attached to it. There’s nothing particularly unusual about that. But when you pull such a trailer, you require additional brakes placed on the rear, so that when you want to stop, it helps you instead of mocking you.

So having ascended a high peak, it was time to come down the other side. I remember thinking to myself, how fun this will be–just placing the car in neutral and coasting down the side of the cliff.

The immediate problem was that the trailer I was hauling was actually heavier than the car I was driving. As I was coasting down the mountain, I noticed I was picking up a little too much speed.

I tried to slow down by hitting the brakes. I quickly discovered that my brakes were no longer willing to brake.There was too much weight from the rear.

Faster and faster I careened, descending the precipice.

To my left were rock formations and to my right was the end of the road and a really big fall. Straight ahead were twisty roads which promised to send me into the rocks or over the edge.

I kept pumping the brakes, hoping they would at least consider a bit of grace to cover my stupidity.

To this day, short of divine intervention, I do not know how I finally got that trailer to slow down so I could pull off and stop.

There was a horrible smell of burnt rubber–and pee-pee in my pants.

Ever since then I have been a great believer in brakes, especially when they’re well taken care of … and you don’t ask them to move mountains.

 

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