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Double, no triple, dare

The Country Curmudgeon

All hail the daredevil! All except me. I am on to their game. They are the laziest people on the face of this earth. They would rather die, literally, than actually go to work every day.

The Evel Knievels of this world are willing to take a really big risk in order to collect a big paycheck. The plan is that they don’t have to go to work all that often. If they are only horribly injured, they still collect because the mob loves a spectacle. If they just plain don’t make it, they still get paid. Well, their estate gets paid, actually.

Aeroplane pilots in World War I were considered to be daredevils. Many of them were soldiers who did not want to be just another piece of grit on the sandpaper.

A few decided that charging through mud, bullets and artillery shells did not seem smart, so they opted for a situation where they could have some control over their own destiny with a stiff drink and a dry bed at the end of the workday. If they could survive training, which involved learning to land without killing yourself, and the first few weeks of combat in the air, their chances for survival improved.

Survival brought experience and increased skill levels, which allowed them to pick off the other guy’s new pilots. The more successful were rewarded with the newest planes with superior performance.

The fly in the ointment was that if you forgot to look behind you, any neophyte could give you a bad day, and often did.

u u u

The trick to being a commercially successful daredevil is to find something to dare that people will pay to see. It would seem that jumping over things with vehicles is a marketable skill.

Driving around an oval at insane speeds with other cars cheek by jowl until somebody wrecks something is also popular, especially if someone catches fire. The folks watching from home like it when a car, or part of a car, goes right into the stands among the spectators. The spectators, not so much. Doesn’t matter. They already paid for their tickets.

Toreadors fit in here somewhere. Bullfighting gives the spectator a choice. They can root for the bull. Rodeo clowns somehow do not fit, although they pretty much take similar risks and without killing anything. This does not seem fair.

Here’s a thought: I could be a daredevil manager. I would help think up the stunts while staying well out of the way, just so as not to steal the spotlight from the star. I would take a percentage. Whatever happens, I get paid and can actually spend my earnings. I knew there was a place for me.

Now accepting applications.

Bill Abrams resides, and takes as few risks as possible, in Pine Plains.