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Small Talk: No guts, no problem

I love interesting, curious people. I try to surround myself with them, read their books and listen raptly as they spin the tales of their discoveries and adventures. The best part is that I never envy them.

There is nary a daring bone in my body or thrill-seeking cell in my cerebrum. I may be slapdash, sometimes spontaneous and I can even claim enthusiastic. I will never, however, be happy with heights and my curiosity is easily satisfied.

The sun comes up and goes down. It’s magic. That’s sufficient. I was fascinated when I found out why, but I would have been content to go through life just knowing it happens, because I saw it happen.

Although I regularly wish that I could be Queen of Everything, I cannot deny that if my particular personality had been in charge over the ages, life would be considerably more bland.

A good example is the artichoke. Hungry or not, I would have strolled right by that ugly, prickly thing and never have imagined that if you trimmed off the thorns, steamed it and then were satisfied to nibble just the very end off of every leaf, you would enjoy a tasty side dish.

If I had somehow managed to get that far, it’s unlikely I would have bothered laboriously scraping off the choke to get to the delicious heart.

I would never, ever have picked, much less cooked with something that makes my tongue sting, my mouth burn and my eyes water. Salsa would not be the same. The idea of snitching honey while the bees are still using it would never have dawned on me.

If I had been the head of the think tank back when, Las Vegas would still be a dark spot in the desert. The idea of risking what you have struggled for on the slim chance of getting more is way too scary for me.

Well, OK. I played the slots at the Reno airport, but only until I started to lose. My faint heart would leave the county fair missing a midway and the big attraction at Magic Mountain would be the bluegrass music festival. 

Because I never would have set sail in some tiny wooden boat, we would still be landlubbers. Don’t talk to me about madness such as clinging to a basket beneath a balloon or trying to get off the ground with wings.

Heaven forfend we should consider jumping out of the air, on purpose, in order to fall back to the ground, even with a large chute or stretchy cord attached. We might huff and puff up some steep foothills, but climb that sheer cliff? Don’t be silly.

You all go right ahead, though, and continue lives of exploration and risk. I’m really quite interested to hear about it afterward. Truth is, I’d really miss those artichokes.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who usually takes the low road. Contact her at [email protected].