Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Have you been on a roller coaster recently? Have you seen them lately?

Remember -- OH WOW -- OH JOY-- your heart beating in your throat -- wishing. praying it would be over before the cars started to move?

That coaster in the photo -- it's 12 heavenly horrible seconds, falling at a 121 degree angle. Obviously, it's one of the greatest, most marvelous, most scary, sickening, terrifying, dangerous amusements that you can love, live through, and brag about.

Is it better, more WOW than bungee jumping? Better than soaring? Is pursuit of the thrill why Houdini did what he did? .And whatshis name -- (had to Google him) -- David Blaine, 38-year- old magician? He submerged himself in a chunk of ice in New York City's Times Square, and almost died, broke the records by holding his breath for 17 minutes 4½ seconds.

Did Blaine get what he was after -- fame, notoriety, wealth? He was gravely ill for quite a while afterward, but since then, he's done other incredibly dangerous ventures. He's doing what boxers, football players, and other sports super-heroes do -- committing themselves to winning, even if it permanently damages their bodies, and shortens their lives.

But heading for the park, enduring the roller coaster won't make you famous or rich. Is it the thrill of the thrill? The fun of scare-yourself-to-death fun? Is that what we get from a roller coaster?

Someone on Yahoo.com said, "I always will try to get on a roller coaster as soon as I enter the park. Its torture, but as you get off the ride, you feel so vibrant and alive!"

Howard Belkin, psychiatrist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, said the reason is rooted in a deep psychological need to conquer something. The release of adrenalin and dopamine makes one's heart rush, a rush that many get addicted to."

Belkin also said that the roller coaster is a version of being tossed in the air by your dad. "If you like it, you will scream with joy. If you don't, well, you may throw something up yourself."

Ph.D. John Elliot, a doctor/professor with stupendous education credits, currently provides performance consultation and training to business executives, professional athletes, and corporations, nationwide. Clients have included Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Adidas, NASA, the United States Olympic Committee, The Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and hundreds of elite individual performers.

(Part of me is very impressed by where he studied, that client list, and curious about his philosophy -- the other part of me is instinctively, immediately "hmm," and skeptical.)

In his best seller, "Overachievment: The New Science of Working Less to Accomplish More," Elliot said, "You are innately designed to use your personal power. When you don’t, you experience a sense of helplessness, paralysis, and depression — which is your clue that something is not working as it could. You, like all of us, deserve everything that is wonderful and exciting in life. And those feelings emerge only when you get in touch with your powerful self."

Susan Jeffers' bestseller summarizes her philosophy in the title: "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway."

Gee, should I be heading for an amusement park? I don't feel helpless, paralyzed or depressed.

I jumped from the horrendously scary parachute drop at Coney Island on my very first date with John Cullum. Yep, I really did. I wanted to show him how bold and brave and fearless I was.

My powerful self isn't quite as powerful as it used to be, but hey, Cullum is in my life. I am not going to do any roller-coastering ever again.

Watching this scary life-threatening venture is fun enough for me.
Daredevil jumps from mountain in Antarctica

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