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


Carola said...

Daredeviling was never for me. I rode the Tornado roller coaster at Coney Island once, and never again. And I never did the parachute jump. I love riding in helicopters, though. That's not daredeviling, it's like being a dragonfly.

Anonymous said...

Haven't been on a roller coaster lately because of my heart but I can remember the thrill! Life can sometimes be like a roller coaster and you have to learn to buckle up, hang on, laugh, and scream alot! Lol! Also, be sure and catch that Kodak moment with your mouth wide open and arms up in the air!
kam Kathleen Ann McGee

Linda Phillips said...

WOW!!! What a first date!!! Can we assume that JC also parachuted as well? You are one brave lady!

When I was a little kid my greatest pleasure was to ride in the FIRST car (all alone) on the Roller Coaster. Okay it wasn't the huge ones like you mean. I think it was called Fairy Land and it was in Queens,NY. Not only did I ride once, but I would ask my father to let me stay on for MANY more rides. I loved it!

Today, there isn't enough money in the world that could get me on one of those rides.

Yes I also loved the Ferris Wheel as well...but the Roller Coaster was my thrill of choice.

How great it is to be a child and to be so fearless! What happens to us in life that we often become so much more fearful of certain things? Yet actually in some ways become a lot more fearless in other ways?

I guess it has to do with experience and knowledge. I now know that those rides can be (though not as a rule) dangerous, for one thing.

Anonymous said...

Work that calls for swift response, unknown outcome of your intervention can give you a 'rush' of adrenaline. There are some individuals that perform best when the pressure is on and they're doing what they've been trained to do and do it well. The adrenaline 'rush' keeps them sharp in doing the task at hand, but it can have a rebound effect on the body. I define,'Dare devil', as someone who is an extreme risk taker, not necessarily trained or having any control of outcome. They usually are seeking attention or a high from taking chances without skill/or training seems a bit self-serving. Just my opinion on the topic. xxxxooo H.