“Humor is the most engaging cowardice.” Robert Frost
Sometimes I’m a coward.
Ok…So I am a lot.
From an early age the only way I could combat my cowardice was with humor. I didn’t know I was being humorous, but it seems to work.
One of my favorite movies is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The classic lines that come from that movie still resound with me today. Especially the scene where the Black Knight attempting to show his bravery in a duel, loses his limbs. When he loses his first arm he responds simply with….
“It’s just a flesh wound.”
He goes on to lose all his limbs and still goes down fighting……
“Ok… we’ll call it a draw then!”
Even in the heat of battle, he was able to keep his quick wit and senseless humor.
I am a lot like the Black Knight. There are days I get myself in situations that take everyone of my limbs (ummmm….figuratively not for real). I am faced with scenarios where I am terrified out of my mind and being brave….well being brave makes me look ridiculous.
For example….. this past weekend I found myself hiking up a 5 mile stretch of trail that is not well traveled. The brush had taken over in many places making it VERY difficult to see where you were stepping. PERFECT breeding ground for snakes, ticks, oh did I say SNAKES???????
For a moment I felt like I was in the jungles of Vietnam instead of the peaceful and serene Great Smoky Mountains. I was totally waiting for Sly Stallone to come out as Rambo.
As I was slapping my way through the brush of weeds, thorns, and stinging nettle (If you don’t know what stinging nettle is…Google it. IT SUCKS!), I was scared of my mind. The last thing I wanted was for Mr. Copperhead or Mr. Timber Rattler to be upset with me because I disrupted his peaceful afternoon nap. As I was being stunk by the nettle, and slashing my way up the mountain I started acting like John Rambo….
“To survive a war….you gotta become a war!”
“Don’t push it! Don’t push it or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe!”
This probably wouldn’t seem as strange or humorous, but I wasn’t just saying it in my head. I was actually taking my trekking poles and slashing though the madness as I repeated the lines….out loud.
VERY loudly in fact.
I was 6 miles from my car..in a remote area from the park and I hadn’t seen a soul for hours. Who was going to hear me????
A bear? A hog? A snake?
So imagine my shock and surprise when out of the blue I hear a voice shout back…
“Live for nothing or die for something!”
Hearing that come from somewhere behind me in the woods….well let’s just say I almost wet my little hiker girl pants.
What I had failed to realize was this is a popular trail for horseback riders. In my fear, anxiety, business re-enacting Rambo I had not heard the couple riding up behind me on horseback.
“So, do you normally act like you are John Rambo when you are out hiking?” the man said from his horse as he stopped behind me.
“Only when I want to teach this freaking brush whose boss.” I replied quickly. “Stick around and you’ll see my Rocky impression when I FINALLY get through this crap and to the top! I’m a huge Stallone fan.”
Now mortified, I quickly jumped out of the way so they could pass me up.
“I like you,” the husband said as he went by first on his horse. “You know the classics will get you through.”
As they faded into sight. I waited for a few minutes. I didn’t want to catch up.
“So happy they don’t know who I am so they can’t say my name when they tell that story to their friends and family tonight. I can hear it now……
“Y’all ain’t gonna believe what we saw some chick doing today……”
About 3 minutes later I hear a voice from over head…..
“Hey Sly….you’ve made it to the top! We’re waiting to see you finish!”
I humbly and meekly walked up the rest of the way to the open intersection where the man and wife where now off their horses waiting on my triumphant arrival. I could not let them be disappointed… so I did the only thing I know to do when I am scared… I became another Sly character.
As I run up the few feet to the top, the man and wife started humming the Rocky theme and cheering me on. We had a good laugh and some good conversation. I was so happy they were good sports, because I was in a pretty dim spot.
The purpose of my story is this…..
From time to time we are going to be in situations where we are scared and we may lose our minds a little. Danger, darkness, and disaster seem inevitable. We have two choices…. we can sit down and cry, kicking and screaming a little along the way.
We can be like the Black Knight….staying upright to our best ability and still being all sassy…. SCREAMING at our fears.
I think I’ll chose the later. Sometimes you just have to make fun out of your fears and realize….it ain’t all bad…..
It’s just a flesh wound!