Thursday, April 1, 2010

How brave are you?

Of course, there are different kinds of bravery and hopefully we are all at least one kind of brave, but think about it generally and ask yourself, how brave are you?  I had that question answered for me one night a few years ago.  I was watching a television show about Aron Ralston, the rock climber who was hiking through a slot canyon in Utah and a huge boulder rolled on him and pinned his right hand between the rock and the wall of the canyon.  He was stuck there for 6 days, with very little water and almost no food, and eventually he had to be brave enough to cut off his hand with his dull pocket knife.

I was watching this and asking myself if I could do it.  Could I really go through with that if it meant saving my life? "Of course!" I answered myself, "and I wouldn't wait six days to do it!"  That's what I was smugly telling myself from my comfy couch when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move.  I thought it was a mouse.  (I'm not afraid of mice.) I looked at it and it wasn't a mouse.  It was a soot covered bat that was slowly and disgustingly crawling on his wings in front of the fire place.  I froze.  I couldn't move.  I couldn't speak.  I tried to call Mitch, but only air was coming out of my mouth.  Finally I was able to squeak out a yell, "HELP!"  The bat heard me and changed his course and started crawling toward me.  I was so scared I don't know how I kept from peeing my pants.  Mitch called down the stairs to see what was wrong, and I was once again rendered speechless because I didn't want to give the bat any more information about where exactly I was sitting.  Mitch ran down the stairs to see what was wrong, saw the bat and said, "Oh geez," like he was somehow disappointed that I was only being stalked by a single (probably rabid) bat and not being attacked by a pack of wolves.

At this point I found my voice and was yelling, "Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Get it!  Please!  Get it!"  I still couldn't move.  I was paralyzed.  Mitch ran back up the stairs and then came back down with a paper plate in each hand.  I had to laugh.  What was he going to do with them?  If he grabbed it with two paper plates, his thumbs would still be inside with the bat.  YUCK!  So he walked toward, me, took off the blanket I was cowering under, threw it over the bat, scooped it up and flung it outside. 

Well, that was humbling.  The show about Aron Ralston was still on and I was ashamed and embarrassed that not five minutes before I was thinking I was brave enough to amputate a limb without six days of agonizing over it.  If Mitch hadn't been there to get the bat, I'm afraid my solution to the bat problem would have been to gather the children and get a hotel room.  I'm not very brave when it comes to bats.

I'm not so smug about how brave I am about cutting off portions of my body anymore.  It would be a hard decision, unless there were bats in the canyon, then I would have chewed my arm off the first night and ran home. 

So, what's the bravest (or most cowardly) thing you've ever done?


  1. Most cowardly was definitely that night when I was living with you and I heard you yell "Aaaaamyyyy!!" from the kitchen and I could TOTALLY tell it was the bug yell. No way in HELL I was going to go in there. So you ran in the living room and told me there was a cockroach in the kitchen and told me to go kill it. I grabbed Sam, jumped up on the couch and said, "I have to take care of the baby!!" There was nothing you could do about that ridiculouslness except go kill the cockroach. HA HA HA!! As soon as you left the room, I stepped off the couch, tucked Sam back into his bouncy seat and continued to watch DQ....MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

  2. My most cowardly moment was when you and Amy were toddlers and Beth was a newborn. We were up at my brother's cabin in Canada and you girls went wading in the water. You came out of the water and from your knees down you were covered with leeches. You came to me crying and screaming and I ran away from you. I yelled for dad and he ran his hands down your calves and got all the leeches off. It was gross! Not a happy moment knowing I would run away from my babies when they were in stress. I think I spent the rest of our time there in the cabin with the baby and let dad do the nature stuff.

  3. One of my most cowardly moments was being chased around the outside of our house by Brian holding a frog.

    I hate frogs.

  4. My mom came to the rescue when we were kids. We had a bat that had entered the house when we were re-insulating the house. There was a huge hole in my bedroom ceiling opening up into the attic. Anyway, the bat found its way down the stairs and started circling our livingroom. Of course, Dad was working nights so we had to fend for ourselves...which meant that Mom called the neighbor, Gilbert Hoppe, and then she grabbed a broom. She strategically struck the bat with the broom and held it down on the floor... Meanwhile, Andy and I stood there watching her. Gilbert drove in the driveway, glanced in the window, and saw us looking down at Mom, thinking that maybe she had fainted due to the bat. He came in and laughed at the sight in the livingroom. They carefully uncovered the bat and Gilbert took it outside by its wingtips and proceded to "take care of it". I have told this story for years to my students, as it is a very good narrative...of course, the ending is always a little more PC...the bat was set free.

  5. Mom!!! Why have we never heard this story before??? SHEESH!!

  6. By far- my bravest moment is telling my husband point blank that I wasn't sure if I loved him enough to stay married. It took really almost 3 years of me mulling it over and figuring out what/how to say it. Now that I have, nothing has changed. So it's acted as a confirmation to me.

    btw- where in Duluth are you? Because I live in Superior, WI!! :) We're neighbors!

  7. Dana McKibbage WaldbilligApril 3, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    When Serra was about 7 she had to have 4 of her baby teeth pulled because the adult teeth were coming in behind them. I went in the room with her to comfort her and hold her hand. About 5 seconds after the needle went into her gums to administer the novocaine, I heard the doctor say, "Wooops, there goes Mom!" and I realized I was lying on the floor. I have never been allowed in the room with her since!
    PS: I LOVE bats. Call me next time :-)


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