Friday, May 15, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #15: Play It Safe

RISK: Play It Safe

"Luck is everything... My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I'm fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn't make a good suspense film." —Alfred Hitchcock

“I never thought much of the courage of a lion tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from people.”—George Bernard Shaw

"I'm a hero with coward's legs"
—Spike Milligan

This will be the last entry under the Fool Think category of Risk, and because fools balance contradictions, their biggest risk is playing it safe.

RIPPO the Fool is ready to risk. RIPPO has on safety goggles, a surgical mask, a suit of armor, a parachute, an iPhone, a bow and arrow, and a lucky four-leaf clover. RIPPO dives into the swimming pool, and would have drowned, but fortunately, there is no water in the pool.

If you believe you are safe, you'll have a strong base to take risks from. Even if that safety is illusory.

In the Hansom Cabman, Harry Langdon, caught with another woman by his fiancée and her mother, hands his mother-in-law to-be a pistol and tells her to shoot him in the chest. Her daughter takes her away, and then Harry reveals he had a metal tray under his shirt. The mother comes back and Harry struggles to get the tray back in place, then runs, getting shot in the rear. He was prepared, though, with a tray in his pants as well.

And in Grandma's Boy, Harold Lloyd (like Dumbo and his feather) needs an imaginary charm to overcome his fears and save the day.

Some fools may be cowards towards conventional dangers, but brave enough to take other avenues of risk that mere heroes may envy (see the Hitchcock quote above).

Think: How can I play it safe? How can I protect myself? How can I give myself a false sense of security?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #16: Imagine the Impossibilities

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