Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

Re: Best “You are calm in a crisis”

Re: Best “You are calm in a crisis”2011-01-14T04:21:06+00:00

The Forums Forums Most X-treme! Other Best "You are calm in a crisis" Re: Best “You are calm in a crisis”


Post count: 14413

These are great stories. And it’s such a high when, for once, one is in the position of being the only one doing the right (even the extraordinarily right) thing instead of doing the boneheadedly stupid thing!

When I was 18, my family vacationed on the Florida coast. I was thrilled by the ocean and spent a lot of time on the nearby beach, in the “safe” swimming area marked off with floats.

I’d grown up on the shores of Lake Erie, which is big enough to develop some powerful undertow; like other kids, I’d learned to swim with the current and angle off, instead of exhausting myself by swimming against it.

Now, “rip tide” is the name of a strong current that runs parallel to the shore. It doesn’t just carry you away from where you left your blanket and picnic basket on the beach — it’s dangerous because it often meets up with a rip tide running the other way, whereupon BOTH currents make a right angle and carry anything caught in the current directly out to sea!

Again, one deals with a rip tide by swimming with it, angling gradually out from the shore until you’re in calmer water, and then circling back to where you want to be. So on an overcast day when the beach was relatively empty, I found myself within this strong current running along the shoreline, but wasn’t at all concerned: (a) I knew how to deal with it; and (b) all the current was going to do was to fetch me up against the buoy line anyway, which it did. (Sorry for all the description; the logistics of this were a little complex.)

So there I was relaxing, the buoyed rope across my midriff, enjoying the jacuzzi-ish feel of the current running past me, when I thought I saw a flash of blue in the green-grey water. (I thought of my mother’s paranoid fear of barracuda, then told myself not to be silly.) Then another. Then somebody seemed to run what felt like a razorblade down the length of my leg.

I looked around and found myself in a whole colony of blue jellyfish — Portuguese men-o’-war — that were caught in the current and running past me, stinging as they went. The only way to ensure that I got quickly to shore was to move hand-over-hand along the buoy line . . . which by now was wrapped in uncountable tendrils of stingers from the jellyfish caught upon it.

Afterwards I recovered well enough, though I’d been stung everywhere, especially across my midriff. (At the time, nobody knew about pee relieving the stings, but I’d’ve had no problem asking people to provide some for me! :) My palms got the worst of it; six weeks later, the skin there was still red, and itched and tingled.

Everyone seemed surprised that I hadn’t panicked, and was “brave” enough to endure the pain of hauling myself into shore under those conditions. But why would I let go of the rope, when that would have let myself get swept out to sea within a raft of stinging jellyfish? That would have been just stupid!!

When we ADDers find ourselves cornered and in danger, I suspect it’s the rush of adrenaline that suddenly puts our brains into clear, crisp, “Do the best thing and do it right” mode — what a nice change from “Now, what was it I was doing? Seems to me it was important…”!

If we are indeed the remnants of the “hunter” sector of our hunting-and-gathering past, I can see how useful that would be: “Hmm, a leopard has decided to attack me. I think I’ll brace my spear against this rock and let the darn thing impale itself. Yup, there it goes. What a nice pelt I’ll have to bring back to the family!”

Just another day in the Paleozoic. =)