Gather around and learn from Matt. He has encountered these everyday events and can help you avoid a grisly demise. Grow from his wisdom and if you see him – slap him in the face for referring to himself in the 3rd person.
What’s on tap for today? How about 3 lessons I’ve learned (the hard way) to cheat death. Or, rather, to save my own stupid ass from certain doom. Without further ado – 3 bits of advice to save yer sorry ass.
#1: You are not as good of a swimmer as you think you are
Or: respect the damn ocean!
As we age, we also lose some of our physical prowess. For men, this fact often goes unnoticed until we tear an Achilles, bust a knee or drown in the friggin ocean.
I was raised near water (we had a pool… not that I used it often). My wife also thinks she’s part fish. So, we were both dumb asses last year when we thought we could free swim from a deep-ish section of North Carolina ocean to a sandbank. After all – it didn’t look too far away.
Well, in the ocean, objects are always farther than they appear. We were caught in a nasty current and separated. I quickly realized the only progress I was making was downward and outward. Panic knocked at my door as I thought about my kids growing-up without their parents. Luckily, I had enough gas in the old tank to reach shore, but just barely. My wife needed to be saved by some boogie-boarders, as she just kept moving farther and farther from shore.
Why didn’t I save her? Well (and I hope she makes the same decision the next time we forget our brains), I decided there was no way I could help her without some sort of lifesaving device and I reasoned our kids would be happier with at least 1 parent, rather than 0. Heroic? The stuff of legends? Yeah, not exactly. I’m a practical man.
So, what did we learn? Respect the ocean. Don’t free swim unless you are part Costner. Matt will abandon yer ass to save his own.
#2: Don’t drive like a maniac
As an “average” person, the most dangerous activity we do is driving our motorized vehicles. Do I need to repeat that to make it more real for you?
Chances are, nothing you will ever do will be more dangerous than driving your car.
So, why make it even more deadly by speeding?
“But Matt, I can drive just fine 25% over the speed limit!”
Oh, I didn’t know you had Jedi reflexes, my bad.
Actually, this is something I need to heed as well. I drive far too fast for no good reason. I always tell my wife: “the world will still spin without us.” Is anything really that important that I must risk my family’s lives (and everyone else’s on the road) by zipping at 10-15 mph over the limit? How much time will I really save? Is it even dangerous to speed? Well, let’s do some math!
(warning – it has been many years and many doses of radiation to the head since Matt has done math)
Assuming a speed limit of 55mph and a 30 mile commute to work, you will reach work in ~33 minutes without traffic. If you average 70mph for that same commute, you will arrive in ~26 minutes. You will save 7 minutes each day. However, you are traveling ~27% faster at 70mph than 55mph. Being a gamer, I know I’d never let my Agility/Dexterity be constantly reduced by 27%. In 2nd edition D&D, that’s the difference between a 18 and a 13. Fuck that shit.
Seriously – life as you know it will continue its mesmerizing dance without you for 7 minutes. Play it safe. Don’t be a douchebag on the highway.
3: When choking, don’t panic
I happen to choke on almost a daily basis. Solid food needs saliva to go down the old pipe, and my mouth ain’t as moist as it used to be on account of lethal doses of head radiation. While my case is likely different than 99.9% of y’all, this is still solid advice from someone who spends a good deal of time choking on everything.
With enough water, I can get anything down. But if I panic, even the smallest morsel of food can feel like major blockage. You see, when you panic you breathe differently and start to gasp. Well, I do at least (I never said I was a doctor). If you can somehow keep yer cool while trying to dislodge a foreign object, I believe you have a much better chance of surviving the ordeal.
Shit – this advice is applicable for #1 and #2 as well. When trying to stay afloat in a roiling ocean, panic could be your worst enemy as you expend precious energy to freak-out. Also, when slipping on ice/water because you were driving too fast, your best ally at that point is a cool head to bring things back under control.
Dizam – there you have it! Don’t panic, don’t be a douche and don’t disregard mother nature. Mayhaps you will live a little longer.