I just love Robert Louis Stevenson–love him.
Check this out. I’m reading through his David Balfour, itself the sequel to Kidnapped. (Kidnapped is far superior, so start there.)
Here’s a scene in DB. The young Davie is trying to decide whether to move in for a forbidden kiss with a lass as he departed her company. (This scene takes a moment, but stick with it. It is so worth it. I’m especially talking to you Nazi-handbook-reading feminists and all the letting-you-drive men you’ve enchanted recently.)
The day came round at last when she and I were to separate. We had been extremely intimate and familiar; I was much in her debt; and what way we were to part was a thing that put me from my sleep, like the vails I was to give to the domestic servants. I knew she considered me too backward, and rather desired to rise in her opinion on that head. Besides which, after so much affection shown and (I believe) felt upon both sides, it would have looked cold-like to be anyways stiff. Accordingly, I got my courage up and my words ready, and the last chance we were like to be alone, asked pretty boldly to be allowed to salute her in farewell.
“You forget yourself strangely, Mr. Balfour,” said she. “I cannot call to mind that I had given you any right to presume on our acquaintancy.”
I stood before her like a stopped clock, and knew not what to think, far less to say, when of a sudden she cast her arms about my neck and kissed me with the best will in the world.
“You inimitable bairn!” she cried. “Did you think that I would let us part like strangers? Because I can never keep my gravity at you five minutes on end, you must not dream I do not love you very well; I am all love and laughter, every time I cast an eye on you! And now I will give you an advice to conclude your education, which you will have need of before its very long. Never ask women-folk. They’re bound to answer ‘No’; God never made the lass that could resist the temptation. It’s supposed by divines to be the curse of Eve; because she did not say it when the devil offered her the apple, her daughters can say nothing else.”
Curse of Eve. Ha. Sounds about right. (Ms. magazine subscribers, you better be smiling at this point.)
Now, for something from yesterday, check out this NPR news story quote.
At Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., psychology teacher Sarah Soileau wants her class to consider some of the questions raised by the #MeToo movement — questions like verbal consent.
“What did we learn?” says student Marcus Bright, 17. “Each base. Each base. First base. Second base. Third base. Each base, I’m asking.”
“That is a good rule to live by,” Soileau says. “Each base you better ask, all right?”
As for me, I’m sticking with Stevenson.
So, to all the single ladies, “Wuh, uh, oh-” -Watch out! Big ol’ smoochie, smooch attempts are headed your way!
Transmitted through my helmet’s CEP’s, the phrase “tail’s hit” will forever be connected to the word “fear” for me.
Immediately I wondered whether my formation lead’s pilot meant that the tail of his helicopter was hit or that his tail gunner–the human–was hit.
And immediately I began to scan the monochromatic green terrain one hundred feet below for shooters.
And immediately I was overwhelmed with the reality that they could be anywhere and if they weren’t presently firing, I would likely not notice them.
And at the occurrence of that precise thought I became afraid.
I felt fear for the first time in my life.
Eventually, in a matter of seconds I mean, it was clear that the tail gunner was the victim of the “hit” and our direct action mission was aborted in favor of flying him to the nearest ‘cash.’ (Combat Support Hospital.) He lived.
But me? I was incapacitated for a little bit and I had an overwhelming desire to cry. Let me repeat that first part: I was incapacitated for a little bit. Luckily, I was the inexperienced co-pilot at the time.
Years later, I was the instructor pilot on a night sortie at the schoolhouse, and one of our other Huey’s had stopped checking in with HUB–or on any other radio or frequency we all tried. (That usually means the crew had crashed.) Soon after, my student was on the controls and hover taxiing to hot refuel at Andalusia. He was all over the sky, as they say. Too high, over-correcting to too low. So as my aircraft commander did for me in Iraq, I took the controls without comment. The student was clearly going through the realization that his friends might be dead–that we might later die on the job–and he didn’t need any more input. (They lived.)
Dr. Ford (et al): Stay terrified–it lets me know that you’re not a leader, that you’re not worth following.
Or you could apologize for lying. Or you could forgive.
But I can’t/won’t/don’t want to join you in your fear. I’d be trading in every ounce and moment and piece of hard-earned experience I have for nothing–no reason, no action, no sound, no light, no nothing–for darkness. In other words, I’d be exchanging it all for fear.
And I am not afraid.