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  Caption to left reads: "Jonathan Scott, 3, of Hamilton began to think of Christmas eve while he watched this model train at the toy department of a city store."
  <your background>

Before proceeding, I must first define “thrill”. You carefully avoid this on your web site... perhaps the project will yield a definition. So my definition is required to put my response in context.

I define a thrill as this: “A sudden feeling of intense excitement, usually giving pleasure, causing enrapture or at least singular concentration, possibly causing trembling or quivering, often accompanied by certain cardiac and physiological abnormalities, often followed by a warm post-thrill ramp-down or afterglow.”

(Definition of enrapture: Overwhelming emotional effect that is entrancing to the exclusion of inferior stimuli.)

So required: Suddenness, excitement evidenced by adrenaline-style reaction, total concentration, pleasure.

Frequent indicators: Trembling, physiological disturbance, enrapture, afterglow.

1.Q Tell me about the first time you remember being thrilled.
1.A This is very hard, because I can infer events occurring earlier than ones I can remember. I know I feel brief but unquestionable thrills when I view a beautiful toy at eye level, for example a model steam train viewed at a moment of fantasy, and I have the photograph of myself from the newspaper, Christmas 1959, and I vividly recall being given a steam train as a present when I was three; that Christmas store event must have been thrilling. I have still the ability to “relive” that thrill.
2.Q What’s the slightest thing to have thrilled you?
2.A The thrill when a toy fills my imagination and triggers an enrapturing fantasy. It worried my parents when this happened, as a young boy I apparently used to unconsciously shake my fingers behind my back, they thought I was on the verge of a fit of some kind.
3.Q What’s the most frightening yet thrilling thing you’ve done?
3.A Climbed the Sydney harbor bridge, illegally, on a windy night, carrying a complete camera bag. Accidentally: Raced and lost control of a car.
4.Q Tell me why you’re not completely sensible.
4.A Impossible, as I am completely sensible. I am quite sure my risks have been worth the payoff. I have been described as “the most sane person alive”, not sane as in boring (I hope), but sane as in calculating, unflappable, level-headed. I never let go when it is not in my interest to do so.
5.Q What’s the most uninhibited thing you’ve ever done?

I have been skinny dipping, in private and public, had sex in the middle of a dinner party (out of view), but the hardest was this: I was an undergraduate student in an institution where a student ritual was to throw people into a turtle pond, especially on their birthday. During a formal academic dinner the invited speaker, a new professor of psychology, confessed that it was his birthday.

Four of the chief pranksters (three male including me, one female) got up in the middle of the speech, bodily picked up the professor from in front of the microphone and row of dignitaries, carried him out, and threw him in the pond. This seemed to bring the house down, but... he returned, dripping and weed-covered, and resumed his speech, concluding “if the department I am taking over had rituals like this, it would not be in so much trouble”. That brought the house down.

6.Q What have you considered doing for pleasure but were too concerned about the risks?
6.A There are lots of drugs I have not tried, for example I have avoided LSD because of the risk of permanent psychological (brain) damage, others from the risk of contamination for the same sort of reasons.


  <your thrill>
7.Q Describe the event in one sentence (there’s time to expand later)
7.A I will go with ponding the professor above, as it is described already.
8.Q Tell me a bit about yourself around this time.
8.A I was a not-quite-penniless, 22-year-old, final-year undergraduate student in an “ivy-league” university, and a resident in a nominally-Methodist, on-campus residential college.
9.Q List the sequence of events leading up to your thrill. Try to remember how you felt at each stage. The smallest detail could be important (this is your chance to expand).
9.A The opportunity arose, and it was clear we had only 60 to 120 seconds to decide if we would do it, and it had to be all four of us or none. With hindsight I failed to fully appreciate the risks as would be my usual custom. I was preoccupied with the opportunity to push the dare envelope. I encouraged the others with lines like “I will if you will”, “I’ll go first”. I recall the looks of alarm, then anticipation, then grins, wild eyes flashing, audience gasp.
10.Q What were your thoughts and feelings at the precise moment of thrill?
10.A At the moment of execution? I cannot remember, I assume mechanical execution of the tasks required to do the thing, nothing worth remembering. When we returned to the hall was perhaps the true moment of truth... then I felt heat, elation, anticipation of the crown response, a big ego-burst I suppose, then the usual nor-adrenalin shakes and discovering that you are wet with sweat. (I have never been skydiving, but I guess that the leap takes courage and mechanical care, but is not memorable... it would be the fall, blowing the chute, the magnificent view, feeling of freedom... I had the equivalents of those.)
11.Q What did you do afterwards?
11.A I returned to my seat, relaxed my body and accelerated my mind, watching the psychosocial ripples moving out from the event, talked with my conspirators. I was reveling in the interaction of many persons.
12.Q What were the risks?
12.A Hmm, expulsion from the college I suppose, various disciplinary fracas has the pondee responded in an aggressive way, the chance that people would physically try and stop us. With hindsight I totally failed to feel invincible!! Must have looked as if I felt that.
13.Q What did you imagine other people thought of you during and after the event?
13.A Brave, crazy, wild, daring.
14.Q How often do you think about the event, and why?
14.A I guess I am reminded of it by something about once every couple of years. I confess that I have thoroughly enjoyed reliving it in this interview. Almost an adrenaline rush.
15.Q Some people probably don’t understand how such a thing can thrill you; explain it to them.
15.A I was being watched by 200 students and 25 members of the Senior Common Room. I was making a mark. I was doing something risky, whose outcome would be fascinating, capable of filling the senses (for as long as possible!).
16.Q What three changes could have made the experience better, and why?
16.A I can’t really think of any changes that might have been in my power for this particular event. I failed to take the opportunity to make a friend of the professor who was obviously brilliant material? Photographs or similar record would have allowed the event to be relived more easily.
  Is there anything you want to add?

I have never had the connections or resources to get into any of decent club that might cater to people who are willing to do thrilling things. This disappoints me. Thrills for me are not solitary events like skydiving, but events that push the norms, best done with conspirators. Give me a hook here...!

Read more about Jonathans

  Read more of Jonathan's personal thrills on his site here
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what do you find thrilling?