AN AMAZING DEVICE
me about the first time you can remember being thrilled.
1.A I remember going to an old amusement
park in the midwestern United States (Michigan or Illinois or Missouri,
I think) when I was ten or so. There was a rickety old wooden roller coaster
there. We rode the coaster. It wasn't a great ride, but the coaster was
so old and in such disrepair, when we went around the first wide, sweeping
turn after the first jarring drop, we could feel the wooden structure
around us wobble and sway from the weight of the train.
After getting off, we walked away, thrilled
the coaster hadn't fallen apart. The incredible postscript to the story
is that as we went off to seek out other rides, we saw an old roundhouse
with vinyl walls that could be dropped down in inclement weather. Inside
the roundhouse were mules, slowly trudging around in a circle, tied to
a large horizontal wooden wheel. Wondering what the mules were powering,
we followed a slowly moving chain out of the roundhouse and over to the
roller coaster. The mules were powering the main lift of the roller coaster
we had just ridden on!
been your most frightening thrill ever?
2.A My most
frightening thrill ever was when I was a stupid young man and a friend
of mine and I decided to make a dummy out of old clothes stuffed with
newspaper. Then we hid in the bushes and threw the dummy out in front
an oncoming car. The dummy smacked the front of the car with a satisfying
"thump!" and we ran into my house -- literally 30-feet away
from our shenanigans -- and hid, looking out the window to see what would
Needless to say, the driver of the car was apoplectic
with rage. His car still in the street of our busy residential neighborhood,
he charged to the porch of my parent's home, and began banging on the
door and screaming for the "little fucking bastards" inside
to come out.
As stupid as we were to have done this prank in
front of my own house, we weren't stupid enough to have done it with my
parents home. No one answered the door, but the victim stood out on the
porch for what seemed an eternity threatening to kill us. We were terrified,
because we knew with absolute certainty he meant every word.
Of course, that ties with what happened later,
when I was in high school. Attending a high school church camp on the
campus of our church college in Iowa, my buddies and I were playing Dungeons
& Dragons in the dorm we were temporarily occupying. It became dinner
time as a torrential summer rain storm poured down outside. Running across
the quad to get to the cafeteria in as short of a distance as possible,
a strike of lightning hit mere feet away from us as we ran through muddy
grass. Our hair stood on end. Our mouths filled with the taste of ozone.
We looked at each other wild-eyed and continued running to the cafeteria,
screaming our heads off.
the smallest or slightest thing to have thrilled you?
a tough question. Most likely, if I really stop to think about it, it's
getting a "sneak peek" of my wife naked. I've been married to
her for 19 years, but it's still as thrilling today as a high school kid
accidentally seeing into the girl's locker room when the door was open
just right and he was walking past at that exact moment.
me why you're not a sensible person.
4.A Ah, but
I AM a sensible person.
were you doing the last time you were really bored?
Waiting in an airport.
the most uninhibited thing you've ever done?
naked through a public park at 1 a.m.
things have you considered doing for thrill, but were too concerned about
always dreamt about being a paramedic, driving an ambulance and saving
lives; what about you?
8.A I have
always dreamt about being an air traffic controller.
To answer these next 14 questions, you should
think about a particular time you were thrilled.
this thrill in a nutshell, in one sentence. (there's time to expand later)
an amazing device that made you feel you were riding a
skateboard in a half-pipe.
and when did it take place?
In Tokyo about five years ago.
me a bit about yourself around this time.
was working for a large corporation at the time and traveled a lot.
did the moment arise? Was it planned?
12.A The trip
was planned. The visit to the particular location where this device was
located was also planned, but I didn't know anything about the device
and I "discovered" the device.
the sequence of events leading up to your thrill, and how you felt at
each stage. The smallest detail could be important (this is your chance
device was scary to look at. Getting on it and allowing it to swing you
horizontally through the air required a great deal of trust in a machine.
Then, at the apex of the half-pipe, when your body is fully horizontal,
throwing your weight toward the ground in order to do a 180-degree or
360-degree turn on this device required an even greater leap of faith.
the exact moment of thrill, how did your mind and body feel?
thoughts were going through your mind?
I can't believe I'm doing this and not face-planting myself in the diamond
plate down there!"
did you do immediately afterwards?
16.A Do it
were the most likely things that could have put you off going through
17.A Fear the
device was unsafe.
were other people important to your thrill?
18.A They weren't.
I was essentially alone.
do you imagine other people were thinking throughout your thrilling episode?
19.A "Check that guy out. He really
can do that."
people probably don't understand how such a thing can thrill you; could
you explain it to them?
were certain objects or equipment important to your thrill?
21.A It was
a ride device with sophisticated motors and hardware. Without it, I could
not have experienced the moment at all.
Is there anything you want to add?
In taking this interview it dawned
on me that I don't do a lot of things in my life I'd qualify as thrilling.
It made me realize I need to get out and do more.