Fearless Fantasies – How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?

If I could not feel fear, I’d most likely be dead of doing something stupid and dangerous.

Just as pain warns our bodies that something is wrong, fear warns our brains to be cautious. Excessive or unreasoning fear can cripple us, make us unable to do anything at all. Phobias can eliminate some activities entirely.


If you are terrified of heights, sky-diving and mountain climbing are likely to be non-starters. If you are scared to death of insects, forget that jungle exploration trip down the Amazon!

But normal fear based on a sensible understanding of a situation keeps us from doing dumb stuff. From climbing that rickety ladder, from diving off the cliff into the rocky, shallow water below.

I think, in the context of my life, I have done many things other’s would have thought dangerous, but which weren’t. They may have been totally stupid and wrong-headed, but not dangerous.

I can’t think of anything I would have done (that I wanted to do) but rejected because of fear. I pretty much did what I wanted. Mostly, it worked out okay.

The stuff that didn’t work out?

Fear wasn’t the issue. It was poor judgment, usually of person or people. Nothing to do with danger and everything to do with street smarts.




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We were over at the dam yesterday. Didn’t take any pictures there, but I’m pleased to report there is a bit more water following our 4th of July rains. The dam is still dry, but the lake has filled up to … Continue reading


It’s almost fetishistic the way we over-value prettiness. Over the years, I’ve watched relationships — mine and those of friends — as they wax and wane. I was about as unpopular through most of my public school days any anyone could be, yet I had my share of dates and attention. Often from “popular” guys. Mass Broadcasters 12

I didn’t do much to get attention because I didn’t know how. I failed flirting but knew how to have a conversation. I could talk about books, ideas, history. Feelings.

In college I was moderately popular, but never the most popular. There were always women for whom the local lads were more swoony than they were for me.

The most popular woman were never traditionally pretty. Instead, they were friendly. Kind. Funny. Ready to lend a sympathetic ear, or laugh at a joke. It turned out these human qualities were more important to young swains than whether or not a young woman met some ideal of beauty.

Through the years, I’ve watched men break off with flashy women in favor of less well-favored women who they wished to court. And vice versa. The handsomest guys may have been highly sought-after for dates, but when it came to real relationships, other characteristics were more important.

It seems sensible people may date for beauty, but become involved and marry for other reasons. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. In the course of years, some men have called me beautiful while others thought I looked like a stump. I’m neither. That’s the point.

I will close with an anecdote. Garry and I were not yet married, spending the weekend — as usual — on the Vineyard. At the house Garry shared with a bunch of other single guys, all of whom worked in Boston television.

That weekend, someone had brought a guest, a gorgeous young weather person from one of the Boston stations. Smashing figure, skin like cream, and face to match. Garry made a sour face every time he looked at her, which puzzled me. I didn’t expect him to slobber over her, but he usually appreciated beauty just because. Then I realized none of the guys was paying her any particular attention.

“Why don’t you like her?” I asked. “And why does no one else seem to like her either?”

“She used to work at the station,” he said.


“She made messes. The rest of us had to clean up after her.”

“But she’s stunning,” I pointed out.

“Pretty is as pretty does,” he said. And that was that.

No matter what anyone says, real life is less about how you look and more about who you are. Because pretty is as pretty does.