I grew up as a typical kid with the typical sense of invincibility. The thought that I could actually die or get injured, doing whatever stupid thing I was doing at the time, never crossed my mind as legitimate fears.
I still vividly remember a time when I was only 12-years-old or so. I was out at Scout camp with many of the boys in my troop. All of us had left camp in the morning without telling any of the leaders where we were going, which was something that we often did, and we headed up to a nearby mountain to test our skills at rock climbing.
Most of us took paths that let us climb medium-sized rocks up the cliff face. Outside of the random trip or slip, the climbing was fairly danger-free. As we reached the halfway point on the cliff face, which was about 150 feet above the ground, one of my friends decided to climb sideways across a steep, flat-faced section that was about 50-feet wide. The only foot holding was a half-inch crack that ran along the face of the cliff and my friend scurried across, clinging to it as he made his way to the other side.
When my friend arrived on the other side of the cliff, he shouted for me to join him. Hesitantly using that small half inch crack, I made my way out onto the middle of the cliff face. I got halfway across the cliff when panic and fear set in. I began looking down the cliff realizing that if I fell, I probably wouldn’t live through the fall. In that moment, as fear began to take hold and I started to wonder if I would ever get off that cliff, a thought shot through my head. It told me that even if I fell, I couldn’t get hurt. Kids just don’t get hurt doing things like this! And with that jolt of confidence, I made it to the other side.
That was my typical attitude growing up and it carried me through the first few years of college and all through my Mormon mission. That confidence of indestructibility, however, seemed to have abandoned me when my knee quickly fell apart for the second time shortly after I was married. At least, I thought that confidence had completely abandoned me, but some recent local events have caused me to question whether that’s entirely true.
A few towns away from where I practice, a lawyer was shot by an opposing party while he was in his own garage. On the same day that the lawyer was shot, one of my bosses watched as a frustrated opposing party drove across his front. Then a few weeks later, another older and well-known attorney who works in the same town as me and who I have had several cases against, was threatened as well. The wife of a disgruntled individual called the police in a panic to tell them that her husband had a gun and he was on his way to kill the older attorney. The police locked down the attorney’s office until they were able to locate and arrest the disgruntled individual.
All of these events have caused my bosses to get a bit panic-stricken about somebody walking into our office and just going nuts with a gun. It seems to be happening more and more often now. In fear, they installed a sophisticated security system in the office complete with panic buttons and the works.
In my opinion the events that caused my bosses to get a bit jumpy were serious, but I thought the fear my bosses were showing was… well. Over the top and a bit laughable, truth be told. After all, if a person actually came into our office and went nuts, he couldn’t actually hurt anyone. That just doesn’t happen. And that’s exactly how I explained the whole thing to my wife while my family was having dinner and I had no idea that Addie was paying close attention to the whole story.
Casey told me to hush up and she pointed to Addie. Addie’s face had almost gone white and she was scared. She was almost in tears and I was completely clueless that my story would have that kind of affect on her. And I think that laughing about the danger only made things worse, because Addie knew that I wasn’t taking any of it seriously. That’s when it hit me that I’m not invincible. Bad things do happen and I need to be more sensitive with the topic. And a lot more careful about discussing the dangers related to my job when my daughters are around.
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