Tag Archives: standing outside the fire

Standing In The Fire

Finding inspiration from my co-author’s entertaining (and true) post about dancing at weddings, I decided that living life to the fullest means frequently and fervently overcoming the army of tiny fears that populates the mundane.  Perhaps a wedding reception isn’t mundane, but the United States holds over 2 million marriages a year, so they’re certainly not rare.  At the very least, the average person can know with statistical certainty that they’ll have to make the decision to dance, or not.  When put under a microscope, the decision seems easy (you dance, duh), but how many times do people have to make this same fear-slaying decision with other stupid things like fashion, conversation, or even facial hair?

I went to the well (this metaphorical well is also called Google) to find a significant, artistic work that explained these everyday, fear-crushing rationalizations. there were three finalists:

  1. “All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.” – William Faulkner;  OK, obviously an awesome quote, but I feel like I need to think about it for a minimum of 3 months before I understand it.  And I’m pretty sure it isn’t applicable (kind of sure).
  2. Every rap song or tweet that said “#YOLO”
  3. The Garth Brooks song “Standing Outside the Fire.” Bingo; what feels like a risky music video concept (which says more about me than the video) totally works.
So there it was, completely decided.  The chorus of “Standing Outside the Fire” now plays like an anthem of courage anytime I’m about to do something above my comfort thresholds.  What follows is a list of times I hear that anthem:
  • Any dancing more complicated than “grinding”
  • Soberly meeting any girl that is a legitimate 9
  • Wearing a deep V-neck t-shirt
  • Conversations involving my knowledge gaps (including but not limited to politicians, black culture, world geography, and young women’s fiction)
  • Changing a baby’s diaper
  • Walking into the boss’s office with an “attack plan”
  • Any fall further than 12 feet into a body of water
  • Any fall into a body of water shallower than 3 feet
  • Shaving in a handlebar mustache for casual Friday
  • Insulting Barack Obama on Twitter
  • Paintball
  • Fast-pitch anything
  • Not freaking out while a bee/wasp/horsefly is nearby
  • Wearing my 12-year-old corduroy cargo pants
  • Karaoke (especially if I’m the Sheryl Crow part in “Picture”)
  • Contributing an opinion to a department-wide meeting
  • Trying to correctly use the word “eponymous”
This list could probably run forever, but I’m cutting it off.  I start to hear Garth warming up when I’m around 500 words on an blog post.  That’s the ugly side of courage, actually.  If one isn’t doing something important while feeling the need for bravery, there’s a good chance that it’s just stupid.