Fear, Courage and Paul Hogan

Published on Sunday, April 4th, 1999

I Reckon most people’s notion of “courage” is a little simplistic.
 Paul HoganI saw an interview with Paul Hogan once, where he was asked about his famous hero episode. Apparently, back before he was famous, when he was a rigger on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, he became a bit of a local celebrity by leaning off the Bridge and with one hand rescuing some fellow who’d half-heartedly decided to commit suicide. I was too young to remember it at the time. The interviewer commented (like many before her) that it must have taken an awful amount of courage to dangle by one arm four hundred feet above the harbour. Paul said that it took no courage at all, and that anyone in his position would have done exactly the same thing. His questioner looked more than a little sceptical at this, and said that she doubted if she would have had the courage to do it. Paul’s reply stuck in my mind. He said that it doesn’t take any courage if you don’t have any fear. He worked the bridge for a living, scampering around up there like a monkey ten hours a day. He’d gotten used to it, of course, and had no fear at all about helping the poor bastard down. If she or someone else off the street had done the same thing, then they would have indeed been a hero, but not him. It was for him, quite literally, nothing special.
And he’s right, of course. Courage is about conquering fear, not about doing unusual things. You and I, for example, would think nothing of going down to the park for a picnic. But an agoraphobic would need a tremendous amount of courage to do exactly the same thing. One who has no fear, no fear at all, cannot possibly be courageous (furthermore, they’re probably an imbecile).
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You know what I hate?

Published on Saturday, April 3rd, 1999

I reckon people who don’t walk down escalators should be taken out and shot.
You know, those people who just stand there and let the thing carry them down to the next floor. I don’t like it and I don’t even understand it. If you think about it, it doesn’t make any sense at all. People who do it, when asked why, would probably say, “Oh, well I’m just having a bit of a rest, and I’m not in that much of a hurry.” Fine. Splendid. But why do you decide to have your rest on the escalator? If you’re not in a hurry, why not just stop in the middle of the footpath and stand there for 30 seconds staring aimlessly into space? It amounts to the same thing. You still get where you’re going, just not as quickly, and you still get your rest. Why do you decide to stop in the one place in the entire shopping mall/department store/etc where it is most difficult to overtake you? Standing still on the up escalators I can partially understand. I mean, we wouldn’t want to actually get any exercisewhen we’re out on our Saturday morning shop, now would we? We wouldn’t want to speed up our shopping, avoid pissing off the people lined up behind us and get a free workout, all at the same time. Heaven forbid. These are the same people who will spend $400 on an annual gym membership so that they can walk on a Stair-Master for an hour a day. In my book, you’re only allowed to stand still on the down escalator if you’ve got a pram, a donkey or a refrigerator, or are 78 years old with an arthritic hip. The rest of you, and you know who you are, stand single-file to one side or prepare to enjoy the domino effect as I rugby-tackle the lot of you to the ground floor.
OK. Consider yourselves told.

Bloody Insurance Companies

Published on Friday, April 2nd, 1999

I reckon this is a more than a pet hate – more of a huge, wild, ravening, man-eating velociraptor hate: Insurance companies. Most of my friends will have already heard my spiel about why I avoid taking out insurance unless there’s some unusual circumstances, but the rest of you might find it a little bizarre to know that I spent exorbitant amounts of money buying and doing up a VW Kombi van, which is my most prized possession, and then adamantly refused to insure it. “But what if you have an accident?” If I had a dollar for all the times I’ve been asked that question, I could afford to have all the accidents I want. It’s actually a very relevant question, especially in the light of the fact that recently I did indeed have an accident, and it cost me all of $10,000. On the face of it, I’m an idiot.
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The Guru and the Grown-Up

Published on Monday, October 10th, 1994

I reckon these old writings deserve a place here…
A few years ago, before “Conversations with God” came out, and even before I’d heard of the Socratic Dialogues, I penned this little philosophical essay on God and the Nature of the Universe – written in dialog form to make it (hopefully) a little more readable and entertaining.
It’s a long one – 20 pages or so. I wrote it back in 1994 (I think), and my ideas have evolved a little since then, but there are bits of it I reckon are still meaningful. It’s on one of my other websites: http://www.virtualcreations.com.au/trip/dialog1.html