In my life I have been frightened to some degree many times, and for many different reasons.
|Fear exudes from this terrifying object of torture|
I remember being frightened by a large dog when I was playing on a playground roundabout, and having my foot jammed down a hole in the wooden deck. Being barked at by a large dog (it was a miniature poodle. I was 3½ years old at the time, OK?) while undergoing extreme pain from my foot being doubled back on my ankle was not a happy experience, and I've been a bit apprehensive of roundabouts ever since. I lost my fear of poodles when I was in my late 40s. Scotsmen are tough.
|An obvious vicious killer|
I remember being frightened, standing on a knife-edge ridge on a mountain in the Lake District with a 300 -1000 foot drop on either side, in heavy snow, with a strong wind blowing, rapidly edging towards a full-blown gale, and asking for help from my team leader (I was about 15 at the time, and on a school trip (Christian Group) (Before I learned better). I really wasn't that frightened until I heard the group leader telling is to kneel down and pray for:
- Directions (The stupid bastard wasn't talking about spiritual guidance, the stupid f*cking bastard had dropped his compass some miles back and was totally lost)
I got scared then.
|I wanted one of these|
|one of these|
I was frightened when 2 US Army soldiers pointed their M16s at me and cocked them when I stepped over the "death line" at a US/German missile base during a visit arranged by the British Army (I was an army cadet) in the 60s. I didn't know the anti-aircraft missiles we were being shown had 20 KT nuclear warheads. The US soldiers were authorised to shoot if anyone unauthorised approached within 6 feet. I needed a new pair of trousers after that little episode. I also learned to listen carefully to instructions given to me by armed men, a very useful and life-saving skill I believe.
|DON'T TOUCH or you die.|
I was really frightened when I was trying the pre-pre-para assault course in Scotland. I had to successfully complete the thing to have a chance for selection onto the full pre-para course, which might have led to the admission to the Parachute Regiment of the British Army. I failed. Not because of fear, but because of ineptitude.
I was standing on a railway sleeper mounted on some iron beams about 15 feet (5 metres) above the ground and my orders were to jump across a 3-5 foot gap to another railway sleeper set at an angle to, and a foot lower, than the one I was standing (and quaking) on. Eventually I summoned enough courage, squeezed my eyes shut and jumped. I missed the other sleeper by a sizable margin (not surprising I missed. I did say I had my eyes closed. Mistake.) and ended up crashing to the ground 15 feet below. An army medic got me breathing again within a few minutes. (There's always a medic on hand during these courses, as injuries were fairly commonplace)
The supervising Major did comment.
He said "Well done, you conquered your fear." "That's what we like to see"
The he followed this with " Unfortunately we also like to see at least a modicum of common sense, agility and the merest hint of a survivors instinct"
"When you can walk again please do so".
(sotto voce) "Take your time dear chap, there's only another 48 chaps waiting for you to get out of the f*cking way"
The British Army is nothing but charm, manners and sheer bloody-mindedness.
But I was really frightened standing on that bloody railway sleeper 15 foot in the air, and waiting to jump.
Continued tomorrow, IF I gain sufficient courage, or whisky. Same thing really.
There is a point to all this. All will be revealed in due course.