As I was lying back on the cot, a river of blood draining from my arm into a plastic bag, I thought about all the questions they had asked me to make sure I was a suitable donor.
Was I a past or present intravenous drug user? Had I engaged in prostitution in the past 12 months? Had I been overly friendly with anyone who had traveled to Equatorial Guinea since 1977?
Then and there I realized I needed to get out more. While others were out putting their lives in danger, I was lying back, relieving myself of a pint of O negative, looking forward to a glass of juice and a cookie.
I remembered reading, as a child, in a Life or Look or Saturday Evening Post magazine about a guy who had, early on, drawn up a list of things he wanted to do in life and places he wanted to go. You know, things such as see the Pyramids and climb Kilimanjaro and go sky-diving and wrestle an alligator. Then he proceeded to check off the list as he went.
After reading that article, I decided to make up my own list of dangerous and exciting adventures I could have in life, but when I tore a sheet from my notebook I got a paper cut, so I wadded up the paper and went outside to play.
Over the years, I have thought about living on the edge, but life got in the way. I did explore jungles and climb mountains and go deep-sea fishing and maneuver swamps in an airboat and so forth, but nothing that carried the weight of "Pyramids," and I never really got to know alligators by their wrestling names.
There were tornadoes and hurricanes and floods and accidents and fires along the way, but nothing to write home about.
I was a member of a Civil Defense rescue unit as a teenager and shot up the woods one night searching for Sasquatch, but, again, nothing spectacular and no wrestling.
I once rode my three-speed bike from the Pacific Ocean to the top of the Continental Divide, but it wasn't as long a trip as it sounds. That was in Central America, where about 50 miles separated the oceans, and the only reason I didn't proceed to the Atlantic was that it was getting near suppertime.
A few times in the line of work, there were guys with guns pointed in my direction who suggested I should leave because they didn't want their stories told, and other people who wanted their stories told but would talk only in secret because there was a price on their head and they were hiding out, and once a sheriff threatened to deck me in front of witnesses at a county commission meeting. Alas, he did not follow through, and so again I have nothing that would look good on a retroactive list.
Any list would have been so restrictive, wouldn't it? I mean, I would never have thought to list, in advance, such experiences as plotting the course of a Soviet submarine that was lurking off the coast, or having Secret Service agents tell me to take my hands out of my pockets right now, or getting banned, for life, from a Chinese restaurant. (I calculated the sub to be somewhere in the downtown shopping district, I was probably the only person near the presidential candidate who didn't have a gun, and the restaurant ban was strange from the get-go.)
No, I never lived by a list, and my life has been pretty dull. So I just give someone a pint of blood every so often and, as I was later told, lose a pound in the process.
At this point in my life, that's exciting.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.