Look at this happy couple smiling for the camera that records their folly. The woman is balancing on a rolled railing, her center of gravity perilously supported by this young man who does not look malicious in anyway, but his joy suggests he is not truly aware that his lady love is a mere 2-lb. push away from a 15-foot drop down a sheer cement wall to the canal floor, a fall that will be cushioned by 10-inches of water and a bed of baseball-sized stones.
I almost write: What idiots! But then I remember all the stupid things I did as a youth, things that were just as dangerous and yet did not appear so at the time to my inexperienced mind.
Even now, decades later, some memories float back to me recast in the light of a whole whack of information on innocent missteps gone horribly wrong – memories that make me gasp, slow down, think twice, turn back.*
I’ve seen this young couple since, embracing on a bench where the greatest danger is an 18″ fall on a floor of weeds, cigarette butts and dog poo. It is a yukkier prospect, fecal-matter-wise, but one from which they could race back home on their non-spinal-injured responsive legs.
*The truth is I still do stupid things sometimes, although none that involve perching over a steep drop.