I’ve been pondering this section of Another Roadside Attraction enough to commit the page number to memory for reference. Considering I don’t memorize numbers easily (or for fun), that means… something… right?
“You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked? Have you ever risked disapproval? Have you ever risked economic security? Have you ever risked a belief? I see nothing particularly courageous in risking one’s life. So you lose it, you go to your hero’s heaven and everything is milk and honey ’til the end of time. Right? You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences. That’s not courage. Real courage is risking something you have to keep on living with, real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one’s clichés.”Amanda speaking to an FBI agent in Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins, page 251
Now, I’m not saying each word of what a fictional character from a book published in 1971 represents every thought in my head or that I completely agree with everything the young lady was saying. That would be as silly in a way that isn’t all that fun or beneficial. However, it does get the thinker thinking and wringing some interesting thoughts out of the ol’ grey matter sponge.
What am I truly risking in this life that shows love to other people? What are my clichés in the first place? How many of them apply to myself and how many to other people? What am I not doing because there’s a fear of having to live with it?
What’s tough about something like this is that it brings up more questions than it ever answers. Which is fine. I’m a curious boy who doesn’t need everything to tie up into a nice, neat bow.
What I appreciate about it is the challenge. Because accepting that challenge helps to slap me out of my normal inward-facing life and become aware of what’s around me. The world becomes a more vivid place. And I happen to think that’s worth the risk.