1. Grabbing the Bull by the Balls
I was in my 20's and we were on vacation near Indiana. And we had stopped the rental car for some reason.
My Dad and stepmother had walked away from the car for a long while. I stepped out of the car, and looked and saw a bull over the other side of the fence.
I was daring enough to sit on the fence there anyway, although I kept cautiously looking to see if the bull was making any movements.
Then I noticed some country folk over to my right, also near the fence.
One of them gave me an insulting look.
"Think you're a hotshot? Try grabbing a bull by the balls!"
So, I said, sure!
I poked the bull's balls, and when it started to turn, I quickly jumped over the fence.
(Which was a low fence, and I now noticed, not very sturdy.)
The people had cleared out, but I shouted after them that "I bet you wouldn't have the guts to pull the bull's balls either."
I was just rounding the other side of the car, when I heard a dull cracking noise.
The bull had broken the fence!
I was terrified, but I got into the car.
Just then my Dad and stepmother got back. I didn't see what happened, but my Dad said, stay in the car.
Then we drove to the rental agency.
He said, 'Lynn is in the hospital.'
Then he asked the guy at the counter "Can we collect on insurance on this one."
And then he said, like he wouldn't usually say because he is an atheist and says he doesn't even believe in Calculus although he teaches college:
"I think it was an act of God."
Then the guy at the counter said, "No, we collect all the insurance."
Then my Dad gave a soul-rending look, and the next thing I knew I was awake in bed, and only about 10 years old.
My Dad was reading a story.
So, what is the lesson, he said?
"I don't know" I said.
"The lesson," he said, "is that you're glad to be alive."
Then he shut the book, and I never learned which book it was.
I decided at that moment I could invent perpetual motion, because I was the one who had grabbed a bull by the balls and time-travelled to prove it.
2. The Ship of Terror
I was in my twenties.
We were at a carnival, and for some reason my younger brother the genius was not there. As we passed a ship-of-terror ride, I became more and more obsessed with the idea that I wanted to go on that ride.
"Well, okay" my Dad finally said. "But you'll regret it!"
So, we got on the ride. The ship was not moving. Dad handed over the tickets, which suddenly seemed like leases on life.
Then the ship began to swing, first slowly, then far more quickly.
"I think I need to get off!" I said.
"Then there's only one option, take off your seatbelt!" he said.
But then I realized I hadn't put my seatbelt on to begin with.
I clinged to my Dad as I began to fall through mid-air.
After what seemed like seconds, I landed on my shoulder kind of hard. I (or my father) had 'timed' it perfectly! I had not broken my neck.
I kept low for as long as I could, glad to be alive, although not even sure I really WAS alive.
Then the ship seemed to disappear.
I got up, and walked over to the edge of the carnival-style fence partitions, like you see around celebrities.
There was my Dad.
"Whew! I'm glad to see you alive!", he said. The wind was knocked out of him.
It was just like a scene from a video game in which the hero emerges from total danger.
I told myself I had only escaped alive because I fell off.
The strange thing to me was that my Dad survived.
International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture » Ethics and Aesthetics of Architecture and the Environment