Off limits

th8KMEDM4IMy first duty station following graduation from boot camp was the USCG Air Station located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Upon arrival I was hustled into a small classroom along with several other spanky new Seaman Apprentices where we were addressed by the station’s Master-at-Arms. The MA informed us that, among other things, there were certain businesses in nearby Honolulu that were strictly off limits to all Coast Guard personnel. He even provided us a list with the names and addresses of these verboten establishments. This was great. Without that list it would have taken us weeks to find all those places.

People love to go to Las Vegas for vacation. It would seem that this destination preference may often be due to the presumption that one can do things in Las Vegas than one cannot do elsewhere without, say, ending up in jail. Thus, the allure of that city’s catchphrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” I suspect, however, there are some who will discover that they have jails in Las Vegas, same as anywhere. One may end up staying longer than anticipated.

There will always be the allure of the forbidden, I suppose. This might include not only places but also activities. How many kids are attracted to drugs or cigarettes because they were told to stay away from them? Half the exhilaration of participating in a tryst is the fact that it is, well, a tryst. Sneaking behind the barn for a nip of hooch is more fun than sipping it out on the front porch. Flirting with your neighbor’s wife/husband? Very naughty, ay?

All of these activities are dangerous in one way or another. Others, though, are simply stupid. Dangerous: getting drunk on a Florida golf course and then wading into the alligator/moccasin-infested water hazard to retrieve a two-dollar ball; stupid: cordless bungee jumping.

It would appear that the more we are told we cannot have something, the more we want it. It’s just human nature, I guess. People who have straight hair get perms; people with curly hair get straighteners. Parents (at least us older ones…) hate to see their kids get tattoos. Virtually all kids get tattoos, it seems.

Speaking from personal experience, though, I find that the allure of some of those things I may have desired when I was younger has ebbed with time. When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted a motorcycle. Well, that wasn’t going to happen. My parents were dead-set against it (too dangerous) and I didn’t have the money anyway. Now, I could actually afford to buy one if I wanted to (although, I would probably make a point not to tell Mom about it if she were still with us). But the desire has long flown the coop—back then, all I could think about was the freedom of zooming down the highway with the wind blowing in my hair. But when I think of a Harley now, all that comes to mind are the loan payments, the insurance costs, and trying to find someplace to park the danged thing.

These are all signs of getting old, I guess. So, if there is a moral to this story, I suppose it would be that people should pursue the stuff they want when they want it, maybe even if they are not supposed to have it, as long as they are prepared to suffer the consequences. Get it while the getting is good.

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2 comments

    ‘Stolen sweets are always better’. Don’t remember who said it or where I heard it but your testimony supports this very notion. In addition to which I’d add that the only thing worse than NOT getting everything you’ve ever wanted is getting it. What’s left then?
    I, too, wanted a motorcycle when I was young and actually did get one. I did clever things like passing cars on the ‘white line’ while cars were coming at me. Stupid? You bet! I’d still like to have another though. It’s not the insurance or payments that stop me but the notion of laying in a hospital bed and having to pee in a pan because I can’t stand on only one leg. I would definitely opt for one of those two-wheeled, upright Segways though. They don’t go as fast and, because of the gyros, you can’t tip them over. In addition, having driven one once, you smile just as much as you would on a motorcycle but don’t get nearly as many bugs stuck in your teeth in the process!
    Well said as usual Skip!

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