New Castle News

Lisa Madras

February 13, 2012

Lisa Madras: What will you risk to create a special memory?

NEW CASTLE — What potential memories am I bartering, and is the profit worth the price?

In the late 1980s, CBS tried somewhat unsuccessfully to revive the “Twilight Zone” television series from the 1960s. As an early-onset nerd, I had teethed myself on the syndication of this show, and couldn't wait for the new series.

Unfortunately, it tanked, but not before two seasons of new mind-bending stories.

One of these was "The Mind of Simon Foster." Simon lived in a time of great financial strife, and eventually made the mistake of selling his memories in order to make ends meet. The end result, of course, was disastrous, with Simon becoming a sort of hodge-podge mess of his own and others' memories. And then, the eerie voice-over at the end of the episode: "Simon Foster, a patchwork collection of lost dreams held together by the stolen memories of strangers. A man who discovered that we truly are the sum of our parts."

Obviously, selling our memories is not an option, and therefore not a problem. But we can barter our POTENTIAL memories, and when we do, we're cutting a deal that's frighteningly similar to Simon's.

How many times in your life have you done one of these three things?

1. Chosen social acceptance over over your heart's desire.

2. Chosen financial gain over ethics.

3. Chosen your comfort zone over the adventure you were born to experience.

It could be any one of those things, or any combination. Maybe all three. I'm not too proud to admit that I've fallen into every one of those categories at one time or another. I wonder how many memories I haven't created because of those choices, and how many sums of my whole are missing because of it.

The most noticeable for me is the third. I've never had a real problem going against the social norm (just ask anyone whose been brave enough to go out in public with me!), nor do I tend to throw off my moral compass, especially for money. But choosing my comfort zone over the potential for amazing adventures? Guilty as charged.

I can't even begin to count the excuses I have for living the life of a speed bump. (Not the zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds with 19-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels of an Audi R8 Spyder, mind you. The speed bump. Dead in the middle of the road. Speed. Bump.)

•"I don't have the money."

•"I don't have the time."

•"That kind of thing is for OTHER people."

•"I don't have anyone to go with me."

•"I probably couldn't do that."

It all adds up to one basic cop-out: "It's just easier not to."

The adventurer in me (when not being quashed into silence with a bag of potato chips and a re-run of an old chick flick) says, "To heck with easy! Go for it! Just do it! (Insert popular sports drink/shoe slogan here)!”

Someday, when our bodies have given out, and all we have left are our memories, what stories will we tell? Will we tell our children and grandchildren that we WOULD have gone (skydiving/hiking/cross-country troll hunting) but we didn't because it was just easier not to? Or that we worked for the company that leaked toxic fluids into our city's water supply because the pay was great? Or that we would have been a rock star, but were too embarrassed to dress like Lady Gaga and act like Ozzy Osbourne?

God, I hope not. Security is pretty much a superstition anyhow, and if I'm going to chase a dream, I'd like it to be a big one. No. A HUGE one.  

Taking risks may cause you to lose your balance momentarily. So what? Not taking them may cause you to lose yourself permanently. 

Just like Simon Foster.

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