Grab the future with both hands, unless it's electrified

Nury Vittachi

A spiritual friend gave me some advice last week: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

So now I have to work out how to become a giant killer robot and inspire other guys to take the same journey.

My idea is that if men are occupied fighting tournaments encased in Gundam-style robot gear, the whole masculine aggression thing will be channeled into a healthy sport, and women can get on with running the planet. Everybody's happy.

Humans MUST actively shape our futures -- and the first item in my mailbox that day contained a perfect example.

A householder got fed up with motorists driving dangerously fast in his district, I read in a news link forwarded by reader Sunita Chou. Authorities in the US city of Cleveland, Ohio, ignored his complaints. So the man dressed up as a road-worker and spent the day installing more than 20 official-looking speed limit signs in the area, becoming a hero to his fellow citizens.

This columnist pinged regular contributors to see if there were examples from elsewhere.

A barber in Chiang Mai in Thailand started opening for business on Wednesdays, despite a superstition that hairdressers stay shut on that day. Furious protestors said he'd bring a curse on the community. But he'd discovered that the practice had nothing to do with ancient tradition or luck. Some barbers had at one time got into the habit of reserving one day a week for haircuts for members of royalty -- a practice no longer needed.

Talking of Thailand, one of my neighbours bought a Siamese cat, so I said "sawatdee khrap" (hello) but it just sat there, baffled. Should I tell my neighbour it's almost definitely an imposter?

But back to our topic. The most shocking example of a man grabbing his destiny was a news item from New Zealand, forwarded by a colleague.

Doctors told a man named John Griffin that his heart was beating in an irregular rhythm and he would have to get on a waiting list for electrical treatment to jolt it back to steady beats. So he went home, strolled over to his neighbour's high voltage electrified security fence and touched it. ZAP! Electricity surged through his body - and fixed his heart problem. Doctors were horrified.

The moral of this story? The Universe has a wacky sense of humour and will sometimes reward people who do stupid, dangerous things.

This is extremely important for the male sex, as we seem to have evolved to do that stuff.

How come? I asked a university scientist friend and he said that evolution in the long run doesn't make mistakes, so guys are meant to be extreme risk-takers.

He also told me that a risk study at Nanjing University last year revealed why guys treat the eating of spicy food as a competitive sport. Researchers gave volunteers a test to measure their appetite for risk. Then they gave half the group spicy food and repeated the test. The chili-chompers had become risk-takers.

Note: Readers, keep curry-eating males in your family away from electrified fences. Unless they have climbed inside giant robots, as all right-thinking men should.

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)

--IANS

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