Walking the Tightrope

So many times my red-haired wife will come home and tell me about news stories she’s read or heard, and I’m always surprised. I don’t read news sites. I don’t watch TV, so I never see the news there. I don’t believe in newspapers. I mean, I’ve seen evidence of them before, but I just really don’t believe in them. Too much like bigfoot. A lot of hearsay and no real proof. And I really don’t listen to any news-bearing stations on the radio. So I guess you could suffice it to say that I don’t really keep up with current events.

I was sitting on the couch today, getting ready for my mid-afternoon nap when I suddenly had the urge to turn on the ole telly. I have one of those real old-school ones that’s not LED or 3D or 4K or any of that. It’s just a simple 1080p LCD. Remember back when those used to be cool? Anyway, I looked through the list of recorded shows – all the Doc McStuffins and Good Luck Charlie and various other Disney crap we record for my daughter – past my Ultimate Treehouses and Treehouse Masters, you know, the good stuff. And I found Nik Wallenda – Walking the Tight Rope.

Well, I don’t know who recorded it, or why it was on my DVR, but I thought it would hold my interest for the amount of time it took me to warm to my position and fall asleep on the couch. So I turned it on. And I watched it, hoping secretly that he would fall. Wondering why someone would have recorded it live otherwise. Every time the wind would pick up, I would think of the video where his grandfather made his last tightrope walk. Well, he made it across the Grand Canyon, I’ll spare you the suspense. But I have some things to say about it.

Come on. You knew I would.

First of all, all the way across, he’s praying out loud. Of course he’s miked, so we can hear his every word. “Oh thank you Jesus, my Lord, my God. You are the King of kings. Oh Lord, you are my God. Thank you Jesus. Oh Jesus. Oh holy, sweet and wonderful Lord Jesus.” And so on. And he begs him at some points to calm the wind. “You have authority over the wind, Lord. Please calm this wind oh Lord.” Um… I think maybe you have a flawed perception of our Lord, Mr. Wallenda.

It almost seemed like he was praying to God, like bargaining with him, as if his being extra holy while on live television would guarantee him safe passage across the canyon. It seemed like he was sucking up, in other words. “Yeah, God, you have the power to calm the wind. You the man. Just do it so I can get across and not fall like my idiot grandfather.”

This Nik Wallenda is a young guy. He’s only in his mid-thirties. He has children who don’t even look to be out of high school. Well, rightfully so. Duh. But the point is he has children. Kids. And a beautiful wife. Seriously, dude? What the fluff are you doing walking tightropes when you have children at home who need you? Isn’t that irresponsible in some way? And didn’t your grandfather die doing the same damn thing?

Christian or not, I don’t buy it. Just because you pray to God on live television (constantly, incessantly, annoyingly abusing the intimate avenue of conversation we have with God) doesn’t mean he’s going to save your dumb ass.

Tightrope walking should be reserved for 70-somethings who have nothing to lose. Like Karl, way back then. Not for 30-somethings with children who need you, you dumb son of a bitch. Or people with terminal cancer. People who are living out check boxes on a bucket list on their way out. Just because your last name is Wallenda doesn’t mean you have to propagate the idiocy. It’s family tradition. Well break it, you stupid sack of shit.

And that’s not even where he draws the line. Hanging from a helicopter at 250 feet above the ground by nothing more than his teeth? That’s pretty much like spitting in God’s face right there. He deserves to fall and die if you ask me.

See, part of me is split here. I want him to fall. I want him to die. But it won’t teach him a lesson if he dies. His grandfather’s fall certainly didn’t change Nik’s mind. But I want him to get what his dumb ass deserves for performing such an idiot stunt. But the other side of me feels for his children. Poor kids didn’t sign up to be his kids. They didn’t get to choose their parents. And the wife – well, maybe she was already in love with him before she found out what he does. Who knows her story. But maybe she’s partly to blame for having children with this moron. Because at the end of the day, he will finally screw up. Niagara Falls wasn’t enough. That should have been his swan song. His final act. And then hang up the soft shoes and retire. Put the family name to rest on the ground, once and for all. No. It wasn’t enough. Now he needs the Grand Canyon. Well, he got lucky there too. So what’s next? Run a wire from here to the moon? Walk across the Atlantic?

If he keeps upping the stakes, showing off, he’ll finally flub up and take a wrong step or slip and he will finally die. Or maybe not. Maybe he gets lucky for his whole life. But if he falls, is his death any more tragic to his children than a normal kid whose parents die in an accident on the highway? To me it is. Because he had a choice when he climbed up on that rope. And that kind of ludicrous tempting of fate should be punishable.

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