Playing dangerous game of life

I'm almost 21, and surprisingly, I'm still alive.

I'm not a pessimist. Instead I consider myself an enduring optimist, but still, I wonder how I've made it this far in a world where the "survival of the fittest" concept reigns supreme.

Take a look around you. We live in a capricious world, where our future remains wrapped in yesterday's newspaper, where today's events stem from those of the past .

One minute, we may be laughing at our friend's craziness. The next, we may be strapped in an emergency room bed like Christopher Reeves being asked if we can feel sensation in our left foot.

Mysteriously, however, we avoid much of the danger that might cause our demise. For example, a couple of years ago, I fell asleep at the wheel while driving on the highway. I was headed straight for the dividing strip, but I woke up with enough time to jerk the car over to the middle lane.

A few seconds later, I realized that I saved my own life.

Heroic, isn't it? But I wasn't featured on the nightly news for my feat. Nope, CNN wasn't there to glorify me, because then they would have to run a feature story on everyone who makes an effort to survive.

We save ourselves from disaster all the time, and we take our safety for granted until it becomes threatened.

The other day I was walking across a busy intersection. The red stoplight commanded the cars I crossed in front of to stop, and motorists obeyed because it's the law.

(It's funny how different colored lights control the flow of life or death . most of time.)

As I crossed in front of tons of vibrating glass and steel, I wondered for a moment how easy it would be for one of the drivers to press the accelerator instead of the brake. I caught myself not looking the them in the eye, for the courage to peek into the soul of a potential murderer does not come easy.

Trust is a glorious thing, and we take it for granted until the entire concept becomes threatened.

The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is evidence that an entire nation's trust can be raped in the time it takes a gunman to fire three shots. A 25-year-old law student killed Rabin minutes after he told a crowd of 100,000 that "people truly want peace and oppose violence ..."

One minute, we speak of peace, and the next, our efforts are stifled by the deafening sound of gunshots and the blinding light of laser sights.

I'm almost 21, and I'm surprised I've made it this far.

About two weeks ago, I heard a flurry of gunshots come from outside the Jack-in-the-Box on Speedway, and I realized that I, Mr. Invincible, could have been in the line of fire.

Unfortunately, we respect those who wield weapons, because we're forced to for survival's sake.

Now I know why we live under the constant watch of a helicopter armed with a high-powered spotlight. When we look to the police for protection, however, we give ourselves a false sense of security, for they're called in after the windows have been shattered and blood's been spilled.

We are fragile beings in every respect. Trying to convince ourselves otherwise is futile. A knife cuts everyone's skin, no matter how much muscle lay beneath it, and an insult whittles away at everyone's ego, no matter how seemingly large it may be.

Our delicate nature is easily wounded, but both our bodies and psyches heal quickly. Kids pick themselves up after they fall from a swing set, just as nations recover after losing a leader.

After all is said and done, we try to shed light on the day's events just like philosophers have been trying to do for centuries. Our quest for understanding seems futile at times, however, like when we try to answer unanswerable questions like "What's the meaning of life?"

Why worry about it? We're here, make the most of it.

The clock tells us there are 24 hours in a day. A good friend once told me that it's up to us to decide what we'll do with those 24 hours .

Savor them, and realize that escaping life's danger is part of the game.

Adam Djurdjulov is a journalism junior. His column appears every other Thursday.

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