June 11, 2013
So, I’m driving to work. I’m not late or really in a hurry, but I’m on the highway, and I want to go fast. I want to not be on the highway anymore and just be at work (well, I’d probably rather be at Disneyland but you get the point) when I see those red and blue lights flashing behind me. I spot them in the rear view mirror just as I change lanes. My heart starts beating faster. My palms get cold as I can feel slight perspiration on my forehead all while my stomach feels like its knotting up. And then I notice the police car getting closer to me, right behind me. And then it switches to the other lane and passes me. I’m sure many of you have experienced this. Then, there is the sensation of relief when it’s all over and you are not the law breaker the police officer is chasing to write a citation for.
Thrills are things we all hate to love. Amusement parks with their colorful ads for bigger-taller-faster-loopier roller coasters inundate us this time of year. And why not? The amusement park industry is a multi-billion dollar business, wherein sane people excitedly cough up cash for tickets anywhere from $40-$100 just to be strapped into a tiny fiberglass compartment with a nylon seatbelt by a young person who has barely entered puberty and then having this contraption pulled on a chain conveyor up a track 200 feet in the open air operated by a high schooler whose thoughts are more on how to talk to that cute worker who runs the soda booth than your safety.
Psychology books and articles are often written on the subject of fear, thrills, and why we love to be scared. I know there are many people who don’t like horror movies, but it is also a multi-billion dollar industry that has produced such iconic characters as the Frankenstein monster and Freddy Kreuger… characters that produce images that haunt us in the dark hours of the late night.
I suppose it all comes from some primitive instincts we had before we advanced as a species…the fight or flight responses and so forth. The body’s tendency to protect itself by rushing the adrenaline through to give us the strength to run away or scream for help. Or slow down, so we don’t get a ticket.
We often hear about the 5 senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. I think the sense of fear should be added as well as the sense of acceleration or falling. The sense of being smitten with romance is another one that seems to be discounted… it often comes with many of the same symptoms I described above when talking about the cop on the highway!
So, wherever you find your thrills this summer, always remember the Library is a great place to relax and cool off. Find something thrilling in a novel or a movie. Or, maybe, check out Beat Your Ticket: Go To Court and Win! By David Wayne Brown.