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Dealing with stress can be a leap of faith
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Dealing with stress can be a leap of faith
By Darlene Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--It can only be described as youthful rebellion, but not in the sense you might expect. Youthful, in this case, must be posed in the mind rather than the body. We're not burning bras or drag-racing James Dean style down Main Street. Neither are we skipping school and smoking cigarettes out behind Grandpa's barn. We are in the midst of a global insurrection of mammoth proportions. We are witnessing a systematic breaking of chains that have held a major portion of the human race in bondage for centuries unknown.

We're here, all too many of us. We didn't plan it, we didn't necessarily want to be here, we have no itinerary, we just showed up one day--here in the center of a midlife crisis. But since we're here we may as well enjoy it.

I like dreaming

Speaking of enjoying it, do you ever find yourself wondering what it would be like to enjoy a double-meat cheeseburger with a side of fries and a double-thick chocolate shake without having to speed-dial your local ambulance service?

It's almost a crime the way today's society forces you to think about every little physiological reaction that a human body could possibly undergo, like blood sugar, heart rate, hypertension, how many pounds of fat per square inch of body frame you should be carrying around as opposed to how much you are actually lugging along. Just eat the cheeseburger, for crying out loud! (Please visit The New England Journal of Medicine's Web site at

Are we so brain-dead that we don't realize that this is exactly why we are in the shape we're in? We're stressed out.

Years ago I found a definition of stress that I thought was quite fitting. Put succinctly, in its edited version, stress is defined as the confusion caused when one's brain overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living daylights out of some idiot who desperately needs it.

By no means am I advocating violence. In fact, just the opposite. We let so-called authority figures tell us how to act, dress and eat all our lives and then, when we turn 40, fat and frumpy, we lose our minds and do crazy things to prove to ourselves we are still young and adventurous.

There are many examples of people who have dealt with their midyears in ways that have not brought pain to others.

I feel there are ways to cope with these natural stages most of us go through. Hurrah for the midlife crisis! It allows us to return to the stupidity of our youth. We can do the things we did as a teenager (at least the ones that don't require community service) without old people telling us we'll regret it someday. Remember, we are the old people.

Many of you are aware that former president George H.W. Bush will celebrate his 80th birthday on June 12 of this year by jumping out of an airplane.

(Presidents, because of their heavy responsibilities of holding such a responsible office, take a little longer to get through this stage in life.)

He will, of course, be wearing a parachute. (Even presidents don't need to relieve that much stress.)

His jump in June will most likely be both stress-inducing and stress-relieving, unlike his first jump when his jet was shot down over the Pacific in 1944.

Can you imagine that? An 80-year-old man still looking for excitement?

What about you? If your idea of walking on the wild side is breaking out the salt shaker for your Saturday-night supper, maybe you should consider something a little more daring.

(Please consult with your physician before beginning any physical activity. Also, remember to check with your insurance provider. Blue Cross and Blue Shield may not cover medical expenses incurred by this action.)

One-way ticket to who knows where

Former president Bush is not the only person who relieves stress by jumping out of a plane. On Thanksgiving Eve, 1971, D.B. Cooper (no one knows his real name) boarded a plane at Portland International Airport in Oregon. He paid $20 for a one-way ticket to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

Mr. Cooper was approximately 6 feet tall, 175 pounds and 45 years old (aha!).

En route to Sea-Tac, he told the stewardess he had a bomb. He demanded two sets of parachutes and $200,000 in cash.

His demands were met when the plane landed at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. The plane took off again. At 8:24 p.m., 25 miles north of Portland, at 10,000 feet and 195 miles per hour, D.B. Cooper jumped.

The estimated temperature at that altitude was 7 degrees below zero.

He was never heard from again. Did he survive? Is he your next-door neighbor?

The FBI has never solved the case.

Wow! It is hard to imagine the stress he must have felt to make him do such a thing. His inlaws were probably coming over for Thanksgiving dinner.

Am I advocating you hijack a plane and demand a huge sum of money just because you're feeling a little stressed? Of course not. You'd never get away with it in this day and age, and it is definitely not recommended by the United States penal system.

If you're feeling a little stressed out and you sense a tinge of youthful rebellion coming on, but you're not quite ready to jump out of an airplane, that's okay.

Go burn a bra.

(Just remember, in the interest of safety always check your local fire codes.)


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