Quick, what are you afraid of?
First thing that comes to mind is?
Besides Clowns. Geebus Pete, we are all scared of clowns.
For me, number one it is Heights. Well it used to be. Although, snakes, spiders and Paula Deen all come in a close second.
Anyhoo, I look at Twitter on Wednesday and I see a breaking news alert that workers are stuck on a scaffolding that has collapsed in NYC. They are 46 stories up. 46. In Big Joe terms, that is at least 3 miles. (As of press time, they were still trying be rescued.)
Which brings me to this. How often do you get to conquer a fear? Not a lot.
Back on 9/10/2010, I got to conquer my fear of heights. Some good friends with the Special Olympics of Tennessee asked me to take part in an event called ‘Over The Edge.’ This is what it was. You would rappel 26 stories down the City Center building to raise money for Special Olympics.
Excuse me? Back up. Rappel? Umm, OK. So I agreed, thinking the City Center was the old Nashville Convention Center and it was maybe 3 stories and they got confused.
No such luck. It was indeed the City Center building in downtown Nashville. I show up, get fitted in my safety harness and go to the top of the building. They give me a 30 minute class on how to do it. Pretty much, walk down the side of the building and before you know it, you will be on the ground.
So here we go. Let’s do this. It was cold, overcast and spitting rain. I sat on the edge for 30 minutes. The people running the event were so awesome and said, ‘Take your time. The ground isn’t going anywhere.’ Touche. As I looked around I thought, to work outside, and be a window washer, I wouldn’t do this for all of Bill Gates’ money.
With a deep breath, I went over.
I was cruising until part of my rope got stuck. Not sure what it is called. I called it every cuss word known to man. For about 15 mins. Stuck. No where to go. I had a two-way radio but mine was on the wrong channel so when I pressed it for help, nothing happened.
Wait, I will wave to them to come up help me! Great idea Joe! So I waved and guess what they did? Yeppers, they waved back. I motioned feverishly. They waved back. I thought, this is the end. If you had told me when I as 16, that I would die off the City Center building, I would have laughed at you in the face. But here I was. Stuck. Even my brother, watching on the ground, thought this might be the end.
Finally another person doing the event, rappelled by and told me what I was doing wrong. And about 5 mins later, I was on the ground.
Of course, Captain Badass, me, once on the ground, proudly beat my chest at how awesome I was and it was no problem. Until said brother walks over and says, ‘What the hell was that? Did you get stuck? I thought that was the end.’ Cover blown.
In short, it was an awesome experience. Yes, I am still afraid of heights but not as much as before. Now that I have kicked it’s ass. Somewhat.