I Don’t Want to Die

A documentary on a 1996 climbing expedition to Everest which left over nine people dead including two experienced Himalayan Tour Guides played on PBS last night. Retreating from the summit down the treacherous “Hillary Step” some clouds flew in from the West. “One minute you could see the camp below, the next minute complete darkness,” said one trekker. Watching the documentary unfold as I lay on top of my down-filled blankets with the window open letting in 60 degree winds coming in at no faster than 1 mile an hour, I became cold. Out of respect for the team members on that mountain, I took no such cover. The climbers became disoriented. People were falling from exhaustion. One man became blind. All were suffering from hypothermia.
The ranges looked beautiful. The photographs astonishing. They were inviting. They were also threatening. The mountain seems to beckon. To call out your spirit. It wants you.
Watching the film I had the idea I
would climb Everest. Except I don’t want to work so hard. I don’t want to climb on such a steep hill. I don’t want to be so cold either. The Ice axe looks like a crude instrument to plunge into the side of a mountain. So I thought about it some more and realized I don’t want to climb Everest. I want to stay at home and watch documentaries of people doing things I don’t have the nerve or guts to do.
I also joined a program halfway in called ‘Most Outrageous Moments,’ which involved a top ten list. Each number had a scene that consisted of a man getting hit in the balls. One was by a basketball. One was by a tree, one was by a railing, one was by a long pole used to hold a chair in the air in which a man was seated. It was very confusing and not very artistic. I did, however, laugh at the “tree” one because he was sledding down the mountain and he slides off the sled in a spread eagle pose and you think that’s it, that’s the outrageous moment (him falling off the sled), but all of a sudden a tree comes into the frame and WHAM, which was unexpected.

One thought on “I Don’t Want to Die”

  1. In my own experience getting hit in the nuts, I’ve found it to be very spiritual. For a split second, you actually think the world is ending. You have a newfound respect for life after you’ve glimpsed the apocalypse.

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