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Jim Walker: The fine art of ‘Take it to the Limit’

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: July 20, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 19, 2012 7:56 p.m.

The Eagles’ lyric, “Take it to the limit one more time,” from the song, “Take it to the Limit” (surprise) is pretty much the mission statement many people live by.

And, by “many people,” I mean me.

Now understand, I don’t mean I take it over the limit. I mean I often take “it” just far enough so that my toes are hanging over the precipice, and the beast that shall not be named is opening its gigantic maw below me … and then I jump back and run away to live another day, as the beast bellows in frustration.

This “to the limit” credo has brought me an exciting and entertaining life, kept me semi-employed and occasionally loved, and kept me out of prison — if only just barely.

The salvaging savoir faire I bring to self-created crises has me smiling pleasantly to confuse people I have just insulted, buying a drink for the guy who’s about to punch me, and sticking my finger in the barrel of the gun when it’s pointed at me.

It’s all good fun, right?

Now, most of the time, I don’t deliberately start trouble. It’s just that being candid and forthright often upsets people.

Take bosses, for instance … or wives, girlfriends, siblings, offspring and folks who cut me off in traffic.
People, I kid because I love.

In the larger sphere, my choices of career, lifestyle and “entertainment” keep things lively, albeit one step away from tragic. Optimistic are the oblivious, I say, and I only hope the protective force field the Lord has provided me continues to be effective.

Picture that recent video we all saw on TV, where a polar bear was trying to snatch a toddler through thick glass, and you’ll have an idea of how I roll. I mean, the kid didn’t even know what was going on behind him … and so he was having a blast collecting lint or something.

Now, you may also be a person who passes through life hanging, like a frightened kitten, by one claw. It’s just zestier that way, right?

And if you are, both you and I can take solace in the fact that greatness likes to turn its attention toward impending train wrecks.

Good fortune, I believe, gets bored rewarding talent, hard work and dedication. It likes a show. Fate favors the frantic, I say. Like those bold adventurers who rush in ill-prepared but running zigzag so as to avoid hot lead.

I mean, if you’re not pushing the envelope, you might as well be pushing up daisies, right?

Consider ….

Socrates: is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Classical Era. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was sentenced to death. But, old Sock didn’t let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.

Well, OK, he took it past the limit that time, but you get my drift.

Vincent Van Gogh: During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting. But he plugged on with painting, sometimes starving to complete his 800 known works. If that ain’t taking it to the limit, I don’t know what is. And, today, his paintings bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. Of course, old Vinny did kill himself … so maybe not such a great example.

And finally, consider Charlie Sheen. I mean, the teaser for his new TV show involves a train wreck. This man takes it closer to the limit than anyone I can imagine and yet somehow turns it to his advantage. And though the guy is showing a bag full of wear and tear, and is still probably BS crazy, good fortune smiles on him yet again. Doesn’t it?

Doesn’t it?

Hmmm. I’m sensing a pattern here. Maybe you should forget I even brought this subject up.\

“You know I’ve always been a dreamer
(spent my life running ’round)
And it’s so hard to change
(can’t seem to settle down)
But the dreams I’ve seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same
So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time.”
­— The Eagles


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