I enjoyed reading William Gurstelle’s latest book, ‘Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously.’ It’s sort of a reaction against increasing societal nannyism. More or less, Gurstelle advocates enjoying the risks that human curiosity is ere to, within reason. He provides some fun do-it-yourself projects, like how to make your own black powder and model rockets, and covers other varied topics, such as how to properly enjoy absinthe and the history of fugu.
People who know me might laugh at the assertion that I live ‘dangerously’— I don’t scale mountains or jump from airplanes. I’m not interested in that stuff, although I was a cub scout once upon a time. Gurstelle is really advocating risk-taking. Admittedly most of my big risks have been bourgeois gambles, like choosing to go to expensive schools to study impractical subjects, going to England by myself for a while, moving to San Francisco by myself, and things like that.
I think those sorts of risks are imperative towards finding direction in life, and finding enjoyment. You’ve got to fail once in a while in order to have fun. If I have kids, I’ll let them get themselves into trouble from time to time.
Anyway, let’s have a gun powder and absinthe party.