We've been doing training rides on Thursday night for RAGBRAI. This last ride, we were going by a farmhouse north of Alexander and a big dog a Saint Bernard I think, came charging at the bikes. Now, I’m not proud of my actions but I looked at the three riders behind me (to those three women, I apologize) and said "I’m sorry" and then booked it like a bat out of hell. On the TV show Seinfield, George Castanza was at a kid's party complete with a clown and there was a fire. He rushed out of the party knocking down little kids as he ran out. He got roundly criticized by everyone for his actions. I kind of felt the same. I sometimes wonder what I would do if I was on the Titanic (women and children first ... or was that "Steve"?)
I watched a TV special on the Civil War. There was a line of Union soldiers who marched into the Confederate army gunfire. They knew they would be killed but marched anyway. I really don't get this. Does it make me a bad guy to say that I really don't want to either be gravely injured or die for the sake of a cause? "Really Steve? If you believed in something with all your heart and soul, you wouldn't give up your life for it?" Uh, probably not. Pacifist? More like coward. If I was required to be in the Civil War, I’d probably be at the back of the pack... or running an errand elsewhere, definitely not up front. I use this line of thinking in comedy clubs as well. I figure if you are up front, you are just asking to be made fun of. This is why I don't go to audience participation type of things.
"Steve, aren't you always preaching change? Aren't you always trying to get us to eat the beet salad?" Yes I am - knowing full well you won't die. I believe in calculated risk. Aside from the largish dog, I am the type of leader who will not (or try not to) take my troops into a battle of certain death. A little bit of change at a time, with a potential outcome that won't cause huge pain is called life. Might as well embrace it (from the back of the room). I probably won't win any awards for valor, but I’ll be home for dinner. Choose your battles.
-Steve Simonin, President & CEO