My entire life I’ve taken risks, and I mean one risk after another. For some reason, I’ve never been afraid to try something that looked exciting, interesting, fun, different or simply an adventure. I’ve been fishing in a dugout mahogany log canoe on the Congo River and nearly had my hand taken off by a bull shark, almost abducted for the purpose of robbery by some natives in Sierra Leone, ridden on Mussolini’s ski lift to the top of Vesuvius and went down inside to smell the poison gasses, so many adventures, so many places and people and some of them I’d go to jail for if I talked about them.

Most of it was glorious, and some of it was painful. Some of it has left me with permanent injury. There are some things I’d change if I could, we all have things we’d like to do over again differently, but I don’t regret my life. It’s been incredible and I would never have all the great memories I have if I hadn’t been willing to take risks.

I’ve never been a gambler, gambling is something wholly different, and stupid as far as I’m concerned. For me, anyway. Some people make a very good living at it, by being able to memorize cards played or knowing the fine details of all the horses in a race, and so forth, but that’s never had an appeal to me. I like to take chances, not bet on sure things, and while I never minded taking a chance on my life, because I always expected to win, taking a chance with money is pretty much the same as throwing it away.

Not everyone is well suited for risk taking, you have to be quick in thought and action, you need good reflexes and physical strength. Like that song about gambling, know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. You also need to know when you just might be going too far. Caution is the greater part of valor, it’s the stupid people who win all the Darwin awards posthumously.

But, if you want to be able to look back on your life when you get old and be able to laugh at all the things you’ve done, then you need to do memorable things. Otherwise, when one day is just like the next, you won’t remember any of it. So take risks, who knows, you might even survive them. I have.

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