The Fear of Change | HumorOutcasts

The Fear of Change

July 8, 2011
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How far would you go to make a change in your life?  I recently read a story about a British banker who decided that the world of money, luxury and material goods had lost its appeal, so he fled to South Africa to become a witch doctor.  His very British parents were not thrilled with his new choice of career, but since he had the word “doctor” in his new title, his mum and dad bit their tongues and traveled to the South African bush to attend their son’s graduation from witch doctor school.

To be accurate, the banker became a sangoma, and the course curriculum to complete this new station in life was not that easy.  First, the ex-banker-turned-witch doctor had to learn the native language. Then he had to don traditional garments and dance the tribal dance in front of a lot of people.  After the performance, he participated in a weird treasure hunt where he searched for animal parts which were hidden by local villagers. The final proof of his desire to leave his banking life behind was the all-important vomiting of goat’s blood.

If one vomits goat’s blood,  that means he had to drink it first, right?  So, how come the drinking of the goat’s blood is not on the list of difficult goals which need to be completed in order to get witch doctor status?  I would think swallowing the goat’s blood would be the more challenging than the throwing up part, and I would even venture to guess that the vomiting part would come as sort of a relief, but who am I to judge?

As bizarre as this story is, I have to admit something: I am in awe of people like this banker who can make drastic changes in their lives so easily.  It’s not that I don’t like change, I do.  However, I like change to happen gradually and preferably while I am unconscious, so I don’t know change has occurred.  I know this is a form of denial, but it works for me.

I have met a lot of people who embrace change, and I’m not talking about taking a new route to work or ordering Vodka sauce on their pasta instead of Alfredo sauce. No, I am talking major change. They quit jobs and literally leave their homes and families behind to seek out adventure, wealth and their spiritual selves.

I think I have to get on the change bandwagon.  I tried it a bit this year; I went from my natural ash blonde hair to medium blonde.  While some people might scoff at calling a half-shade darker hair color a change, I considered it a big step.  I also changed dentists and made Google Chrome my browser of choice instead of Firefox. See, I can make changes in my life and I haven’t suffered any major physical or emotional damage because of it.

I think my next change should be something where people might say, “Wow, look at how brave she is to take that challenge on!”  So, I have come up with a list of goals that might fulfill my need for variety and daring (and sex is not involved so for all you men who jumped right to that, shame on you).

Become an Astronaut – I don’t know if there is an age limit requirement to start training for this, and I don’t know if it’s okay that I am not the best airplane flyer in the world, but I still think I can do the space thing if someone gives me a potent martini before takeoff.  Also, I can’t do the bathroom-in-the-suit thing.  I need a real lavatory. Do they have them in space?

Climb Mt. Everest – I think I can do this as long as there is an elevator on the last leg of the trip.  After Base Camp two or three, I would think the climb gets more difficult and probably dangerous.  Since I have never mountain climbed before (is that the technical sports term?), I should probably practice on a few smaller mountains first. I live really close to the Poconos. I could climb one of those mountains and see how I do, and with any luck at all, there will be a casino and a frozen margarita waiting for me at the top. Now that I think about it, I’ll skip Mt. Everest and just stick with the Poconos.

Become a martial arts expert- I always wanted to learn karate or one of the other martial arts.  I also like the uniform that goes with this line of work.  The pajama-like outfit not only looks comfy but the colorful wide sashes give the illusion of a smaller waist. Another perk: I think people would be afraid of me. The first mean or rude remark sent my way would put me into the attack pose or whatever the hell it is called and scare people into running away or apologizing to me.  I think I could get into that sense of power.

There is a slight chance I might not be as brave with change as the British banker witch doctor, but I am sure I can accomplish some semi-life-changing goals. Oh, I know what I can do.  I’ll paint my bedroom and re-arrange the furniture.  Sure, I might not make front page news for courage , but I won’t have to throw up goat’s blood either, and that is something to be thankful about.

photo by presscluboftibet.org

Donna Cavanagh

Donna Cavanagh is founder of HumorOutcasts.com (HO) and the partner publishing company, HumorOutcasts Press which now includes the labels Shorehouse Books and Corner Office Books (HOPress-Shorehousebooks.com). As "den mother" to the more than 100 aspiring and accomplished writers, producers, comics and authors, Cavanagh's goal is to allow creativity to flow. She is a former journalist who made an unscheduled stop into humor more than 20 years ago. Her syndicated columns helped her gain a national audience when her work landed in the pages of First Magazine and USA Today. She teaches the how-to lessons of humor and publishing at conferences and workshops throughout the country including The Philadelphia Writers' Conference and Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. The author of four humor books, Cavanagh hopes her latest book, How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans, will encourage writers not only to embrace their humor talents but show them off as well.

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7 Responses to The Fear of Change

  1. Jack Sass
    July 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    You know, I was thinking about dropping my current career and becoming a porn star. Maybe I’ll use this article for encouragement.

    • July 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      Well, I am so glad that I could be some kind of positive influence on you, Jack! Yup, so glad.

  2. Deb Martin-Webster
    July 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Change is good . . . but dollar bills are much better! All joking aside, making major life changes can be the adventure of a lifetime!

  3. lbwoodgate
    July 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I also like the uniform that goes with this line of work. The pajama-like outfit not only looks comfy but the colorful wide sashes give the illusion of a smaller waist. Another perk: I think people would be afraid of me.”

    Only if they’re afraid of their own shadow. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. 🙂

    • July 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      Hey L.B., I am tough sort of I think. I have scared one or two people in my life.

      • Kathy Minicozzi
        July 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

        Scaring people isn’t all that hard. All you need is a very loud operatic singing voice. A well-placed vocalise at the right time can make people jump six feet. Just ask my cat. That’s how I get her to vacate the bathroom when I am about to take a shower.

        • July 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm

          To be honest Kathy, I think if I opened my mouth to sing, I would truly scare the crap out of most people. It’s not my talent! I bet you sing beautifully.



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