The following is a message from the Colorado Springs Safety Council, a proud mountain western affiliate of the Nassau Weekly. This is your safety spokesman, Melvin R. McGinnis, speaking.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Who is this Melvin character to tell me how to stay safe?” Well, when they asked me to do this, I was thinking the same thing. I don’t really know anything, and I’m the first to admit it.
I’m a five-time Park Ranger of the Year. I’ve saved seventeen lives since I moved out here to Colorado with my wife thirty years ago. But I’ve also lost more than I’d care to share.
Rocks. Bears. Bees. Snow. Humans. Trees. They’ve all killed civilians before in these mountains and they’ll do it again. Ain’t nothing I can do to stop ‘em. One man can’t be around for everything and I just do the best I can with the means I have.
The one thing I have learned in my time on the Safety Council is that no matter how safe y’are, you’re still gonna die. Everyone is. Life’s a fragile motherfucker. It’s your Momma’s priceless antique ceramic pot and if you leave it hanging over a ledge even the tiniest bit, someone’s bound to bump into it and send it crashing to pieces.
With that in mind, I want to pose a question to you all tonight: if you could come back again in a different life, a different time and all, what would you like to come back as?
Some of you are probably thinking shit like a unicorn, or Michael Jordan, or Benjamin Franklin, or maybe even me, Melvin R. McGinnis. But the real answer is: trick question—you can’t come back again. You only get one chance at this life and you’ve got to seize it, goddammit!
If you want to be a unicorn, make yourself a horn and superglue it to your forehead. If you want to be Michael Jordan, keep shooting hoops until you can’t miss. If you want to be Ben Franklin, spend nice days in libraries and fly kites when there’s lightning. And if you want to be Melvin R. McGinnis, discover what you love and commit to it.
Forty years ago, I married my wife, and I’ve woken up happy next to her every day since. Thirty years ago I left the factory, took all the money I’d saved and decided it was time to go somewhere enchanted, so we packed up, came out to Colorado Springs and never looked back.
Things aren’t always perfect. We fight. It rains. People die. And soon enough we’re gonna die too. But at least I know when that day comes, I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else or with anyone else.
I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t give a rat’s ass how safe you are. If you haven’t already found your own personal Colorado Springs, stop what you’re doing right now and go find it, whatever it takes. Even if it kills you.