Now ‘The Nervous Nellies’ Of Decision Making — We’ve Lost That Ol’ Gut Feeling.

With thousands of sources of information available at the click of a digital device to help us make decisions these days, we’ve lost that first thought instinct.
There used to be a voice of reason that lurked in the back of the head whenever the brain spotted a potentially dangerous situation arising — say closing the lid on the BBQ to get a better build up of propane gas and then quickly throwing in a lit match — and it said, in a hushed but firm tone — “Bill, this is a real bad idea.” For the record, eyebrows grow back in four to six week depending upon original thickness.
Career-wise, first impressions are invaluable. A tip from a woman who was fired on the second day of her new job: “Never give the finger to anybody until you know what car your new boss drives.”
Instinct is the spark plug of wisdom. Often you just know in your heart, ‘this is not for me’. I was thinking about this last week when a two-year-old filly at Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky was approaching the starting gate for the very first race of her career when she decided thoroughbred racing was just not in her future. Without warning Bold and Bossy bucked off her jockey and took off on a journey of her own. First she bolted into the backside of stables, through a gate, over a roadside levee and onto U.S. Highway 41. With grooms, trainers and locals in pursuit, Bold and Bossy showed great early speed and good stretch stamina as she sprinted alongside vehicles on the busy highway.
“Thank God for all the people who jumped in to go find her because she left town!” said owner/trainer Michael Ewing.
Determined to put the track behind her, Bold and Bossy did not just leave town — she left the state!
In full race regalia including saddle and blinders, the filly crossed the state line, leaving Kentucky and entering Indiana at full clip. Badly dehydrated, Bold and Bossy eventually slowed down just enough that a couple who knew horses lured her to safety. Also, having skipped a few training sessions, the next state of Missouri may have been beyond her reach.
Bold and Bossy will likely join a riding stable or a police force or become the mascot of a football team called the Richmond State Runaways. But if she ever races again her name will be changed to Stubborn But Free and her jockey will be fitted for a safety belt and a butt cushion.
It’s like when I graduated from university and had no clue whatsoever what I wanted to do with my life and a friend who managed a funeral home in Welland offered me a job. Right off the bat I said ‘no’.
But the money was good, the workplace was quiet and someday I might have my own business. No. I can’t do it. But you’ll never know unless you give it a try?
My first day’s assignment was to pick up a body at a Mississauga hospital and bring it back to the funeral home. How hard could that be?
“Bob’ll do it all for you. Once he secures the gurney into the hearse, tip him twenty bucks and drive back here.”
First up, Bob wasn’t working the morgue that day, Ray was.
He pulled a long metal drawer from a steel wall of thirty such body trays and said: “You want to take the head or the feet?”
What I wanted was to be was in a dark place in a country with a time zone that was twelve hours different than ours.
Cold, creepy down in that dank hospital basement, the body was light but stiff and I remember thinking, thank heaven for white sheets. Stutter-stepping backwards to reach the gurney I was doing quite well at the feet until, at the other end, Ray stepped on the sheet pulling it to one side. Until then I’d convinced myself I was picking up and delivering a ‘package’. Suddenly… there were three of us.
With a mighty heave, the body settled into the padded stretcher on wheels and Ray said: “Good luck. I gotta go.”
Up the elevator and out the back door, it took me ten minutes to figure out how the wheels only collapsed if you pushed the gurney really hard through the back door of the hearse. I got it in, closed the swinging door shut and headed for home.
I’m sure if Bob had been there he would have locked the gurney into place. Nobody told me about that part.
Every time I stepped on the brakes, the body in the stretcher slammed the back of my driver’s seat. Every time I stepped on the gas, the gurney hit the back door which I prayed was properly closed because there was no way in hell I was pulling over. Crossing the Burlington Skyway I thought if I lose it here, I’m really going to be in trouble. Somehow I wasn’t all that upset when I remembered that I’d forgotten to tip Ray the twenty bucks.
I delivered the body, dropped the keys and the twenty at reception and as I sipped my second drink of the evening I thought… I should get a tattoo that reads: “Always Go With The Gut!”
That’s what we’ve lost since being mired in technology and assaulted by screens — the gut feeling and having a keen eye for the obvious.

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