No. 187



Several weeks ago I was sitting on an airplane approaching the Detroit International Airport and due to heavy traffic our plane had to circle a number of times. While maneuvering to get into position to land, the plane made a number of banks and sharp turns that make it a little uncomfortable for me. In fact when I fly on an airplane I never do put all my weight down on it. As I sat there I was reminded of the story of this man and his wife who were at a small air strip watching this stunt pilot perform all types of flying routines, dives, flips, loops, upside down and stalls. All in all it was quite a show.

When the stunt pilot landed the plane, this fella went over to him and said, "you know, that must be fun. I've always wondered what it would be like to fly because I have never flown in a plane in my life." The pilot said, "I tell you what. I'll take you and your wife up and furthermore if you can ride with me for 30 minutes without screaming, hollering or saying anything, I'll give you $5.00." This fella said, "you're on." Well, they took off and as they say, this stunt pilot let it "all hang out" in an attempt to make this fella say something. He performed every routine he knew and then some. After 30 minutes the pilot landed the plane and after they got out, he said to this fella, "You are the best I have ever seen. Here is your $5.00." This fella said, "you know, that was the hardest $5.00 I ever earned in my life. I almost said something...when my wife fell out."

In relation to flying I have a number of friends who own small planes and love to fly but I never became interested in flying for a very good reason. Earlier in my life, before I married my wife, I used to take trips in my car and would often be running on fumes before I would stop for gas. In fact, I have run out a few times and had to hitch a ride or walk to a gas station. Using this logic, I knew that I didn't want to run out of gas in an airplane in the middle of nowhere. As I said, this was back in the old days before my wife changed some of my habits. Now, when we get below half a tank, she says, "we had better get some gas." After hearing this a hundred times, I finally found out that this was the best way, even when she was not along. The point I'm making is that changing our habits is not easy but it can be done. The joy for me is that my wonderful wife has not only helped me in this way but in other areas of my life as well.

Now, this question please. Do you have people in your life that are helping you change some of your unproductive habits? While I'm not judging people who do things like drinking, gambling, smoking, lying, cheating and stealing, one or more of these habits can become very destructive. For example, drinking can start off as an occasional one or two, and escalate to three or four and then to "binge drinking." Can the state of being an alcoholic be far behind? A while back we had Dr. John White, Chancellor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, speak to our local Lions Club. He was really a fine speaker and one of the things he talked about was the subject of "binge drinking" at many of our nation's colleges and universities. He stated that a number of college presidents had told him that this was one of the most serious problems they faced at their school.

As a non-drinker, it's hard for me to relate to this, but as it relates to the American people, here is a question we should ask ourselves. Has "binge drinking" become epidemic? What's the answer? If you have the need, why not find someone like my wife to help you break the habit. Of course it's not that simple but it's tragic when you think of all the lives that are destroyed. If this is your problem, get some help. Your life is far too prescious to waste and every human being has great value. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 BentleyDrive, Conway, AR 72034.)