Tag Archives: attitude

17 Seconds

That’s it, 17 seconds.  Count them, go ahead: 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000, 4-1000, 5-1000 ………Done? All of them? Well now guess what, phfst, snap, whoosh.  Those 17 seconds no longer exist except perhaps in your memory and even that will fade.

Now a length of time measured in seconds doesn’t seem all that noteworthy, at least not to those who have a potential life span well into 90 years.   Mayflies only live for 24 hours so 17 seconds would be important.  And it should be to you and me as well.  Minds can be changed in 17 seconds, wars can be initiated in 17 seconds, a lingering kiss can . . . Well you get the picture.  A lot can happen in 17 seconds.

It takes much less time for a life to pass on, for love to bloom (ok maybe in some cases it’s only lust but it is ‘a blooming!).  We spend so much time organizing, planning and cajoling and yet sometimes it is the unexpected hiccups that are the most memorable.

I once had several guns pointed directly at me.  It seemed to last for a lifetime as visions of my oh so young life flashed brightly across my mind’s eye.  It probably only lasted for a few seconds but OH MY WORD!!!

It was a dark and stormy night . . . Ok, ok, yes, it was dark and cold.  I was on my way to a night class in Anthropology.  Mid-eighties, winter. I was minding my own business, head down, when out of the corner of my eye I see dozens of huge men with drawn guns racing towards me, directly towards me.  Someone screamed “FREEZE” and I froze, solid.  I don’t think I dared to breathe.

Now I am told that memory is a fragile thing, often tempered by television, movies, news articles, even suggestions from other people. Well, that may be true but I am here to tell you my truth.  I wasn’t afraid.  Honestly.  I don’t think I had the time to consciously form a thought.  I was frozen, remember.  The officers (only 3 or 4) raced past me and into the building I was adjacent to.  Fortunately, one of them came back to release me from my frozen state.  I continued on to my class and only later discovered what had happened.

It seemed some unsavoury characters were hiding in plain sight on my University Campus. Pretty smart when you think about it.  The police were smarter.

Many years later I joined a Police Department.  Did that encounter unconsciously point me in that direction?  17 seconds can change your life.

And one thing can be counted on to be absolutely true:  Those 17 seconds will never come again.  So use them wisely.