Article Archive

Point / Counterpoint - Biting The Bullet vs Quaking In Your Boots

Author: Alison Edwards and Darryn King
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Alison Edwards

I don’t want to jump the gun here, so to speak. There are certainly some boots out there that are sturdy of heel and shapely of toe and more than fit for quaking in. I’ll grant you that. But it sure does seem that those who leap before they look tend to be the ones who get lucky, while he who hesitates – well, gets screwed.

Take Poland, for instance. While old Hitler and his boys bit not only the bullet, the gun and the hand that held it, Poland dithered around and effectively got polished off like a wife-beater at a militant lesbian feminists’ convention. (Polished – get it-)

Okay, so it’s not the best analogy – we don’t all suffer from rabid megalomania and syphilis of the scrotum – but when’s the last time something good happened while you cowered around in the corner picking scabs on your knees-

He who hesitates at pedestrian crossings crosseth not the road; thou who hangeth back in aisle three at Woolies when there’s a sale on will be eating Home Brand Chocolate Spread sandwich spread rather than Nutella; and deliberate too long over whether to get the scampi or the Cordon Bleu in lemon sauce with thyme and you’ll find the waiter dealing with tables one through 48 before he bothers heading back into your postcode.

Going for a new job and not sure how much of your CV you can justly cook up- Don’t dally around, I say – hell, according to my résumé I’m a best-selling, four-language-speaking butt model who can pluck chickens with no hands and construct entire tepees from embroidered cloth patches. And look where it’s gotten me. (Writing columns for spare cash is where it’s gotten me, actually, but hey – pointing out flaws is for no-good, hang-back, quaking-in-your-boots kind of folk).

So – because this is the part where it’s supposed to get motivational – stop bloody pussyfooting around, especially if you’re that person who bought the red cowboy boots I had my eye on for yonks downtown. Those boots are NOT made for quaking. Pottering around backstage while everyone else basks in the limelight won’t get you anywhere.

By Darryn King

It’s obvious. You’re just going to end up hurt if you go around running into things - and I don’t just mean things like brick walls.

Yes, yes. It’s all very romantic and adventurous to talk about biting the bullet and taking the bull by the horns… but there’s something to be said for beating around the bush, isn’t there- Rome wasn’t built in a day; you shouldn’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched; and you shouldn’t judge a book - not even my book of idioms here - by its cover.

I’m not encouraging you to change your entire way of life - that would mean the terrorists have won. I just think, in this world of impulse purchases, HIV, unsealed roads and Adam Sandler movies, it makes sense to exercise a little bit of caution and care.

Patience is a virtue. Rashness is a safety hazard. I mean, it’s called being ‘rash’ - isn’t that a giveaway itself- A ‘rash’ is something you get when you eat or wear or do or get exposed to something you shouldn’t...

But a rash is the least of your worries. Think of all the situations that you can get into if you act before you think… The last time ‘old Hitler’ acted before thinking, he sent the German army on Operation Barbarossa and subsequently lost the war. The last time Captain Smith acted before thinking, he sunk the RMS Titanic. Last time I acted before thinking my girlfriend got pregnant. (This may or may not be a joke.) (It probably is.)

That’s the thing about acting before thinking. Sometimes it really is the last time you do it. I don’t care if you look before you leap - but for God’s sake make sure you look before you change lanes doing 110 on the freeway.

Those of you who’ve seen the film Dead Poets Society will be familiar with the Latin catchphrase ‘carpe diem’, which translates to ‘seize the day’. It’s a nice little philosophy, sure - but remember how the movie ends- The kooky teacher gets the sack, the starry-eyed student shoots himself in the head and Ethan Hawke waits six years before getting another decent movie role.

‘Just Say No’- Nah, that’s not what I’m getting at.

Just Say Not Now.