Professor Nancy Kneeland
Two Troublesome Things
By Jim Banholzer
A. Activating event
Although, arrowhead hunting is one of my favorite hobbies, sometimes I hold trepidation of running into rattlesnakes, while searching for Indian points amongst the sacred Picabo desert sagebrush. Rattlers have stuck at me four times. Once with the snake biting the crease in my blue jeans at the side of my knee.
Upon my return from my first arrowhead discovery there, I ran over a wealthy landowner’s cherished Labrador retriever in his driveway, killing it. This led me to believe that I was cursed, since I had drunkenly removed the arrowhead from the same grounds where my ancestors committed genocide, thoughtlessly killing multitudes of Native Americans.
Snakes karmatically guard the territory, if I put out bad vibes, they will bite me.
If snakes bite me, I will become extremely sick and possible die.
C. Emotional, Behavior reaction & remedy
Actually, I think that the danger is part of the attraction. For one thing intersecting with rattlers is always an awakening encounter! Ten years ago, a friend and I were riding mountain bikes down there and had a rattler snap lightning-like at both of our bike spokes. Had nothing of the sort happened that day, it would not have been as memorable. Nonetheless, sometimes my imagination runs wild and I begin to think of things like; what if one bit me, and then I keeled over unconscious, meanwhile crushing my cell phone into a large obsidian rock, so that it became inoperable upon my painful reawakening. Mostly though, I try to send out good vibes to the serpent kingdom, wear thick lumberjack boots, two pairs of pants, avoid leaning my exposed shoulder too close into hills and caves and keep a first aid kit handy. In addition, I try to visualize that if I actually did become snake-bit that I would then need to become a cool cat. Becoming frenzied about the situation, will only make my blood circulate faster, resulting in quicker toxicity to my internal organs. Therefore, if such an occasion arises, I will need to make a sustained effort to mediate on peaceful cooling thoughts.
Recently I employed a specific ritual, as a remedy to “get past” my bad juju superstition. My friend Tony, who is Native American, hit two perfect bull’s-eyes on a tiny target with his crossbow. This I saw as an occasion to reward him ceremoniously with another arrowhead I had discovered in the same region as the cursed point. The point I gave Tony had the sharpest point of any I have so far discovered. We even joked to be careful, because it looked so fresh that it might still have frog poison dipped on it. Superstition, placebo effect, call it what you may, since rewarding Tony with the “returned” arrowhead, I feel as though my travails and trepidations in Snaky territory, will now shift to the better. I will travel through
~ ~ ~
A. Fear of driving over the
The bridge could fall, taking me with it. Ice is not nice. Terrorists might choose to explode it the moment I am traveling over it. (It was heavily guarded in the weeks immediately following 9-11.) A tractor-trailer, Meth head, or someone suffering from a stroke could suddenly veer out of control or not hold enough respect for the dangerous area, resulting in a disastrous crash.
Avoid thinking about bridges and tall places. I tried this for a while, but the fear eventually returns. Ultimately, I decided to confront the fear head on by writing about it. This led to this letter published in the Times-News:
By JIM BANHOLZER
If you are a smart shopper and travel to
This in turn, led to this thank you note from an
Dear Mr. Banholzer,
Thank you for your email in concern to suicide prevention measures being taken on the
Public Affairs Specialist
Idaho Transportation Department
Travel Smart. Travel Safe. Dial 511.
During the process of writing about something as daunting as suicide prevention, I discovered that it was actually very cathartic. When I received the heartfelt note posted above, it felt especially rewarding.