Monday, July 04, 2005

Falling back: Fact or Myth?


The other night my much-better-half and I were watching TV when a commercial for ABC’s BRAT CAMP came on. This appears to be another in a seemingly endless parade of ‘reality shows,’ this time focusing on a bunch of troubled youths who are transported to a boot-camp style rehab.

Ok, so it won’t go into the record books as good TV.

But that’s not what I am talking about. In one snip of the preview, we see a scene probably taken from late in the campers stay: the stereotypical ‘I’ll fall backwards off this step-stool (or other such platform) and you guys will catch me.’

I scoffed at it, calling it as I did above, ‘stereotypical.’ While I’ve never been to any of these ‘corporate growth’ workshops, I’ve seen enough sit-coms and Dilbert toons that ridicule such seminars, and I suppose that has underscored my conclusions of the act.

She told me she’s read of the act being used to demonstrate trust among team members for years, and she thought it was apparently legit.

So I Googled for ‘falling backwards trust’ and received a surprising number of hits. Some with photos! Apparently my ridicule isn’t shared by many others.

Thinking back to BRAT CAMP, what does ‘falling off a stump into other’s arms’ prove? That the Brat Kids wholeheartedly trust a group of people whom they met a short time ago? For whom, presumably since they were all similarly bratty, felt contempt for their peers from day one?

Over the last few days I’ve pondered how many people I would trust to catch me were I to decide to propel; myself from a pedestal. Right off the bat: my much-better-half, but that would be a given
(that is, if I haven't found a way to piss her off in the last few minutes....).

I can eliminate my parents, not that they wouldn’t catch me, but they are past 70 in age, and why would I subject them to such a task? I think that assuming any given person is on speaking terms with their parents (and assuming they are still alive), we would all agree our parents would catch us, barring physical limitations. Fine.

I have three brothers, a pair of brother-in-laws and a pair of sister-in-laws, assorted cousins, etc. For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll discount them as well, since I am on speaking terms with them (well, most of them) and I would risk landing flat on my back with them in the receiving line. They're family, so again, they're a given.

Beyond family… now we’re getting thin. I can think of about a dozen people who I would count on preventing me from fracturing my skull should I be so foolish to fall backwards. Most of them are people who I worked alongside of for nearly 7 years at my former place of employment (here's a hint: it's been a year since I left, and I still e-mail or IM with them). The other few are people I’ve known since college.

What would possess me to put this blind faith in a group of people I recently met at an event that I was coerced to attend? Even if I volunteered, why would I suddenly feel so carefree about a group people with whom the only common denominator in our relationship is our work address?

So I open the input from readers: have you ever participated in this kind of event, and if so what are your thoughts. Who would you trust to catch you? Anyone else think its so much nonsense?

Or am I as lost here as I was with 'comfort food'?

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