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Sea Stories
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  Pressure? All jobs have pressure of some sort or another. A lot of the time the pressure is due to some self-made requirements, usually unrealistic from the outset. Sometimes changes in circumstances or a lack of preparation can induce a certain amount of pressure. Many times situations seem to some people to be the end of life on earth as we know it but to the person trained to handle it, it is taken in stride. Hospital emergency rooms are a good example of this, as are aircraft carrier landings. Pressure and excitement are in the eye of the person that is about to shit his pants big time. Several years ago I was talking to a woman at a social gathering and I was telling her what I did for a living and she remarked how exciting my job must be. I told her, “Not if I do it right.” I had waited years to use that line.
   Now let me tell you about real pressure. Shortly before my mother passed away, while she was ill, I asked her to give me six numbers to play on the lottery. I figured that of all the people I know she was the most likely to get on the right side of the lottery drawing when she passed to the other side. I'm still working on that premise. Send me a sign, Moma. I know it is just a matter of time. In Texas you can get ten drawings at once and, for a while, this fit in well with my work schedule. Things changed at one point and I took a long trip. Now the problem with using the same numbers on a lottery is that we all know that the one time you don't play them is the one time they win. This is a “sure as you're born” truth. So I called my brother and asked him to get me some tickets while I was out of touch.
   At the end of the trip I got together with my brother and he had all the tickets in order and told me he just couldn't get the tickets for me ever again. It was way, way too much pressure. He was scared to death that he would miss a drawing and the numbers would hit. But he was more scared that the numbers would hit on a ticket that he had bought. That's right, he was more afraid of winning! He explained that if he missed a ticket well that would be that and after an initial period of disappointment we would still get along but if a ticket hit he would have to grab the money and run. After some introspection I have to agree that I would do the same thing (and so would you. Be honest, now!). He also knew that if I won and he ran with the money that I would chase him down for as long as it takes, wherever it goes, no stopping, no chance of quitting and he could just not take that kind of pressure.