On June 2, 2017, Cecilia Wessels of Canada, took a particularly striking picture. The photo showed a formidable tornado, that appeared to be a mere stone’s throw away from her backyard.
Cecilia would later claim, she took the picture so she could share with her parents, who live in South Africa. However, we all know about Cecilia’s photo, because she would ultimately upload the picture on her Facebook page. The ensuing result, of her post would cast Cecilia, her husband: Theunis, and one impressive looking tornado into the limelight of internet fame.
Now a tornado by itself is a commanding and impressive sight. In fact, they’ve written books, filmed movies, and made multiple television series dedicated solely to this remarkable and often destructive weather phenomenon. However, it wasn’t the tornado that stole the show in Cecilia’s photo. Instead, it was her husband, Theunis. Cecilia’s photo was remarkable, because the moment the entire world saw it, they collectively asked,
“Why the F$%# is your husband mowing the grass in a tornado!?!?!”
Yep, sure enough, in the bottom left hand corner of the photo, there was Theunis seemingly undisturbed by the swirling goliath in the distance, calmly mowing the grass. The interview that the couple gave to CBC News, was almost as impressive as the picture itself. In the interview, not seeming to add any element of excitement to an already exciting picture, Theunis shrugged off the raging cyclone and said, “It looks much closer in the photo, but it was really far away.”
Ok, Ok, Ok, Theunis, maybe that’s true, however, I’m a closet math and physics nerd. Based on the photo, I’m assuming it was taken from a two story home, approximating the height of the window, and Cecilia when she took the picture, to be 21 feet, the visible horizon in the photo is approximately, 4.5 miles away. Clearly, the tornado is closer than the horizon, so let’s approximate its distance at a steep estimate of 4 miles. Given the average speed of a tornado, of 30mph, at 4 miles away, if the twister headed towards Wessels, they would have approximately 8 minutes before it reached the household.
Roughly, 8 minutes. That’s just about enough time for Theunis to put up the lawn mower, mix a Jack and Coke, and wrestle a live bear into submission. Or whatever else Chuck Norris type stuff badasses do for fun. By far the best quote of all, came from the patriarch of the Wessel home when the couple admitted that tornados aren’t common in South Africa, however, Theunis said he, “watched a TV program about storm chasers,” so he’s familiar with them.
Just to be clear, over the summer, I watched an F2 tornado literally rip through the city I work, completely destroy an entire auto parts store, and hurl a fully loaded container truck on its side. It goes without saying, when it comes to Theunis, no f$%&s are given. Let’s not forget that grass needed to be mowed friends. Interestingly, I can respect that about Theunis.
Whenever we come across a person in life, that truly gives no f$%#s, there is something strangely compelling and alluring about them.
People like Theunis, or the unknown gentleman who was captured by Sky News appearing to take a leisurely stroll with a pint of beer in his hand, as crowds of people ran past him, fleeing the terrorist attack that had just occurred in the Borough Market in London.
Who this anonymous beer totting badass is, remains a mystery. Assumingly, because people who aren’t going let a little terrorist attack ruin their cold beer, don’t have time to get on social media to discover their sudden and remarkable fame. These types of people are too busy doing other badass stuff to be bogged down with memes, rants, trolls, likes, and loves.
People who truly exhibit the behavior that is the epitome of, “no f%&#s given” (NFG) are compelling to a lot of us because they seemingly exhibit a worldview we wish we all had. Their nonchalant demeanor towards the aspects in life that are frightening is impressive. Their virtual cavalier regard of danger is never an act of disrespect or disdain for others. In fact, what makes someone a true “NFG person,” is the fact that their lack of concern isn’t for others. Rather, it is for themselves! They are selfless, risk takers, that don’t seem to consider they are taking a risk at all. Instead, they seem to exhibit the attitude, that there is stuff to do and life to be enjoyed, so they aren’t going to be deterred by anything.
One reason that NFG people are so captivating is because to some degree we all recognize there is great power in fearlessness. Fear is a mind killer, and it prevents us from stepping into the world boldly and confidently. We spend little time considering it, but fear is one of the greatest obstacles we face in life. Fear restricts our lives, imprisons us, and is the very tool of oppression. Fear causes people, individually or collectively to do many harmful things.
In all honesty, fear has but two fundamental extremes.
In one extreme we freeze up and are petrified like a rock. The other extreme fear, causes us to panic and flee with reckless abandon. According to Buddhism, fear is the very root of the human ego. Our ego is the side of us that causes us to be selfish and consider only our own needs. The fuel that our ego uses is fear. Honestly, fear is so intertwined in our societies that we no longer actually recognize it as fear at all.
For example, America withdraws from the Paris Accord, because we fear that it isn’t a good enough deal for us as individual Americans. We actually never stop to consider that for the overwhelming majority of us, whether we are in the Paris Accord or not, will have no impact in terms of a fiscal or tangible loss in our own lives. We hear America might be losing money, or paying more than other nations, this triggers our fear that we have to hoard the money or else we might somehow lose something. This makes sense right? That’s how our own lives work, if you save money, you have money. If you spend money, you lose money. What’s so hard about that?
Ultimately, these beliefs represent the fear fueled ego that Buddhist are referring too. Our individual fears of losing money cause us to rationalize not progressively working towards clean energy solutions for our ecology. Of course, what we all fail to recognize is that the American dollar is set on a fiat money system. Fiat money is currency established as money by government regulation or decree. Basically, it has no inherent representative value other than the perception of its value. The American dollar is literally worth what they say it’s worth and what people will believe it’s worth.
Our currency is merely a part of a freely floating exchange rate between other global currencies. If the entire globe got mad at the United States for refusing to be a part of the Paris Accord, and suddenly decide that America could take their money and shove it, suddenly the American dollar greatly loses its value and the economy would collapse. It wouldn’t matter how much money you had stored away in the bank or an old shoe box under the bed. You mind as well use that for kindling to keep warm for the winter now. Hope you’re all happy about all those jobs that were supposed to be created by not participating. Now we are all just as good as what jobs we can do that produce goods or services we can barter with.
Now, is this an extreme and more importantly, an unrealistically frightening extreme?
Sure. However, that brings us to another point of why “NFG people” are so fascinating. “NFG People” never seem to actually succumb to any of the dangers they are outwardly oblivious too. “NFG People” don’t get hit by the tornadoes, they don’t get taken down in the terrorist attack, they aren’t going to collapse the economy, and they always seem to choose the right cup for the Holy Grail. “NFG People” very literally get back from life, what they expect from life.
In closing, I’m not recommending anyone go out and mow their grass in a tornado, or do a keg stand during a terrorist attack.
However, I am encouraging everyone to consider how much the let fear run their own lives. How much is fear keeping you from being truly happy? From applying for the job you really want? For approaching that person and asking them out? From just being willing to go out and experience life to the fullest? I promise you, if you really think about it for a moment, you’ll realize, fear is probably keeping you from doing a lot of things you want to do. Most importantly though, at the end of the day, don’t ever let your own fears, prevent others from enjoying life.
Sometimes, to have the life you want, you have to be fearless enough to desire for others to have that same life as well. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a “NFG person” yourself. Then maybe you’ll be the next viral “NFG” photo we are all talking about.