I wasn’t particularly interested in being careful as a young man, and I remember not being particularly bothered by some of my friends getting killed doing the same things that I was doing. Within a month two of my Air Force flying buddies got killed, oh-oh it was three if I expand it to a couple of months, and I just accepted that as part of the occupation that I had chosen. During my fifty years in Berkeley, quite a few of my friends died from various things, mostly avoidable if they had been as risk-averse as I am now. I don’t remember ever seeing a gun in anyone’s hand except for the various forms of legal authorities and yet at least half a dozen people I knew died from what they used to call “lead-poisoning.” That seems like the easiest form of risk to avoid. I do remember being at a party once and the host, a longtime friend, desperately wanted to show me his new German pistol. I declined because I knew it would have been loaded and he wanted to show off. “If doing something one time is stupid, don’t cultivate it as a habit.” That friend died in middle age of a disease that I considered easily avoidable.
Anyway, I think the best advice about being risk averse was the title of my blog a couple of days ago,
“Don’t be stupid even once.”