In a restricted entry of several months ago, I briefly mentioned an episode (about fifteen years ago) in which someone attempted to kill me. On Tuesday of last week, I was telling the story more fully to my neighbors Claudia and Ren.
At the time of the attack, I was very frustrated and upset with what was happening in my life, and had elevated levels of adrenaline and of cortisol. That may have saved my life.
As I sat in a lounge, I was approached by a very large fellow; he was well over six feet tall, and well over 200 pounds. (By comparison, I’m about 5 ft 10 in and I probably weighed something less that 150 pounds.) He told me that I were telepathically disrupting his thoughts.
I grimly noted to myself that here was one more thing gone wrong. Then, aware of the underlying humor but expressing myself in a serious manner, I asked
Would it help if I moved to the other side of the room?
His reply was
No, but I think I know what would.
If I killed you. He lifted a chair with which to strike me.
I shot to my feet, and grabbed the chair by a cross-piece. He found that he couldn’t much move it — which was because my body was so wired. (I was holding it with just one hand, keeping the other immediately free; but, with what was in my blood-stream, one hand was enough.)
Thwarted, he listened as I tried reasoning with him, and I talked him out of trying to kill me.
Claudia wanted to know what I’d said to him. After all these years, I simply don’t remember.
She also asserted that my reäction was unusual; that most other people would have attempted to shield themselves with their arms while cowering in their seats. Until she made that assertion, I’d not thought about that point; but I believe that she’s right. A typical person would probably have done that, perhaps crying for help or for mercy. Had I done that, I would have had my arms fractured and my head injured; I might have been killed.
But, as far as I can recall, none of the typical response occurred to me; I didn’t even consider doing those things. I don’t think that I calculated that such a reäction would fail; I just didn’t give thought to responding in that way. (After I had hold of the chair, I considered calling for help, but decided to bring the situation under control without assistance.)
So, after Claudia’s assertion, the scientist in me asked why not. The best answer that I have is that my actual reäction was implicit in my ethos. While I’d never given conscious thought to the question of what my childhood rôle models would do in a situation such as that, and didn’t ask myself in that moment, I was responding much as any one of them would. Curt Newton would have grabbed the chair; Solomon Kane would have grabbed the chair.