Daring others can be dangerous

By Kelli Stevens

For some, proving others wrong is a hobby. The words “I bet you wouldn’t…” are powerful motivators, resulting in many outlandish acts. These feats can be funny, scary and everything in between.

I once made the bold statement, "Becky, you’d never have the guts to go and pet that guy’s mullet!" Normally, I would have been right, but after receiving this challenge, Becky promptly marched over to caress the man’s gray and flowing "business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back" masterpiece. My friends and I were, of course, highly amused.

Sometimes, however, that kind of entertainment can have higher stakes–like the night a guy named Don decided to respond to a friend’s accusation that Don "wasn’t as fun as he used to be."

Offended by the smear to his reputation, Don crawled atop a barstool for an immediate (and awful) striptease. Don was soon having fun with a burly bouncer.

Spiting people to eke out their disgust is as common as trying to entertain them. Think back to that kid in high school who always responded to jeers of "you wouldn’t eat (blank) in a million years!" I saw an example of this particular brand of spite when I witnessed a first-year take his friends up on a bet to eat someone else’s vomit.

Beyond being disgusting, acting out of spite can also be downright dangerous. An astonishing number of wounds result from people who seek to demonstrate superhuman abilities. Driving, snowboarding, cycling, even socializing are among the plethora of activities that can become deadly by reacting to claims like "too bad you’ll never be able to…"

So, we’ve got amusement, trouble, disgust and danger as possible endings for those who attempt to prove others wrong. Would you believe it’s also possible to combine all four endings?

It is.

For me, it was the night my friend Steve introduced me to his brother. Steve and I had spent about a year tormenting each other, but the night with his brother brought things to a whole new level.

It was during Drink a Small Town Dry (an amazing event, thought up by a certain University of Calgary alumnus). Steve was standing beside his brother. I was teasing Steve. He responded by jesting, "this is my brother, but don’t talk to him–he’d never be interested in the likes of you."

What was this? A challenge? There is nothing I liked better. So, I set out to prove him wrong and it wasn’t long before the brother and I were attached at the lips.

The kissing session was interrupted by my roommate’s cries of "no, my eyes!"

Turns out the joke was on me. Steve hadn’t told me of his brother’s reputation. From his nickname to the urban legends all about him, this was one guy that should have stayed away from.

Completing my conquest out of spite for Steve was thus simultaneously amusing, troublesome, disgusting and dangerous. Mere moments had passed before Steve and his friends informed me that I, along with two or three hundred other girls, had contracted "The Foul."

Fortunately, enough time has passed that I’ve been able to shed those foul kissing cooties, but I shudder to think what could have happened. So please, take my advice and think twice before rushing headlong into your next "I’ll show you!" moment.

Leave a comment