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Pickett Fences

Oh if Only

We wouldn't play with fire or count our chickens before they're hatched

July/August 2005

Jim Pickett
Jim Pickett
My, we're a messy lot. We don't pay attention. We are very hard to train. We make the same mistake over and over and over again, and even then we don't always learn our lesson. We're irrational and superstitious, prone to delusions of grandeur and immortality. We like to believe we are exceptions to the rule, we like to imagine that, in our case, consequences needn't be dithered over.

Because we're special, different, unique.

And then there's the denial. How we love to swaddle ourselves in cozy layers of the stuff, all the better to keep the terrors of reality at a safe distance. Clarity and consciousness hurt, after all.

If only we'd listen to the robot when he says "Danger, Will Robinson." If only we'd pay attention to that omniscient robot ...

Then we'd never go outside without a hat, we'd always wear sunscreen and sunglasses, and you bet we'd wait an hour before swimming. We'd avoid chicken salad at picnics and 7-Elevens. We'd wear our seat belts every time and drive the speed limit, always, and rotate the tires when we're supposed to and never roll through a stop sign. We'd wear a condom, each and every time our penis was going for a visit. If we didn't have our own penis, we'd have condoms at the ready, just in case one stopped by.

We'd keep the lights on.

We'd wear a helmet. We'd wear knee pads.

We'd brush and floss after every well-balanced, organic, free-range meal. We wouldn't bite off more than we can chew. We'd take our vitamins. We'd go out "for one" and stop after one. We'd arrive at least 15 minutes early. We'd get plenty of sleep and eat a good breakfast. We'd drink coffee in moderation, if at all. We'd definitely stay hydrated.

We'd do our homework, study for tests and meet our deadlines. We'd save for retirement. We'd balance our checkbook. We'd plan for everything. We'd make plans to plan. We wouldn't accept candy from strangers, or talk to strangers, or talk out of turn, or talk too loudly or talk trash. We wouldn't eat candy. We'd speak when spoken to.

We'd "Just say no" to the Lotto, to loud music, to cigarettes and to hang gliding, bungee jumping, anything with a parachute, needlepoint, skateboarding, rollerblading, hitchhiking, kickboxing, rock climbing, snorkeling, line dancing, fistfucking, salad tossing, gardening, petting zoos, rollercoasters, kindergarten, data entry, gym class, Benihanas, Renaissance Faires, yodeling, Madonna movies and to drugs.

We'd follow doctor's orders.

We'd forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones, cross that bridge when we come to it, take one day at a time, take time to smell the roses, live and let live and focus on what we have instead of what we haven't. We'd mind our own business. We wouldn't play with fire or count our chickens before they're hatched.

We wouldn't say "I love you." We wouldn't go for that promotion. We'd skip the audition. We'd stick close to home. We'd stick with chicken. We'd stick with who we know, with what we know, stay in our comfort zone on this side of the rainbow, thank you very much.

We'd wear sensible shoes. We'd wear underwear that wasn't too tight. We'd check for lumps. We'd be mindful of ozone warnings, steer clear of asbestos, avoid rubbernecking, read the ingredients and monitor all possible exposures to carcinogens. We'd come in before dark. We'd know when to stop.

If only we'd follow the rules, mind the gap, mind our p's and q's, listen to authority, dot all our i's and cross all our t's. If only we'd do what is best for us. If only we'd stop hemming and hawing and get with the program, fall into line, straighten up and fly right. If only we'd never run with scissors.

What a safe, beige world it would be. Not that there's anything wrong with beige ...

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This article was provided by Positively Aware. It is a part of the publication Positively Aware. Visit Positively Aware's website to find out more about the publication.
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