Hi, this is not Chris here, but his wife Jean.
Chris is… so many things. He’s multifaceted, complicated and also a walking talking collection of contradictions. He’s highly intelligent, but also incredibly stupid when he does impulsive things that aren’t to his advantage or well being, either because he’s in a mentally lazy mood, or he’s in a state of emotional overreaction.
Chris is very well spoken and articulate, but often to a fault when he gets obsessed by a subject and then he drones on endlessly about it, until I’m ready to scream and tear my hair out. Sometimes the only thing to do, is to just leave the house, and hope that he’s off his rant when I come back. I’ve often had dreams about Chris talking endlessly to me, and I wish that wasn’t really true, but it is.
But here’s one of those contradictions that makes Chris who he is. Chris is his boss’s official business letter writer for conflict resolution situations involving customers and business associates. This is because when business and money is involved, Chris can write short but direct and very persuasive letters, that often help to resolve a conflict in his company’s favor. Chris has also written at least three speeches for his boss to deliver at trade association meetings and business conventions. I know that the people who have followed this blog will find this hard to believe, but it’s true.
I think it’s because Chris is a money player, and he’s much more tightly focused and clear with both his written and verbal communication when there’s money on the line. So maybe I should get something like a Taxi cab meter for here at home, and when Chris starts to go into one of his endless rants, I’ll tell him that the meter is running, and he’s being charged 50 cents a word. lol :-)
Chris is also an adrenaline junkie who has a long history of getting off on endangering his own life by doing very dangerous things that could get him killed. During our honeymoon in Hawaii, I thought that Chris was going to turn me from a newlywed into a widow, when he suddenly walked off our hiking trail and ventured fifty yards out onto the very narrow three foot wide knife edge of a cliff, with 2,000 foot vertical drops on both sides. Chris spent the next 45 minutes out on that cliff taking photographs, while I hid behind a tree because I was terrified he was going to die, and I couldn’t stand to watch it happen.
But nothing bad happened, and we both went on to have a wonderful honeymoon together in Hawaii, in spite of some unpleasant weather events that weren’t Chris’s fault. Speaking of honeymoons and related topics, I will say that Chris is the most genuinely heartfelt and originally romantic man that I’ve ever known, and the things he has said and done, often coming as a surprise that I was never expecting, have made my heart just melt with love for him. But unlike Chris, I’m not going to tell you all about our sex life in more detail than you ever wanted to know, because I’m also a woman and I know better.
Fun Random True Fact About Chris: When we were hiking at the top of Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire several summers ago, we saw a large thunderstorm quickly approaching in our direction. Since Franconia Ridge is above the tree line and totally exposed to bad weather, it’s a very dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm because getting hit by lightning is very real possibility. So of course I thought that Chris would probably shout a few frustrated obscene words to curse our goddamn fucking shitty luck, and then reluctantly head back down the ridge to escape the danger from the storm.
But instead, Chris defiantly climbed up on a high rocky ledge, and began yelling directly at the thunderstorm, in a loudly obscene tirade that insulted the thunderstorm’s “masculinity”. And no, no drugs or alcohol were involved. When I told Chris to get his ass back down off that ledge and get us the hell off the ridge, he glowered scornfully down at me and sneered “Why? Because of this gutless little limp wristed pussy of a storm? No fucking way!”
Then he looked up in the sky at the darkening clouds and yelled “Cummon! Hit me! You pathetic little fake excuse for a storm! Yeah, I’m talking to you! Do you see any other storms around here? Well all I see is YOU! And you got NOTHING!!! Show me what you really got, cause I don’t think you’ve got the balls to fuck with me! Hit me with your best shot! What? Nothing? I’m already standing on the highest point up here, so what are you waiting for? Go ahead and fire away! Either show me you’re for real, or get the fuck out of here! What? Do I need to point a fucking nine iron up in your face for you to take a shot at me?
“Chris!!! This is NOT funny!” I yelled furiously at him! “Are you out of your flippin’ mind?! Get down off that ledge RIGHT NOW and hike your fucking deranged and crazy ass down off this goddamn RIDGE!!!”
But Chris just briefly looked down at me and replied “Go ahead and go on down yourself, Jean. And then you can hike your ass back up here, when this candy assed pansy of a storm blows far away from here, and veers off to the Southeast without even so much as raining on us.” Then he was glowering up at the sky again and shouting “Right, pin prick little dick storm? You don’t even have the balls to RAIN on me!!!”
I’d had enough of this dangerous insanity and started heading for the trail that led back down the ridge, but I stopped when I heard Chris yelling at the storm again. “YEAH!!! That’s right! Keep on moving and just blow your pathetic little no balls storm right on outta here! Go see if you can bluff some fools Southeast of here into thinking that you’re for real! Cause that’s not gonna happen up here and you know it! YEAH!!! You’d better run!!! And just keep on running, you pathetic little piece of shit!”
I looked out at the thunderstorm, and blinked twice when I saw that the storm really was veering off to the Southeast, just as my seemingly deranged husband had predicted that it would. ‘Did he know that all along?’ I silently wondered? ‘Or is he just bat shit crazy and very lucky?’ I decided to think that he knew the storm was going to miss us, and he was just messing with my head the whole time. Hey it might be true, and believing it was true made me feel less anxious about my husband’s state of mental health.
On several occasions before and during our marriage, I’ve seen Chris get himself into serious trouble, and then perform a minor miracle to get himself out of trouble unharmed. Like the time in 1992 when Chris impulsively went for a two mile swim out to an island in Casco Bay in coastal Maine. When I tried to warn him about the very dangerous currents that made swimming any distance out in the bay a very bad idea, Chris just blew me off, telling me that I was being overcautious, and there was nothing to worry about.
After Chris swam to the first island, he impulsively swam out to a second island farther out in the bay, and then on to a third island, where he was caught in one of those currents that I tried to warn him about. The result was that Chris spent over seven hours swimming in bone chilling cold Maine ocean water, while a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spent all day trying to find him. But the USCG helicopter couldn’t find Chris, because he was five nautical miles out in the bay, and they never looked for him that far away from shore.
Chris was finally spotted and rescued by a sailboat in the waters between the second and third island, where he was making an almost superhuman effort trying to swim back against the current, and he had covered over two nautical miles of distance swimming against the current back towards his original starting point. Chris was rushed by an ambulance to a hospital in Brunswick Maine. The ER doctors told me that his core body temperature was 82 degrees, and he was in a severe state of hypothermia that would have caused him to become unconscious and drown, if he had been in the water for 15 minutes longer, instead of being picked up and rescued by the sailboat.
Chris still holds the unofficial record in Harpswell Maine, for being the only person to swim for over seven hours in the cold ocean waters off the coast of Harpswell Neck, and survive.
Chris almost died that day, but I was the one who suffered the most, going through endless hours of emotional anguish while thinking that I’d never see my husband alive again. Of course I was overjoyed when I finally got the call telling me that he had been found, and he was going to live. Then soon after that, I wanted to kill him myself.
But Chris has always had a flair for the dramatic, and I got a vividly unforgettable demonstration of that on the day we first met. I know he’s told this story here before, but I can verify that he really did save my life on the day we first met, during a scuba dive off the coast of Gloucester, Mass. An example of his contradictory nature, is that although Chris has done some astoundingly stupid and dangerous things, he is also a skilled and meticulously careful scuba diver who never deviates from his dive plan, and he never takes foolish risks while scuba diving.
I wouldn’t be here writing this, if Chris hadn’t been able to perform another miracle to save both my life and his own, while faced with a life threatening and nearly impossible situation involving rough seas and big waves crashing into the huge rocky ledges on the shore. But Chris is the most fearless man I have ever known, and his ability to remain calm and think clearly during a crisis is truly amazing. This is why he was able to save me from drowning, and to also save us both, when he was able to spot the only place on a two mile long shoreline, where we could get out of the water without being killed by the storm surf crashing us against the big rocks and ledges.
Chris had the presence of mind to not swim too close to the shoreline while looking for a safe place for us come in, since he knew that we could be suddenly swept into the surf zone and dashed against the rocks. But this meant that he had to keep us on the surface at least two hundred yards off shore, which made it that much harder for him to see where we could safely come in. We were also getting repeatedly buried by big waves rolling over us, which made it even more difficult for Chris to locate a safe shore exit.
Time was also working against us, because I was getting very cold to the point of going into hypothermia, and I was also breathing from Chris’s air supply using his alternate regulator, since my own tank was empty. Even though we were on the surface, we had to breathe through our regulators, because using our snorkels would have been almost impossible with the big waves rolling over us.
But in spite of all this, Chris stayed calm and focused while he held firmly onto my left arm and repeatedly kicked his fins hard enough to rise up above the crests of the waves and see the shoreline. He was able to spot a small thirty foot wide round stone beach in between two large ledges, and he knew as soon as he saw it, that this was our best hope of getting out of the water alive. But he still waited long enough to watch and time the wave sets, so he knew when to swim in for the beach while we were in between the biggest of the waves.
He looked at me and yelled “We’re going in right now, so swim as hard as you can!” With his right arm tightly held onto my left arm, we both kicked our fins hard for the shore, and as soon as our knees were on the submerged round stones of the beach, Chris grabbed me and dragged me out of the water, and he didn’t stop until we were far enough away to be out of range from the big waves racing in behind us. It was a near perfect text book diving emergency rescue, and obviously Chris made a very big impression on me that day, because we’ve been together ever since.
Maybe we really should move to a tropical diving paradise in the Caribbean, where Chris and I could go diving together every day. This would not only be a wonderful experience, but also a way to give Chris less time to do the really stupid and dangerous shit that he does, when he’s not scuba diving. ;-)