The older I get, the more I reflect back over my life. As I’ve done so, I have come to one undeniable conclusion: My life has been about as exciting as a plate of meatless, sauceless, spiceless pasta.

Yes, I did sow a few wild oats when I was young. I remember one time as a teenager I jumped over a campfire. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue. I was young and stupid. Reflecting back, I may have missed my chance at fame that night. If I hadn’t jumped as high or had been slower, today I could be known as the inventor of a fashion fad — singed-bottom pants. Still, most of my wild oats were about as zesty as a bowl of oatmeal.

I did ride a bicycle all over creation (well, Bellmead) when I was young. Of course I never did willies or tricks like my brother, Kenny, and his best friend, Greg Wade. They used to stack scraps of wood and make a ramp to jump their bikes over. Their bikes would fly up off the ramp, a death-defying four feet into the air, landing in our carport. The boys would then spin their bikes to a quick stop just before crashing into a hedge of bushes. My job was to knock the ramp down before Mom came out, had a conniption and put a stop to what they were doing. It was a harrowing job. They grew up to drive racecars while I painted the number on my brother’s car. Kenny doesn’t race any longer, but Greg, now in his 50s, occasionally still drives a sprint car.

While I rode a bicycle many times, I only rode a motorcycle once. Even then it was as a passenger. It was only a small rice burner, but I remember hanging on for dear life. It was a “come-to-Jesus” experience in which I promised myself and God that if I ever lived through it, I would never ride on one of those death traps again. As I reflect back, it was the same promise I made about most of the carnival rides I have been on. So far I have kept these promises and have no plans on breaking them in the future.

It’s not that I’m a coward. It’s just I’ve never been into things which have a high probability of pain or death. I remember a bully in high school who liked to pick on some of the other kids. Being that I was always short and scrawny, I knew it would only be a matter of time before he set his gaze on me. When he did, I jumped up, got in his face and told him if he wanted to fight, I was ready to go outside and settle it right then. Yes, I was a scrappy kid in those days. Reflecting back on the incident, it was probably a good thing he freaked out and never bothered me again because I had to stand on my tip-toes to get in his face.

Needless to say, there are a lot of things which I have never done and are not on my bucket list. Things like eating Fugu. Eating a meat which will kill you if it isn’t prepared just right, only to discover it tastes just like chicken, isn’t something I’m willing to chance. I’m also not one who considers climbing a mountain as a fun challenge. I have a real dislike for cold and the thought of freezing to death in the high altitude isn’t for someone like me who doesn’t want to even take the ice bucket challenge.

I don’t plan on ever rubbing bacon grease on my body and swimming with piranhas either. Although I do consider this infinitely safer than saying, “I don’t like cats,” at a Cat Lovers Convention. Now that would be a death wish.

Yes, my life may have been as exciting as melba toast, but I look at it this way: I might not have had a life the other way.

John Kemp is a retired graphic artist and computer graphics instructor from Lacy Lakeview who now writes e-books. Colleagues on the Trib Board of Contributors have dubbed him the “Mark Twain of the Tribune-Herald.”