Chapters and Stories

Chapters and Stories

Section I – Hereʼs the Idea

Chapter 1 – Letʼs Go
Tells you how I fell into these varied careers and noticed their similarities. Begin to show how weʼll develop a calm approach to decision making in everyday and crisis events.

Stories: Superhero secrets, Captain Sully.

Chapter 2 – Iʼd Like You to Meet Your Radar
Describes the human brain as the command center on a Navy ship, but even better, with sensory inputs, associative powers, a memory bank of similar experiences, and the ability to form conclusions and enact responses.

Chapter 3 – Make Friends With Your Radar
You’ll become aware of the pattern associators at work in our remarkable brains.

Story: TASER time.

Chapter 4 – Trust Your Radar
Enhance your radarʼs situational awareness and learn to trust it. Realize that our human brain radars have a volume control and an on-off switch that are capable of leading us into some big sand traps.

Stories: Police Academy, Mr. Luckyʼs surgical adventures, Structure fire tunnel vision, Bleeding you could hear.

Chapter 5 – Decision Making
Proposes two easy decision making templates to use in countless situations. One from the anti-bullying world, and a second from the underwater scuba world used when things go wrong.

Stories: Cardiac arrests – take your own pulse first, Bully attack, Human Poseidon missile, From murky dive to magical encounter, Firefighter moths to a flame, Emergency Room – calm in the face of chaos, Oops – hazmat.

Section II – Applications: Key Information For Your Radar
These next chapters apply the trust your radar concept to some of lifeʼs usual aspects. This is radar training. It can save you a massive amount of trial and error mistakes.

Chapter 6 – Personal Safety
Discusses the common traits and behaviors of criminals. Strategies for avoidance and prevention of most crimes. Defensive options and some surprising insights on guns – Revolutionary War technology with no do-overs. The two rare cases when you really have to fight for survival, and how to do it.

Stories: Shot on the throne, No Go and Tell, Cops make distance too.

Chapter 7 – Safety in Numbers, The Carrier Battle Group
The power of one more. Make yourself a “tougher mark.”

Chapter 8 – Sizing Up People
The people we let into our lives can have a major impact on our happiness. Whether itʼs friends, intimate relationships, business partners, bosses, coworkers, marriage partners, landlord, roommates, or service workers; making good choices will go a long way toward a great life. This chapter introduces four easy to use human rating scales to provide a quick evaluation of other humans.

Stories: Cops and liars, Prep for your interview, Gym attack.

Chapter 9 – Letʼs Talk About Money
90% of your financial success is just sticking to the 4 basics. These are described in detail, especially the dangers of credit cards. The next 10% involves building your financial empire. Everything from your first checking account to low cost index fund investments, retirement plans, asset allocation, rebalancing your portfolio, getting a car, renting versus buying a home, and a unique section on “Where your savings should not be,” are clearly described.

Stories: Vending machine bandit, High rollinʼ doctors, The friendly rattlesnake of debt, John Bogleʼs awesome invention, How many cars can you drive at once, Sophisticated investor tragedy.

Chapter 10 – Choosing an Occupation
How to figure out what you really love.

Stories: Time passes anyway, The Federal Q siren and diesel growl, Be honest with yourself, Mr. Pancreas and Mr. Thumb, “Yes, our greens are mowed by microsurgeons.”

Chapter 11 – Health
The kind of ride you have on planet Earth is closely linked to your state of health. Chapter contains two sections. First, your body machine, discusses preventive maintenance, weight strategies, smoking, high blood pressure, head and neck injuries, sunburn, safe sex, the untold story of Hepatitis C from tattoos, piercings and shared razors, and locker room transmission of methicillin resistant Staph aureus.

Stories: Human body or major appliance, Mysterious shrinking wetsuit, The rip heard ʻround the precinct, Freshman 15, Secrets of the Lap Band operation, Luciferʼs nightmare, Hoselines and blood vessels, Brain matter means Game over, Firemen and their goggles, A bulletproof cop and melanoma, Pure Elvis.

The second section explores the care of your brainʼs mental command center. Topics include stress, bad thought patterns, perspective, and sleep deprivation.

Stories: In a sea of hammerheads, Medieval medicine – leeches, In golf you get what you think, The terrifying Pizza Dream.

Chapter 12 – Driving
Three tips to avoid the vast majority of accidents. Also covers defensive driving, distractions, and tales from the Aggressive Driving Unit.

Stories: “I dropped my quarter,” Pants afire, Victim ejector seat, Extrication party, Code 3, Lawyers lurk down the road, Watch for the second train.

Chapter 13 – Personal Organization
The beauty and majesty of the simple written list. How to organize your life on one legal pad.

Stories: Hospital scutdog, 6 hour surgery in a 4 pound bag, One rung at a time.

Section III – Radar Jammers: Things That Turn Your Radar Down or Off
Mild to moderate surprise – there are some big wrenches that get thrown into our mental machinery processes. They disrupt our clear thinking, divert our decision making apparatus, and sabotage acting in our best interests. Think of these wrenches as “Radar Jammers.” Some are obvious, some sneaky, some are even exalted sacred cows of our society. Youʼll soon be able to identify these radar jammers and unmask them.

Chapter 14 – Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction
These are the most obvious culprits for jamming our radars. Describes how our mammal brains are wired for trouble and lists surprising addiction risk factors. Provides a reasonable two part strategy for alcohol. Peer pressure deflection tricks are also introduced, as well as an objective discussion of marijuana.

Stories: Fire Safety Officer, Synchronize watches – happy hour is commencing, Fire bagpipe band story, After dinner drinks and power tools, Get off the khat.

Chapter 15 – Love, Infatuation, and Marriage
Explores the natural history of these phenomena. Mutual love is the euphoric, head over heels state; marriage is a legal contract. This is a decision of high importance to your future happiness and lifestyle. The presence of your full radar is requested. Other topics include: bad early relationship signs, how to handle breakups, how to fight fair, and cohabitation caveats.

Stories: Love is blind, Officer Freud and the domestic dispute call.

Chapter 16 – Religion
The mother of all sacred cows. Many issues are examined objectively: the concept of faith, why humans like religion, why they are so entrenched. Five problem areas are discussed: treatment of women, rigid thinking with lack of inquiry, obstruction of scientific discovery, violence, and money. Readers are encouraged to honestly examine their beliefs, and if they decide to participate in religion: do it with their radars on, free from any coercion, see it for what it is and isnʼt, donʼt force it on others, keep it out of government, and truly scrutinize any connections to the five problem areas. Rational approaches are proposed.

Stories: Fire in Mecca, Road patrol observation, Request aerial platform ladder.

Chapter 17 – Itʼs Too Complicated for You
Humans have an almost limitless capacity to over-complicate anything they get their paws on. The “itʼs really complicated” radar jamming technique is commonly used in many scams that bite anyone from ordinary people to highly educated experts. Three representative areas are described.

Stories: There is no surgical operation known to man that canʼt be clearly explained to a normal 10-year-old kid, “You single docs need life insurance,” Wild Idea – Calling all faiths.

Chapter 18 – Leave It to Us, We Claim to Know Things We Really Donʼt
A fraternal twin to “Itʼs too complicated for you.” This radar jammer tries to act like real helpers by preying on our doubt and uncertainty. Theyʼve created artificial complexity, assured you they have special intelligence, and confound honest inquiry; so just rely on them. Scams are exposed.

Chapter 19 – Peer Pressure
Everyone is familiar with this jammer, so the chapter does a quick overview of the types of pressure, then focuses on resistance techniques. Also: Stealth pressures exerted on teens and young adults by TV and Hollywood.

Stories: The evil nurse, Crime ride along, Aquanauts under pressure, He thought he missed the dive boat.

Chapter 20 – Toxic Relationships
Easy to identify from a distance in other people. Harder when the relationship is yours. A toxic relationship is an abusive one where you are manipulated by negative, unhealthy means. Types of toxics are described. Warning signs, characteristics, and interventions provided.

Story: Police stand by.

Chapter 21 – Anger and Rage
We all know anger is a natural emotion and part of life on this planet. Itʼs impossible to anger proof your life, but it is possible to train this beast and learn to fight constructively. A personal anger scale is developed, with easy to remember corresponding actions.

Stories: The Saga of Mr. Cookie, Pain scales, Cops lose it too, Comedy danger, Sometimes the upstanding citizen goes to jail.

Chapter 22 – The People Pleasing Problem
This is a brain circuit where someone continually puts the needs and requests of othersʼ ahead of their own. It doesnʼt sound so bad, but it is, and exacts a heavy price on the sufferer. Pre-planned options and a new mantra are proposed.

Story: Healthcare workers beware.

Chapter 23 – Sleep Deprivation
Modern society glorifies those who donʼt sleep, proclaiming them overachievers. Donʼt buy it. Studies investigating actual human performance under sleep deprived conditions are reviewed. Learn your personal sleep set-point.

Stories: Surgical poster children, The best fires happen at night, Cops have a rough schedule.

Chapter 24 – Performance Enhancing Drugs
Two classes of drugs are explored: one aimed at changing your body, the other at changing your mind. The physical type includes anabolic steroids, muscle building supplements, human growth hormone, and erythropoietin. Dangers and side effects are described. Drugs used for mental function, and sometimes weight loss, are caffeine and misused prescription stimulant drugs. Physiologic effects and a reasonable approach are offered.

Stories: Joe two times, Bicycle pile up, But you look marvelous.

Chapter 25 – Multitasking, Electronic Devices
Multitasking may seem more efficient on the surface, but actually takes more time in the end. Itʼs really not multitasking, itʼs switch-tasking, and the switch takes short but real time. Limits of conscious attention discussed.

Chapter 26 – The Need for Speed
Humans love to go fast. Weʼve got this radar jamming brain circuit, so letʼs deal with it. Some precautions are proposed and an overall guide. A frank discussion of a special human activity Iʼve seen from all my different career perspectives – motorcycles. “The Contract” is tendered.

Story: Ta-da!

Chapter 27 – Showing Off
This radar jammer upsets our mental risk versus reward calculator. It usually presents itself when weʼre around attractive people weʼre romantically interested in, older peers, or a cool crowd we want to impress.

Stories: The grand entrance, Lasso some sharks.

Chapter 28 – Fooling Around
As an amateur comedian, I try to find the humor in even tough situations – but, there are limits. An easy new rule for life is declared. Donʼt banish having fun, itʼs one of our greatest joys, just put it in the right place. Itʼs only a radar jammer if itʼs out of sequence.

Stories: The rockinʼ doc, Pranking the probie, Mud football.

Chapter 29 – Competition
Our society admires this radar jammer. As an unfortunate result, this leads to unreasonable expectations, misery, cheating, jealousy, bad winners, and sore losers. Beware of humans who are always in competition mode. This pushes them way up our Human Hardness scale.

Story: Little League gunplay.

Chapter 30 – Defending Honor, Saving Face, Getting the Last Word
You successfully overcame the big anger radar jammer. But you couldnʼt resist getting that little old last word in. You were almost out of the minefield, but you let a jammer talk you into kicking that last rock. Kablam.

Story: Domestic near-bliss.

Chapter 31– Discrimination
This radar jammer is pretty obvious. It involves pre-judging people as acceptable or unacceptable based on factors other than their personalities and actions. The usual culprits are gender, race, weight, age, sexual orientation, political party, religion, geographic or national origin, etc. Instead, use your new people evaluating skills to size up new people.

Chapter 32 – Fast Food and Overeating
Moderate surprise: our human brains have a special circuit that governs our intake of food. And surprise again: that circuit can be jammed and overridden by a particular mixture of sugar, fat, and salt. Recognition and multiple strategies are discussed.

Stories: Time the nutritionist, Babaloo and the sticky shotgun, What are those fish thinking?

Chapter 33 – Going to College, Leaving Home
This is a big milestone. You are now unsupervised, full time. Multiple radar jammers are screaming for your attention. A simple pearl of wisdom is offered. If followed, youʼll get the best of it without all the wasted time, unnecessarily slaughtered brain cells, misadventures, hangovers, looming deadlines, awful all-nighters, playing catch-up in courses, and most other pitfalls lurking in this tumultuous time of life.

Story: The dream of medical school and a C in a science class go together like ammonium nitrate fertilizer and gasoline.

Chapter 34 – Fear and Avoiding Change
Yes, we tend to blow off the future, as individuals and as a society. Four new sayings are introduced.

Stories: A brave firefighter and a brave doctor, Fires are close to our feet – Oh my!

Chapter 35 – Brain Disorders
Things go wrong with our lungs, kidneys, heart, bones – itʼs only reasonable theyʼd go bad in our most complex organ of all, the brain. Many of these conditions make their first appearance in the teen and young adult years; so it would be superlative for you to know something about them. You will cross paths with people who have these. If you learn how to identify the evil personality disorders, and maneuver around them, you will have a much happier life.

Story: Kuru.

Chapter 36 – War
“For God and Country.” Watch out – somebodyʼs gonna get hurt. Yes, sometimes you do have to fight, and war is truly necessary. Most times itʼs not. Make sure itʼs really one of those situations. Mission creep, global military presence, and power projection are questioned.

Stories: Gettysburg, Fire dump truck, VA hospital and forgotten wars.

Chapter 37 – When Radar Jammers Gang Up
Prepare for the advanced course. Realize that radar jammers can, and often do, link up to come at you in pairs, combinations, or even entire gangs. Enjoy the Radar Jammer Quiz – see if you can name the multiple jammers in these scenes.

Chapter 38 – Conclusions
My wish for you is to have the best, healthiest life you can. Adversity is inevitable, but now you have tools to evaluate people, chart your life course, care for yourself, clarify your finances, avoid toxic personalities, manage your anger, and improve your safety. Youʼve also learned to recognize and avoid the big and small sand traps that catch many humans. The way into those traps usually has a radar jammer or two waving people in. You now have the ability to light up these jammers and steer past them. Have fun with your new skills. Apply your new radar to your own life. Multiple quick examples are given.

Acknowledgments
Suggested Reading

AVOID LIFE’S SAND TRAPS