Friday, December 18, 2009

The Optimist Bucket List - Item 6

I am at one of life's crossroads where limitations are becoming more and more defined. Some things you simply are no longer supposed to do but you can either use the rejection as motivation or can the whole idea because the rules won't change at the end of the day.

In every amusement park on the planet there are signs that tell the youngsters they have to be this tall in order to ride the big kid rides. In their case they simply have to be patient, wait a few years and add some poundage before they can tackle the "Devil's Pet" or some other such rollercoaster thrill.

I'm middle aged. Not young anymore but not yet ready for the knackers' yard either so age isn't the issue here. I'm also fat but here again this is not necessarily the primary concern for what I want to do. I can lose the weight I'd love to be rid of but would probably still come in as simply being too big for what I want to accomplish. I want to go sky diving.

In the film "The Bucket List" Morgan Freeman's character famously yelled at Jack Nicholson for being completely out of his mind for talking him in to going sky diving. Then he screamed like a school girl as he and his tandem partner jumped out of the airplane. Freeman's character is concerned with living out the remainder of his time on Earth with grace, humility and dignity for past accomplishments. He's content to rest on his laurels; he's old and he's proud of it. Old people don't do crazy things like jump out of airplanes. They don't get to be old by doing dumb sh-tuff.

Item 6 on my Bucket List is one of the few that I share with the film. For a one-time jump including instructions and a tandem diver I have yet to see the cost exceed $300. A favorite expression of mine is having "wasted more money on a whole lot less" so expense is not the issue either. No, it was reading further in to the fine print that I found my institutional rejection: most diving companies will not accept candidates greater than 250 pounds.

You've seen the cartoons - the chute opens at the critical moment only to find it is actually an ACME anvil or perhaps to shred beyond repair, snap its lines and go skittering in to the atmosphere, leaving Daffy Duck screaming for Jesus all the way down to the ground. Where's Bugs "Ain't I a Stinker" Bunny? Floating blithely to the ground chewing a carrot and holding a pair of scissors. Scissors or no, for me the effect would be the same.

Injuries are common occurrences when it comes to novice sky divers who didn't get the landing quite right. They broke a bone, so what? Those injuries and stories are common-place; they lived and they have one heck of a memory to share. Few companies, however, are interested in risking their equipment, employees and reputation to heft the likes of me in to the sky unsure of whether or not I will pancake myself and my diving partner several feet in to the dirt as soon as we touch down. Think Wile E. Coyote crawling from the crater he made at the bottom of the canyon.

Clearly I have some work and convincing to do. Maybe when I show up for my dive I'll bring Mrs. Butterworth with me.

Gotta go!

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