Saturday, January 23, 2010

Embracing The Wind

More than twenty years ago, about a year after arriving in Texas, I allowed myself to be talked into a revolutionary cure for acrophobia. I was twenty-six and, for the very first time, I yielded to peer pressure. I didn't like being afraid of anything and was naively convinced I was bullet-proof and immortal. That is how I came to throw myself out of an airplane.

Air travel is not something I was fearful of. Not then anyway. I am more conscientious about it now. The idea of sitting next to someone with a potentially exploding crotch does not engender confidence or a sense of well being. No, it was the concept of free-fall that gave me the most anxiety.

I recalled a couple of statements after the second jump. Yes, Gentle Reader, I did it twice in one afternoon. The first was from an unknown source: "Why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?" And the other from the jump instructor: "Remember to roll on impact". The first statements' response is self evident in its conclusion. No one in their right mind would 'want' to. It takes a particular kind of madness to go for it. But the second statement had a more far-reaching transcendental value to it.

Remember to roll on impact. Not a bad bit of advice, that. Whether it's jumping out of a plane or out of a bed. In these particularly choppy times, when the ground seems to be rushing up to swallow you--remember to roll on impact. When it appears that you are a dumping ground for all the slings and arrows of other people's outrageous expectations--remember to roll on impact. When you perceive how you are about to be the innocent victim of collateral damage in a collision course between an irresistable force and an immovable object--remember to roll on impact.

I'm still afraid of heights. So much for the 'cure'. But I am actually more afraid of the sudden stop at the end of the journey downward. I make it a point to remind myself daily to roll on impact whenever I attempt to rise above my limitations.

A helmet doesn't hurt, either.


  1. Very sound advice to be applied to all situations.
    The thought of going anywhere these days, especially by plane is not an attractive proposition.
    Hope the snow is clearing or at any rate manageable.

  2. Sitting in my warm and tastefully appointed studio, I find it very easy to 'manage' the accumulation. It doesn't intrude upon me so I return the favour. There's more on the way so I'm putting the pot on and settling in for a comfortable coze with my needle and thread.

  3. Acrophobia: Another quality we share. I want a parachute when I'm a foot off the ground on a stepstool. Sometime I'll tell the story of Trying To Wash The Outside of the Transom.

    Rolling upon impact would not need discipline on my part...if I ever, ever jumped out of a plane my body would telescope in on itself, upon landing, into a ball shape without forethought.

  4. Some people have all the luck....It is no doubt due to your resilient and bouncy personality.

    Washing the transom----intriguing. I hope we won't have to wait too long for this. Your exploits give me a great deal of pleasure; especially when related in your own imitable way.