Now I have experience jumping out of a airplane already however it was with the Army. Airborne training however is quite different than skydiving. For one the Army connects you to what they call a "static line." A static line is a fixed cord, one end of which is attached to your parachute whilst the other end is attached to the aircraft. The static line is around 15 feet in length and, as it pulls tight upon exiting the aircraft, it opens the parachute regardless of actions taken or not taken by you.
Skydiving on the other hand your first 100 times or so you go tandem. This means you have some stoner with a degree in "Falling and Gravity" and hopefully a advanced degree in how to pull the emergency chute strapped to your ass. I sat and spoke to a few of them for a little while about the life of a skydive instructor and after a few questions and mildly coherent sentences I was certain I was about to die. Picture an airborne Jeff Spicoli from the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." These guys life consists of traveling like nomads from drop zone to drop zone and living like gypsies in camp grounds. Where ever the weather will hold up long enough to get their ass in the air. The shower policy is the same as though you where to go camping. Very liberal.
This feeling of certain death was amplified when they explained that because of the wind and that we were only a small group we would be taking a smaller plane up to drop as to save of fuel. When I spied the runway the only other aircraft was the equivalent of a kite. Also keep in mind my good friend Charles Delia just a week before passed away while doing something equally as insane (white water rafting) and he was a few years younger than me. So death was not far from my mind.
Now allow me to speak to you about the fact that it isn't always what you say but instead how you say it. So is the fact with the word "uhm." The word uhm usually means that the person saying it has no clue what they are talking about. However given to the right person in the right place and it can be completely calming. Next time you are in an airplane and your pilot dressed like a hobo with his pants sagging comes over the microphone imagine what would happen if he said "What up bitches?! We about to take this piece up to 20,000 feet then fly straight towards the sun till we bang a left at the Atlantic Ocean and land this pig hopefully n the ground. Peace I'm out!" The following reaction would be anarchy. A mad scramble for the door and to get the hell off the plane. Now say scenario and the pilot with his steely blue eyes, crisp clean uniform and says in his calm, cool voice "this is your pilot speaking and uhm we are about to take the aircraft up to 20,000 feet. We will be crossing through New York and Philadelphia and uhm... enjoy the scenery along the way. Uhm... we should be touching down safe and sound uhm... in about an hour or so." Ahhhhh... You can just feel your sphincter loosen already.
I told you that so I could tell you this about the guy strapped to my backside, while I was waiting to hurl my body out of a moving aircraft. My friend Amy had a little guy from Chili that barely spoke English attached to her. I on the other hand had a big guy from Australia tied to me. Again not what you say so much but how you say it. The little Chilean told Amy she was going to be fine as he stared at her tits. In his defense Amy has a beautiful new pair of Gummy Bears and they are fun to look at. However his voice alone I am certain gave no one piece of mind. Now the Australian could see I was a little nervous and so he comes over and just easily says in his thick Aussie accent "No worries here mate. Piece of piss here really. Uhm... all you got to do is uhm... sit down on the edge and lean your head back on my shoulder here and uhm... I'll do the rest. You just enjoy the ride." Now I have never found a man sexy, however in that moment...
I digress. Even with this new bit of Australian courage I found myself in a funny spot just before leaving the plane. You see before we made our grand exit we sat on the ledge of the plane with the door wide open and my legs dangling off the side in the air. I have never been big on organized religion. Although in that moment I prayed. I really did. I remember saying silently "I don't know who or what you are. Like the comedian Kathleen Madigan says "With so many religions and beliefs one of us has to be wrong. What if we get to heaven and God is an old guy riding a John Deer tractor like Forest Gump with a "Who Farted" hat?" That will piss off a lot of Muslims and Christians. I remember going on to say I know I have sinned a lot according to my Catholic upbringing however I please forgive me. I asked for the well being of my kids, my parents and grand parents and all my friends and even my ex-wife. All this praying and I didn't once think about saying a prayer for the well being and strength of the big Aussie strapped to my posterior!
Should I have updated my will? I know at last revision I left everything to my now ex-wife. I am also pretty nicely insured and I don't think I want to give her extra incentive to off me should I stick this landing. How do I want to be remembered? I mean who the hell is going to plan my funeral? I should have written some of this down somewhere for someone to find. I don't want a sad obituary either.
OK so some thoughts started to seep in about death. I remembered I wrote down some thoughts on it not so long ago:
+ Death is definitely a real buzz kill. especially if you go out hooked up to all sorts of machines to keep you half alive. We all want to go out in either a blaze of glory, nice and easy while we sleep or just after a great orgasm.
+ No one really knows how to capture your personality in your obituary unless you were a boring do nothing. "Frank died at age 82. He has 3 cats and loved stamp collecting... " SNORE! No one really reads those things anyway unless you are close to the person that died or there is an interesting story. Picture is of some old dude with liver spots sitting there in his hover-around of course that guy is dead. I mean we all have to go sometime. So for my obituary first of all use a good picture and feel free to Photoshop in a few Asian hookers.
+ Now for the obituary itself something like "Charles died at age 41 he liked good booze, loose women and traveling to countries that had weak enforcement prostitution and gambling. He loved his children, family and friends. He discovered East Beckistan and invented yogurt..." Who the hell actually call you out on it? Seriously who would be a dick enough to go check?
+ Now the actual funeral I want it to be a fun scene. I mean if clothing stores in the mall can have a DJ why can't I? All my family and friends will be on the VIP list and can skip the line. Advertise the night for a few weeks in advance. Funeral homes are sad and they suck! Rent a hall, have waitresses with bottle service, get shot girls dressed like total whores and have a Jagermeister promo. What better way to meet Jesus than with a buzz on after a wet t-shirt contest. Feel free to break a few laws and blame it all on me! Sell tickets at the door with the proceeds going to my kids and rent a spot light and a red carpet for the party. Pay for the whole thing by telling them to bill me. Fuck I'll be dead!
The rest of the day was absolutely amazing! While in the Army I had the opportunity to jump out of a plane or two however nothing exhilarating like this. I even think I peed myself a little. The jump was a total adrenaline rush from even before we left the ground. Many thanks to my great friend Amy Ryan and also thank you to God whoever you are for the safe landing.