Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 68
Surgery in Costa Rica
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow… what a ride!!!!!” Can I get a Tequila Sunrise please?
The first time you jump out of a perfectly good airplane, it is a very daunting task. Anyone who tells you they were not scared is a liar. When that door slides open, and you see the ground from 13,000 feet, your breathing becomes challenged, your mind goes blank. As you plummet toward earth at a terminal velocity speed of 124 mph, your blood flowing, your heart pounding, all other issues in your life seem to melt away; the only concern you have is whether or not your parachute will actually open. After what seems like the longest minute of your life, the canopy deploys above you, as you come to a screeching halt, and you can actually enjoy the scenery as you gently float to earth. The second my feet touched the ground, the first words out of my mouth were “Let’s do it again!”
As you become more proficient at this sport, you can obtain speeds of almost 200 mph, barreling along like a NASCAR racer. They say that the trauma to your body for each successful flight is similar to a small car accident, as the deceleration of the parachute opening, creates 3 to 4g pressure on your spine, as you slam on the brakes down to 15 mph. The most dangerous part of the entire ride is when you finally touch down, as one small mistake can face plant you into the dirt. In my life, I experienced 86 small collisions like this over a period of a few years, and a couple real fender benders as well.
“I will pay you $50” someone once said to me, “if you jump off that glacier.” I will do it for free, I replied, if you take my picture for me.