I am an Earth sign, and therefore prefer to have my feet and wheels firmly attached to the ground at all times. A little bunny hop here, a jump shot there, but otherwise you will find me plodding, rather than skipping through life. I have never, nor will I ever board a roller coaster. I have never, nor will I ever go skydiving. I have never and will never go scuba diving. I have grudgingly rock climbed over the years and only show an affinity for that through my determination to not be separated from the solid rock and released into the air. I am much more Ferdinand the Bull than Red Bull.

There is a tree over a sinkhole here in the area that stands as a call to the brave, the dumb, the easily manipulated. It sways above the water some 40 feet. In 1991 I watched a buddy dive from it, over-rotate and land so flat on the water his hair didn’t get wet. After a 20 mile ride back home he confessed he could not breathe so good. The X-rays revealed a collapsed lung and two broken ribs.

I saw a crew of roofers force their intoxicated buddy up the tree and make him jump as a rite of passage, or just out of meanness. He stood there for 15 minutes before saying, “F- it, if I die I die!”. He did not die.

S’quatch was visiting this same sinkhole recently and witnessed a teenage girl fearlessly make the plunge and I think he actually swooned from admiration.

I once watched Dr. Detroit dive from the roof of my house into the swimming pool, clearing the concrete coping by inches.

I have seen Uncle Todd climb 100 ft. up an Australian Pine and then get the tree swinging in a lurching arc while he rode it.

Courage means lots of different things, but I think it is true to say courage is doing something in spite of the fact that it scares the shit out of you.

Stepping off over the abyss just reduces it to its most simple expression.

So, are you a jumper or not?

rooted in place

10 Responses to

  1. I’m a jumper only if there’s an established margin for error. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it can’t be tiny.

    For some jumps, if you don’t go in perfectly straight, you’re going to come away bruised or worse. One thing is almost certain – I will never go in perfectly straight, and don’t fancy water as a club.

    If you YouTube “tombstoning” there are some great videos of epic amateur leaps into the abyss.

  2. In my youth I was definitely a jumper. That time at your house was by no means my only brush with death. I have jumped out of trees, off of overpasses and out of a plane. This was all done usually under the influence of various substances. Except the plane, I was stone-cold sober, which might have been the problem. I will never again jump out of a plane.

    But with age comes wisdom. I have nothing to prove and so now I choose not to jump. This has caused confusion among my friends. Strange looks when I say “thanks but no thanks, I do not think I will ride that thing you are towing behind your boat that goes up at least 20 feet whilst we travel at over 30MPH”. So I guess you can call me a reformed jumper. Or in recovery. Maybe, like AA, I will always be a jumper but I take non-jumping days one at a time.
    Dr. D

  3. Jumper. I would ride roller coasters until I died. That said, the addition of children to my realm of responsibility has placed a little voice in my head that says, “Are you sure you want to do that?” followed by another that says, “Have you paid your life insurance premium, Daddy?”

    I still go down stairs on my mountain bike.

  4. Very interesting (and as always, well-written) post.
    I am not a jumper. I am a crawler. I remember watching an extremely drunk sax player onstage at Bullwinkle’s once. The band was quite large and he had to stand off to the side, down a few steps, inbetween his bits. That part of the stage was dark and from where I was sitting, I could see that he tapped each step carefully with his foot to gauge its height before he backed down it.
    This is pretty much the way I go through life. Not drunk and playing a sax, but still very cautiously.
    I went rock climbing once. It was horrible. I don’t do roller coasters, either. And I get in the water gently, I never dive.
    This makes me sad, but it’s the way I am.
    The bravest jumping I’ve ever done involved jumping into love and jumping into motherhood. Both of these things have turned out beautifully well, I have to say. Just goes to show…

  5. Jumper.

    I don’t take any risks these days (kids do change things don’t they?) but I still hop and I will jump big again.

    Most eXtreme activities can be done safely I think. If it can’t or I’m not qualified then I don’t go there.


  6. I’m a little of both. I used to LUUUUUV climbing up onto that sketchy railing at Squautch’s, and then simultaneously clamping my legs onto the “seat” while hurling myself into the abyss. …MAN, that was fun. And the zip line over my pool had potential. I am not, however, fond of jumping out of trees or off of cliff’s. There’s some psychological difference that freaks me out.