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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)

TITLE: "Think before you leap"
By Daniel Kane


“Look before you leap.” Excellent advice, and not just in regard to chess knights. It's also a saying which I frequently repeat to myself. Sometimes, of course I forget, which isn't a very good idea when your favourite hobby is jumping off the roof of your house.

I don't really know how I got that hobby. I think it's partly because nobody else does it. I find a certain thrill in casting myself out into empty space. Normally I'm fine. I leap, I fall, I land, I get a bit bruised but nothing worse. I've actually never broken anything bigger than a toe, and always because I make sure that before I jump I check that there isn't a big rock beneath me. This one time I forgot. I was rather giddy from six previous jumps, and so I wasn't thinking straight. I leapt out. I felt the wind whistling past my body. I prepared to land, knees bent, hunched over to roll on impact. I landed. I heard a yelp, a snarl, and I felt the fangs of my Doberman, Mouse, sinking into my calf. I screamed. Not that I blame Mouse for biting me. After all, I'd just broken his leg, so it was only fair.

I really like that saying, “look before you leap.” It's no doubt saved my life loads of times. However, I've noticed a slight flaw in it. I realized this error when I was in the bungee-jump queue at Victoria falls. As I stood in line, I heard the screams, yells, or laughs from other jump fans as they hurled themselves off into nothingness. Then it was my turn. The cord was attached around my ankles. I poised on the edge of the bridge, and remembering my incident with Mouse I checked to see that no crocs were lurking in the water below. Not that it would make any difference if there were, since I didn't plan to hit the water. In fact, if I were to hit the water from that height it would no doubt kill me. As I realized that, I felt a sick chill run through my body. I looked over the edge and for the first time ever I felt afraid. I stood there. Then I shook off my irrational fear. I had looked. It was safe. I'd be fine. I jumped.

Have you ever vomited while hurling through the air? I don't recommend it. I realized on that day that the saying is missing quite a bit. Rather than a simple “Look before you leap” it should be “Look before you leap, and then think about whether leaping is a good idea, and if it is, leap, and if not, don't.” Since that's a bit too long, I guess it could be shortened to “Look and think before you leap”. Well, once I decided on this alteration to my motto I haven't been quite so wild and free in my jumping. Once I was high up in a pine tree and I planned to jump out, but when I thought about it I realized that the pile of leaves I'd planned to land in was a bit too far away. I climbed down instead. However, I've recently decided that I've become too afraid and cautious of jumping. I've had enough. This is a dumb thing to do, but I'm gonna do it anyway. I've thought through all the perils, all the worries, all the consequences, concluded that it's the single most stupid thing I have ever aspired to do in my life, and yet here I am. Ready to jump out of this aeroplane with the board strapped to my feet. Air-boarding they call it. If my parachute decides to malfunction I'm a dead man. But, hey. Who cares about consequence?

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This article has been read 398 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kellie Henningsen09/10/10
Funny! I like the humor in this peice. I thought you were going to climb down out of the tree and rake the pile of leaves closer. LOL Fun take on the topic and...I like the expanded motto.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/11/10
This was a fun read. My daughter vomited the one and only time she went skydiving. I think your reluctance to jump just means you're getting older. My husband used to love those daring adventure, but now that he's hit his 40 s he's a tad reluctant to jump from a plane.
Sharon Kane09/13/10
This was fun to read. The image of vomiting while free falling was truly disgusting, and I'm glad you chose not to elaborate!
Sarah Heywood09/15/10
I enjoyed this - you are definitely a lot braver than I am!

Good writing!
Nancy Sullivan 09/16/10
You hurled when you hurled? Not a good thing. As an acrophobe, I'll have to settle for "enjoying" your adventures on FW. Congratulations on your well-deserved 2nd place.
Loren T. Lowery09/17/10
Way to go, Daniel. Your work is developing very nicely while keeping your unique take on life and sense of humor. Never lose that creative edge, it sets you apart. Congratulations on your placement!
Sharon Kane09/18/10
Congratulations Daniel. (I had no trouble spotting this as your entry!) Very well done indeed, but please don't go jumping out of the plane on the way home!