Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)
TITLE: "Think before you leap"
By Daniel Kane
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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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