Ever since I could remember I've wanted to fly. I remember waking up in the middle of the night so happy because I had just dreamt that I had joined Ororo and Superman above the clouds for a game of hide and seek... But then I would come crashing back to reality to find that I really only had a quick nocturnal fantasy right before consciousness because somebody had soaked my sheets straight through. I swear to God that it was always the dog.
Anyway, all through college and then beyond I've had friends who would tell me about their experiences jumping out of planes and how "so incredibly fucking shittingly cool" they were. Unfortunately those jumpers only really knew of my desire to jump, fly, chute after they had already done it. Even my good (hot chick) buddy from high school, frail little Kim, jumped when she was a senior in college and called me a complete pussy for waiting so long to do it myself.
So there I was, getting de-masculinized by petite hot chicks and tall fat fucks (I'm talking about you, Don) who claimed to have more balls in their pinkies than I did between my... Wait, that doesn't make any sense. The point is they kept ragging me for talking big, but never doing anything to back my mouth up. I mean seriously, how long did they know me? This whole plane-jumping thing couldn't have surprised them after making prior announcements that I would someday "bone Nicole Kidman" and "punch Mr. Moore (our junior year World History teacher) right in his fat fucking face" in front of his wife and kids. Not to be too obvious, but Ms. Kidman was/is way too hot for me and Mr. Moore so could have handed me my own ass... The point is I was always a big talker. But as you know big talk is just talk unless, unless you're backing it up. And this time I planned to back it up.
I then began my flying crusade by trying to find other people who wanted to jump. I knew I didn't have much if any machismo left to defend, but I just wanted to soar with the birdies before I die in that horrible horrible emu-mauling accident that Bob From the Future keeps reminding me is right around the corner. So everybody that I knew and/or met for a good 3 years was told of my desire to jump from a moving airplane (preferably with a parachute on my back). And finally, Mehve called me up one day a few months ago and said, "Rossman, you were the guy who said he wanted to skydive, right? 'Cause, like, I know some people who want to do it. You wanna come?" It was what I had been waiting for. I stood up, shouted, "Yes! When?!", threw some pants on, and then wrote my will up in preparation of the adrenaline-pumping adventure (I seriously thought my chances of going *splat* were 50/50). Three weeks later, the four of us met at the airstrip in West West Georgia (it was so West that it was practically in Mississippi... Yeah, I know geography, that was a joke, retard). We got there at about noon, and then we did it... We waited for FIVE HOURS.
See, it was the middle of monsoon season in Georgia (it hadn't stopped raining for 4 weeks), and that's bad news for skydivers. Apparently you have to have visibility of 15,000 miles before you can jump. Otherwise you... Well, I don't know. The wait completely sucked though. That's that. We watched the guitarist from ZZ Top explain "how not to sue the jumping company" for a few hours on the looped tape that was in the VCR... but that kinda got boring, so then Mehve and I started ogling the hot chicks who were packing their chutes and trying on their pink and yellow tight tight jumpsuits (I swear to GOD that if I had the money I'd take up skydiving full time! Apparently the only people who do it for sport are really hot and tight girls with very large... propellers). That took up a LOT of time, and soon the first trips of the day were taking place. The sky had opened up a bit and the lower level (5 thousand feet) jumpers were going to try their luck. They were the pros who'd already been certified and had their own gear and shit. Mehve, Jill, Jack and I were all first timer pussies who had to jump tandem with a certified jumper strapped to each of our asses. But anyway, we all ran outside to watch the first divers hit the drop zone (which was in the small field right next to the main skydiving HQ building). Well, they came in fast and hard, and all of their exposed skin was red and welted causing quite an alarm in us noobies as we all wondered if pain and blisters was really part of the jumping experience. Turned out that they jumped right through a hail cloud and were pelted for about 10 seconds of freefall (which is 120 MPH). That didn't do much to settle my nerves.
Soon though the skies were a lot less gray and a bit more blue. Since Mehve and I were originally supposed to jump at around 1PM, and there were delayed flights since 10 that morning, we still had a bit of time to wait. But in the meantime we got to watch the 5 pro hotties (they were pro-hotties, but I meant that they were professional jumpers, tsk) jump over and over, and bend over repacking their chutes over and over again. That really made time fly (I got a million of them!). Before we knew it they were calling our names. Mehve was assigned Hulk Hogan as his tandem jumper, and I got mini-Keanu (which was ironic cause we were really jumping from the actual plane used in Point Break... Personally I think everybody should have their first jump be from the Point Break plane). Mini-Keanu was pretty cool. He calmed me down and walked me through what to expect and how to handle the jump. See, mini-Keanu had jumped over 4,400 times by the time he got to me, so that alone made me feel that my survival chances were higher than 50%. After talking to him I figured I had a good 7 in 9 chance of walking away without my spleen in my throat. Thems are good odds.
After being given my goggles, I was marched out to the plane. Mehve and I were escorted to the back door and were crammed into the very front of the compartment, right outside the cockpit. We would be the last fuckers to jump. Then the real wait began. It seemed like hours, but I was told later that it only took about 10 minutes to climb to 14,000 feet for the jump. Before us, though, there was a group of formation jumpers who were competing that day. They all jumped out at 10,000 and were hootin' and hollerin' as soon as the rear door opened. That got my heart racing even more than it pathetically already was. I looked over at Mehve a few times and noticed that he seemed drowsy... Almost asleep. He looked like he just read a 145 page booklet of stereo instructions and was trying to keep awake without the use of caffeine. It kind of pissed me off. My cardio system was about to shoot adrenalin out of my eyesockets, and he was half out of it. I asked him if he was nervous and he said, "Eh." I was about to respond with a "You lying sack of turtle shit!" but they reopened the door again and told us to get ready to jump.
Before I go into the actual skydive itself (you've seen the pictures, you know I did it), let me tell you about my "jumping statement." See, I had this guy video taping me for the jump (it'd would have been great evidence that I wasn't in my right state of mind in case any lawsuits were necessary later on), and right before I was to launch myself from the safety of the mechanical flying machine I was going to say something witty and memorable to the cameraman to make myself seem funny and awesome. I planned something like, "Going DOOOOWN!" or "Wait, this isn't the train station!!!" I even thought about something a little less topical and a little more meaningful like "Goooooooo Georgia Bulldogs!!!" But, as mini-Keanu pushed and shoved me to the doorway and I placed my right foot one inch away from oblivion I completely froze. Mini-Keanu had to slap my hand off of the metal bar used by the formation jumpers (to hold on to so that they all fall at once) that he had already told me not to grab on to (he told me to hold onto my harness, because he was going to push me out of the plane one way or another, and if I held on to the actual plane "it could get awful messy"). I looked straight into the camera like a small woodland creature into speeding headlights and I found that I couldn't even open my mouth. Then came the push. Only by watching the videotape after it was all said and done did I find out that I stood speechless in the doorway for only about 4 seconds (it seemed longer than the flight up), but even then that shove came as a huge surprise to me. If you watch my lips you can clearly see me screaming out, "HOLY FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!" as mini-Keanu propelled me into nothingness.
After falling for 5 seconds panic began to set in. I couldn't breath! Shit! Fuck! I was going to suffocate before I even got the parachute open!!! Those bastards!!! But then I remembered mini-Keanu telling me about this right before boarding the PB plane. He said, "Now, the first moments of freefall might be a bit scary since you might feel like you can't breathe because you're moving too fast. That's common, and it'll be because you're holding your breath. BREATHE." As Mehve put it later, "Any sport in which they have to remind you to breathe is AWESOME!"
So there I was, falling at 120 MPH three miles above the Earth, with a cameraman five feet away from me, a stupid grin on my face, and finally oxygen in my lungs. What an incredifuckingtastic feeling! Freefalling is one of the greatest sensations I've ever experienced in my lonely lonely life! The closest thing to it is jumping off that 3 story highdive at the public pool during the summer. Where you leave your stomach at the top of the diving board, and your brain starts getting freaked out because you've been in the air for too long without touching ground or water. It's like that except for 30-40 seconds! Wow! It's just... WOW!
Anyway, so I gave the cameraman a couple of high fives (oh man, HIGH fives! Yeah!) and then basically ignored my tandem pro-jumper as he tried to show me his altimeter that said it was time to pull the chute. I had seriously forgotten that he was still there! You can't feel him on your back, and your attention is kinda focused on the guy in the orange jumpsuit with the camera on his helmet who's waving at you to get some good Kodak moments. I then tried to pull the ripcord out, but it wouldn't budge. I shrugged to the camera and figured mini-Keanu would pull it himself if we got dangerously low, it just meant more time for me to fly. Mini-Keanu then started making wild gestures to the altimeter and kept doing the "jerking off" motion with his hand to either tell me that he really liked me or that I had to pull the cord OR WE WOULD DIE. I didn't want to die with a guy strapped to my back, so I pulled the ripcord with all my might and we came screeching to a halt as 45,000 pounds of jerking thrust came focusing in on my crotch. It's a helluva wakeup call.
The canopy part of the jump was enjoyable. Very calming compared to the freefall portion. I think that flying towards terra firma was the better part of the whole thing, but the canopy trip wasn't all that bad. Just quiet. Everything comes back into focus again; sights, sounds, unpopped ears. The only scary part about floating with the chute deployed came when mini-Keanu told me he was going to loosen the harness a bit. We were still almost 2 miles up and the world was slowly gliding below us. I felt a little tug on the harness and thought "That wasn't that bad," but then I fell two inches in an instant and grabbed mini-Keanu's legs to save me from plummeting to my roadkill inspired doom. Mini-Keanu just chuckled and said, "Heh, that wouldn't have saved you. I just would have landed pantsless and would have had a good excuse for the cops for dropping you."
After landing softer than if I had plopped five inches into a puffy chair, I stood up, shook mini-Keanu's hand, and adjusted my crotch harness. I had survived to plague the world for another day! Huzzah!
That was pretty cool. I don't know what the Rossman got so worked up about though. It was fun and a bit exciting, but he was pretty much peeing his pants the whole day. On the plane ride up to 14,000 I thought his bladder was going to explode and soak us all. Eh, he's always been overemotional.
Now, am I supposed to rate HIS skydiving experience or my own here? 'Cause this doesn't make sense. I think the Rossman had a good time. He kept shouting "Woo HOO!" the whole two hour trip back to town. As for me, yeah, it was fun. I'd do it again. I just wouldn't do those burgers again though. Not that they were bad or anything (mine was actually really tasty), it's just that we ordered them from the guy in the chef trailer, behind the jump school, like before Jill and Jack even got on the plane for their jump (which was the next plane ride after ours, and we didn't get served until after they safely landed, talked about the experience for a while and then left for home. It took about 45 minutes to get two welldone burgers from that guy. Seriously, what's up with that? Did he have to carve the meat from the cow himself? Scary thought, but I think I remembered that one dog there as having all four legs before we went up in the plane ourselves. Yikes!
Dammit! The Rossman survived! That just makes me wonder who's parachute I DID replace with all that silverware... GODDAMMIT!!!