Why Jump?

For Father’s Day I was given passes for two for a local skydiving company. The passes include 3 tandem jumps for training and 2 solo passes, one set each for my wife and I, from my mother-in-law. I received them in the mail early last week. I eventually called her to thank her for this gift. It took me a few days because I really couldn’t figure out why she would give me skydiving anything as a gift. Before you start asking, yes, she is aware I don’t fly. Which is what was hard to figure out for me. If I don’t fly what would make her think I would voluntarily just out of a perfectly good airplane on purpose or for recreation. I had but one simple question to ask her. Which was “why in the hell would you give skydiving passes to someone who HATES flying much less the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane? Why? Why? Why?” I was actually surprised at her answer as well as pretty annoyed. She told me, with a cheesy giggle no less, that she forgot. WTF? So I’m at a loss at this point. I still don’t understand how one forgets that a person doesn’t ever fly, never. I will possibly will have some free passes to a good home since I will NEVER be using them………ever.

Man was not meant to fly. That, of course, is my own opinion. I look in the mirror and do not see wings or feathers which means I wasn’t designed to fly. Falling like a brick is more what the human body was designed for if I were to be asked. Who in their right might jumps from a plane on purpose? Have you ever jumped out of a plane for recreation? I can say, with some experience, that I would not enjoy skydiving. How can I say that? Easy, while in the Air Force part of my training was just that, jumping out of an airplane. I can’t and won’t get into why, but if I was on a plane transporting munitions and that plane had inflight problems, the first thing they ditch is the hazardous materials, the second thing that goes is the dumbass who was babysitting it all. Needless to say, I have 13 jumps at various heights to qualified/certified to do my job at that time which I also will not be talking about. 13 out of 13 times I didn’t enjoy jumping from an airplane. In fact, it terrified the shit out of me.
My wife, on the other hand has jumped a few times for recreation. I will tell you what I think about that, just like I tell her, she’s a dumbass. I won’t even let her discuss it in front of me because I don’t want to hear anything about it, good or bad. Now, sadly, I haven’t spoke 3 words to my wife since Father’s Day (for a different reason) so I don’t know her whole part in all of this yet. I do know she has spoke with her mother and she wants to know when we are going. But, my wife’s pride is getting in the way, so before she knows it the passes will be gone to a good home before she ever talks to me about it. I have no desire at all to jump ever again, or to fly. I have not flown since the summer of 1999 on purpose. My fears may be irrational to some, but they are mine and no I don’t want to overcome them, I like them, they keep me from doing anything stupid. Unlike many on this planet, I have no desire to fly and test the limits of my mind and body, I’m simple like that. I don’t really have a bucket list per say, but jumping out of an airplane for no reason is on my top ten in my fuckit list I know that for sure.

For clarification, the image used in this post was found using a search on Bing and is assumed to be royalty free as well as I claim no ownership of the image, I’m just borrowing it for illustration.

How I lost My Faith In God

Original Re-Post 14 Febuary 2012
I get asked this question alot, especially from people who know I grew up Catholic. What? Did he just say he grew up Catholic? Y’all heard me right. For as long back as I can recall, it was church on Wednesday and Mass every Sunday. I was in Catholic school preparing for Catholic high school when the summer before I had a life altering experience. I had always questioned God and his existence most of my life. In fact, my quest was so deep that I was on the road to become a priest so I would understand the answer when I found it.In the summer of 1983, my life changed forever. Before I actually begin, I must mention that I had been flying with my dad for the 3 years prior. This summer was going to be the summer I solo’ed in an Ultralight to get my amateurs pilot license. I really liked to fly, up to that day, flying is all I could ever think about. I had a few weeks to practice up on my skills and prepare my self as well as my Ultralight for the big day. My dad lived in the outer edges of nowhere in podunk South Dakota so when a kid, 14, is after getting his pilots license, it makes the evening news. I had a short interview with the host and then it was time for me to go. Was I nervous? Not really, I was prepared and ready. I was very excited. My dad started the engine, patted me on the head and gave me his sun glasses because it was very bright and he didn’t want me to get blinded by the sun. I taxi’ed off and then I was airborn. I had left the surface of the Earth to fly where birds fly. About 13 minutes into my maneuvers I was gaining altitude to make my final turn to come around for my landing. This is when everything went bad.

This part is speculation and interpretation of what was thought to have happened. The FAA deemed it an unavoidable accident with no one or nothing at fault. My dad says I hit a wind shear from what he saw and the t.v. news footage shows the same. When I made that final gain of altitude, my Ultralight “nosed up” and caused a stall in the engine. At which time I saw myself rolling over into a steep dive to the ground, from 1600 feet in the air at about 83 mph. The assumption is this is the point where I blacked out. I have no memory of it all until I woke up in the hospital 3 1/2 weeks later. I had flashes of the accident but they didn’t seem real, they seems like I was seeing someone else’s dream. I was informed that I had broken 73 bones, some of which included both legs, both arms, both wrists, all of my fingers, and my jaw. I had a punctured lung and a puntured kidney. All I knew was I was in pain and I wished for death. I bear the scars of that day God decided to let me die, some physical, some mental. I spent 3 months healing and learning how to walk again, eating thru a feeding tube. During the early weeks of therapy I was told I was D.O.A. when getting to the hospital. Doctors fought hard to bring me back to life and patch me up. The priest came to see me in the hospital, prayed for me and watched over me like one of God’s soldiers. This added to the confusion, God wanted me dead. I have watched the footage of my crash many 100’s of times and still can’t explain it.

So, I healed. Went back to Texas. Except the plans had changed. I was no longer going to be going to Catholic high school. I was going home to pack and move to South Dakota to live with my dad and work with him. 2 days before I was to be picked up by my dad, we got a phone call. The phone call was from my grand mother, to tell me my dad had died earlier that morning. How? Ironically, in a crash not much unlike my own. With one exception, the doctors were unable to fix him, score one for God. We left immediately to go to the funeral. I buried my father, a man who loved to fly almost as much as me. I mourned for him. I still wonder if he is happy where he is, where ever that is. It is not often a loved ones death is captured on tape, my dad’s death was, and I have watched it many times also. The FAA case determined my dad’s crash as a mechanical failure/ mechanical fatigue.

Where is this “Loving God” I had learned to fear? Why won’t God answer me? My freshman year of high school I made the choice to turn my back on God, religion, and faith. I had been lied to. I couldn’t find the truth because it does not exist. I have spent the rest of my life depending on the people around me, as they depend on me. I make no secrets that I do not believe in God and I do not fantasize that God exists. I am not mad at God any more or any less. There just isn’t any room for fictitious folklore in my life and I challenge humanity to prove to me (and themselves) that God does exist.

I have spent most of my life trying to remember what it was like to be dead. I will never know what happened to me exactly. I will never know how I survived such a destructive crash. I am here on planet Earth because doctors knew how to fix broken people. I value the time I have with my family, this time is precious to me. I never know when it might be the last time I see them.

I haven’t flown for recreation since that day. Since I joined the Air Force, following in the footsteps of my dad, I have had to fly quite a bit. When I retired in 1999, I made my last flight and have not been on an airplane since. I hate flying, it scares me, and I have made the choice to avoid it at all costs. I changed on the day I died, I lost my love for many things I held dear. I lost my dad, but I know he died doing something he absolutely loved, flying high, as the birds would fly.