My friend Ray was walking down the aisle at Shop ’n Save with two mutual friends of ours and I heard him say, “Mike won’t do it.”
At the time, I was lining up cans of peas on the shelf so that the Jolly Green Giant was looking out at the customers. It wasn’t some OCD thing; I was working there at the time.
But I had heard them mention my name, and I replied, “Mike won’t do what?”
That’s when I learned that Ray was planning a skydiving expedition. Well, I had to go. I didn’t want my friends to think I was chicken. I had a serious case of Marty McFly Syndrome.
A few days later, we were driving off to an airstrip in Canton, Ohio. I was petrified.
Let me be clear. I was terrified of jumping. I wasn’t afraid of Canton, Ohio.
We spent several hours training on the proper use of the equipment. We learned how to operate the parachute. We learned how to use the emergency parachute if the main parachute didn’t open.
I asked, “What do we do if the emergency chute doesn’t open?”
The instructor replied, “Curl up into a ball, and kiss your (butt) goodbye.”
Side note: There’s an old joke about a paratrooper. The Army sergeant says to the private, “Once you jump, there will be a jeep there to pick you up after you land.” The private jumped out of the plane and his chute didn’t open. He tried the reserve chute, and it didn’t open. He said, “Great. I bet the jeep won’t be there to pick me up either.”
I paraphrased the joke and shortened it. Now it’s just a paraphrased paratrooper paragraph.
But I digress, like I do.
I jumped. I actually had to. We went up in a tiny plane. The pilot was the only one who had a seat. I had to kneel next to the pilot on a metal floor. I couldn’t lean forward because I would hit some of the controls. It was very uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait to get off that plane. And I did. Mid-flight.
I was told to stand on the wing and wait for instructions on when to let go.
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Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here.