Well, as you know Monday turned out to be a real bummer, still, I don't suppose that traffic policeman thought it was too good either.
Tuesday actually started out to be a really great day, the culmination of considerable effort and concentration mixed with a healthy dose of pure fear.
For some time I had been feeling a bit depressed with middle age having arrived unannounced and after suffering my despair in silence for some time my wife finally attacked.
"For God's sake! Why don't you get off your fat, lazy arse and get out and do something exciting. It might take your mind off your age and will get you out from under my feet."
I stalked out in an offended huff and retired to the pub, drowning my sorrows in a couple of pints. I was leaning on the bar reading a newspaper that some previous customer had abandoned when it leapt off the page and hit me right between my eyes:
"Parachute Jumping. The ultimate thrill and adrenaline rush. Classes starting soon. Contact blah blah blah..."
I couldn't phone quick enough and I was soon registered as a trainee and eagerly anticipating the beginning of my life-changing activity.
When I told the dragon what I had done her scornful laugh cut me to the quick and when she went on to point out the danger involved to an elderly codger like me I began to have second thoughts. Unfortunately I had given the bloke on the phone my credit card details and a sizeable deposit had already been extracted.
There was no turning back.
A few days later I showed up for my first lesson and joined another couple of blokes who both seemed a lot younger, fitter and harder than me but I sucked in my gut and acted tough.
The tutor turned out to be a fellow of about my age and he seemed to know what he was doing. After taking us through a detailed description of what a parachute was and did he explained what our course would consist of and what he expected of us. It didn't seem too bad. How naïve I was.
Three times a week for two week I arrived home stiff and sore and aching in places that I didn't know actually existed on me. Our tutor had a very penetrating and grating voice and he seemed to like the sound of it. I fucking didn't and after the first two lessons I was beginning to hate him with a fervour that I hadn't felt for years.
His favourite philosophy that he drove into us unceasingly was:
"Three things to always remember and live by are:
1. Never Panic!
2. Always Think before Acting!
3. Ask lots of Questions!
He seemed determined to drum this into us until it became second nature and the sound of his voice bleating this out nearly drove me crazy. We got fitter and, I suppose, harder but with all my aches and pains it was hard to be sure but I suppose something was happening as I began to recover a lot quicker near the end of the course.
When he convinced me to jump off the perfectly safe deck of a perfectly good and safe truck to teach me how to roll on landing I knew that he had taken over completely. I was committed and couldn't see any manly way out.
Finally it was Tuesday and I had taken a day off work to make my very first jump. Sadly the day dawned sunny and clear with very little prospect of wind — a perfect day for parachuting. What a bummer! My last hope had faded.
With my jump suit on, a bulky chute strapped to my back and a smaller one resting on my chest I found myself walking across the grass to the small fragile looking plane that was squatted there, waiting, looking ominous.
True Story /