Sunday, July 5, 2015

Living to Tell the Tale

People may wonder why I even attempted that high-ropes course.

It was that damn 24-ounce Blue Moon. That's why.

After that beer I knew I could do it.  Sure, the course looked challenging, but I’d zip lined in three different countries.  And lived to tell the tale. 

So I bought my $15 ticket and left Dave in charge of the camera so he could document my audacious adventure.   My adrenalin was pumping as I stood in line with all the other teenagers.  

Except the line was hardly moving, and I was thirsty for another Blue Moon. To that end, I decided to leave and return in the morning.

I’m not sure how it happened, but sometime during the night they added another story to the structure.  And a bungee rope at the end of the course.

I looked up at the ropes course that had looked so fun (and achievable) just 10 hours earlier.  I gulped. 

I could do this.  Even the bungee.  I jumped out of an airplane once.   And lived to tell the tale.

I was the first customer of the day.  Which, I supposed, was good.  If I fell off a rope and remained precariously suspended in mid-air, fewer people be witnesses to the humiliation.

I joked nervously with the small army of teenage boys who hooked me into my wedgie maker harness.  My pulse began to quicken as I began my ascent to the ropes.  

At the top of the stairs I contemplated the rope course.  OMG.  Who did they think I was, Nic Wallenda?  

I took my first steps.  Looking ahead, not down.  

Because looking down reminded me that I was balancing on a rope five miles in the air.

The first rope bridge I crossed had little boards every foot or so.  No problem.  Except each stinkin’ rope after that got increasingly challenging. Then came Zip Line #1.   

“You go first,” I said to the teenage rope attendant (let’s call him “Tyler”).

Tyler leaned back, lifted his feet and zoomed across effortlessly.

As did I.  Screaming the entire way.  

I looked down to see if Dave had witnessed my achievement.  He did.  Along with a small crowd of spectators.  Damn.

It was time to ascend to the top level, where the difficulty of the ropes increased exponentially. 

Please don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say by the end I was walking across dental floss. 

However, with great determination and focus I made it through Zip Line #2 and the rest of the top-floor course.  I was feeling good about myself until I remembered.  

The bungee.

Another teenager, Justin, was manning the bungee platform.

“You go first”, I said to Tyler.   He jumped.

“Did he splat?” I asked Justin.

“Nope,” Justin assured me as he transferred my cables to the bungee cord.

I looked down to see what must have been the entire population of a day camp field trip sitting below. Watching my every move.  “Jump! Jump! Jump!” they chanted.  

Like I was some jumper on the Golden Gate Bridge or something.  Bunch of sociopaths.

I had no choice.  

I took a step.

And landed on my butt on the launch pad. 

I tried to ignore the giggles from below.  I stood up and brushed off my pants,  took a bigger step.

And landed safely.  No splat.  

I faced my audience, and took a bow as the small army of teenagers removed harnesses.

"Can I do it again?" I asked Tyler.

"Sure," he said, clearly surprised at my new-found bravery.

"Just checking," I said, as headed off to get a much needed Blue Moon.

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