Klavan On The Culture

Stop Me Before I Jump Again

When I was working toward my pilot’s license, a friend of mine, a paraglider, was always chiding me:  telling me I was working on the wrong thing, I ought to take up gliding, on and on.  Only trouble was, every month or so, this guy would show up with his leg in a cast or his arm in a sling or a bandage wrapped around somewhere.  Plus all his paragliding friends were missing body parts or on crutches or in wheelchairs.  One even flew into a mountainside and got himself killed.  “You guys are the worst advertisement for paragliding ever,” I told them once…  which somehow they didn’t find all that funny.

However, the truth was, I was charmed by the bravado of it all and always wanted to try it out, so this past vacation in Aspen I visited Aspen Paragliding where the owner Alex took me on a flight off what I would guess was a 3,000 – 3,500 foot high mountain.  And I have to admit:  it was a pure thrill, an absolute joy.  For those interested, here are some pix:

Before:  my face frozen in a rictus of terror as I contemplate jumping off the cliff.

You can see my grim determination as I struggle to stop Alex from pushing me to my death.

If you put your ear to the monitor, you can hear me screaming.

I regained consciousness in mere hours, which I’m told is some sort of record.

More seriously, I had the time of my life.  I won’t take it up too regularly due to a vague yearning to live long enough to see my grandchildren, but I would like to do it solo one of these days.  Anyway, I truly recommend the experience for anyone who feels he has lived quite long enough.