Mr Pudding threatened to send the International Blog Police to my street if I didn’t post. Normally, I would scoff at such a threat, but you may recall the last time I ended up in Blogjail. It wasn’t fun. I had my own cell, but the guards tormented me with repeated viewings of Battlestar Galactica 1980 and the Star Wars Christmas Special. If Ulric hadn’t pulled some strings to get me out of Blogjail, my brain would be green-cheese by now.
This past weekend, I went skydiving with Ulric in Snohomish. For many years, Ulric had wanted to skydive, but every time he planned an excursion, all of his friends who claimed they would go with him backed out at the last moment. “Enough!” “Ulric said, “I’ll do it by myself then.”
“I’ll go with you,” I said.
“No, no,” Ulric said. “It’s too rainy in Snohomish. What if you get your fur wet?”
“No matter,” I said. “No matter. After all, we’ll be tandem skydiving, so if the field is wet, I’ll just land on top of my skydive instructor.”
Ulric rallied, and off we went. We plunked down our money (though I paid in Bradley Enterprises tee-shirts) and the training began. There was one glitch in the whole plan: due to the weight limits, Ulric could have a skydive instructor with him, but I had to jump solo. At 451 lbs (32.21 stone), no one wanted me landing on top of the skydive instructor or anyone else.
As we flew up into the clouds, the winds buffeted the sides of our little plane. “We might have a weight issue,” Ulric’s skydive instructor said nervously, casting surreptitious looks at me. “I think Brad the Gorilla should jump first.”
“No, no,” I said. “Ulric must jump first.”
This detail was important. Ulric told me that if he got scared at the last moment, I had to be the one to push him out of the plane. As it turned out, Ulric was wise to insist upon this matter. The winds were so strong that Ulric couldn’t even get his foot onto the platform to jump. With a heave-ho, out they went and sailed into free fall.
Then, the surly voice of the cameraman said, “Brad, you’re up next.”
“Hem, hem, I think I need to eat a banana first to settle my stomach,” I replied. Maybe a little scotch and—wait, wait, what are you doing? You can’t push me out! Who is flying the plane? Wait, I change my mind, I--- aieeeeeee!”
Over I went, and after a few moments, the cameraman jumped after me.
What a glorious fall! For a moment, I thought the parachute wasn’t going to open. “That’s it, old friend,” I said to myself. “You’re a goner.” But then, the parachute opened and I felt as if I were flying like the fabled gorilla-bird of antiquity.
The skydive itself was exhilarating. However, the motion sickness from all the twisting and turning was enough to make Ulric green around the gills. Even my fur had a greenish tinge. Both Ulric and I managed to keep our guts intact, however, and we settled our stomachs with plenty of ginger beer. Ulric got a DVD of the event, but unfortunately, the footage of my jump got a bit scrambled. All that came of it was the one motion-capture shot you see here:
Update: by overwhelming popular request, here are some framable cards of my skydiving experience.