Monday, April 10, 2006


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.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Snohomish sounds like a made-up place... but your description seems authentic... Consequently, you have saved your skin. I understand the Blog Police were already on to you so if you get your ass kicked in some dark Seattle alley then don't blame me. I've never skydived myself and I don't suppose I ever will so thanks for the account.

Ulric said...

You've already forgotten that it was MY "Get Out of Jail Free" card that got you out of Blogjail. By the way, there are already rumors spreading that the crater you made in Snohomish was caused by a meteorite.

Brad the Gorilla said...

I've corrected the error. The jump must have addled my poor brainbox. How exciting about the meteorite rumor. I am thrilled to be part of history.

Mr Pudding, If you think Snohomish sounds made-up, try Skykomish, Puyallup (pyoo-AL-up), and Quillayute! These are all names of American Indian tribes.

Fridaysweb said...

I have always wanted to go skydiving, and hope to, sometime in the future. I've teetered on fear of heights for years, but have overcome that one. Rollercoasters scare me, going down, but it's not the's the fear of the car flying off the track (I've watched WAY too many corny "horror" flicks involving amusement parks). I believe skydiving may just be what I need to let go of all fears. Did you feel an excessive sense of freedom afterwards?

Brad the Gorilla said...

Friday: I think of skydiving as shock-treatment for fear of death. Free-fall is not an overrated experience by any means, but you can get similar senses of glorious freedom by running down a grassy hill, sledding, or even swinging on a swing. Speaking not as a gruff, manly representative of the great apes, but as your friend, Brad, I recommend you only do skydiving if you have a yearning and longing for the adventure of it. Otherwise, there are much less dangerous (and less expensive!) ways of dealing with your fears.:)

Nonny said...

That reminds me of when CLB went skydiving.

I'm sure glad you came through in one piece. My husband wants both of us to skydive sometime. I don't think I ever will personally. I'm printing off my framable card as we speak. I also thought about shrinking it down and then putting it in a keychain-how cool would that be?

Lady K said...

I LOVE nonny's keychain idea! I personally collect keychains of all sorts.

I am terrified of heights, so skydiving for me is probably not an option. Funny, though, I think about a hot air balloon ride every now and again...