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One Crazy Item That’s Off My Bucket List for Good

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“Bucket List”.  The term is actually in the dictionary. Websters defines bucket list as “a list of things one has not done but wants to do before dying,  from the term to ‘kick the bucket’.  First known use 2006.”

Bucket list, of course, comes… from the 2006 Rob Reiner movie of the same name with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

The idea came to mind recently when Michelle Obama referenced her bucket list as a reason for getting bangs.  Mrs. Obama, who is approaching her 50th birthday, said she wasn’t allowed to bungee jump so she had gotten bangs instead, kind of a bucket list alternative.

Well, I’m here to tell the First Lady and anyone else who never bungee jumped, the bangs were the right choice!  I can say this with some degree of authority because I have bungee jumped, and it remains one of the most terrifying and stupid things I’ve ever done.

Back in the early 1990′s when bungee jumping was at the peak of its popularity, a group of radio station co-workers talked me in to taking the big leap.

The occasion was a friend’s wedding day and someone’s brilliant idea was to take a big plunge before my friend took the marital plunge. The idea seemed a little half-baked to me at the time and it remains so today.

But there I was… up on a 120-foot platform, live on the radio one Friday afternoon, for a  broadcast of radio guys bungee jumping over an asphalt parking lot. No net, no extra safety harness, no need to worry I was told. Bungee jumping was the latest rage and it was completely safe. Even when the test sand bag came untied during the practice jump and landed with a thud on the parking lot next to us, we were assured that bungee jumping was not risky.

Eventually, everyone else in the bungee jumping party executed their jump and the attention turned to executing me.  Making my way close to the edge of the bungee platform, I gave a quick look down.  I was terrified.  An uneasy mix of vertigo and a fear of heights overcame me and the one thing I was sure of was, I did not want to jump off of that platform with a large rubber band tied to my back.

This was all being broadcast live on the radio, but I was to scared to talk.  My co-workers laughed and called out to me from below, “just jump, Eddie, it’s no big deal! You’ll love it, man”. I heard them through the panic and realized if I didn’t jump, I would go down as one of the all-time biggest cowards ever, with the live radio recording to prove it.  It didn’t matter.  I stood frozen at the top of the platform for a long time.

And then I just jumped.  The feeling of falling and being out of control is still vivid in my mind.  Then, there was a sudden, big jerk of the bungee cord and I began to bounce up and down uncomfortably, until they finally cut me loose and I stumbled away uneasily.

Friends and fellow jumpers rushed over to ask if I liked the jump and if I was ready to jump again now that I’d finally gotten my courage together and seen how exhilarating and cool bungee jumping really was.

NO, NO, NO! No, I wasn’t exhilarated! No, I didn’t think it was cool and, no, I definitely wasn’t interested in trying it again!

About twenty years have passed since that frightening and embarrassing day, but I still remember that scared feeling and I’m still not interested in trying bungee jumping again.

If marking an item off your bucket list means risking kicking the bucket to do it, I’ll just get the bangs too, Mrs. Obama.

 

 

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