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Sunday, March 31, 2013

37. The Skydivers

Billie decided she wanted to go skydiving for her 60th birthday.  She researched the various groups and styles and decided she didn’t want a tandem jump, she’d go for the full training and solo jump  with a coach jumping next to her with whom she’d be in contact via radio during the fall. 

After much time both in the classroom and in practice jumps, she was ready.  Ron, one of the instructors, went with her and would jump simultaneously out of the plane with her while connected to a radio so they would be able to communicate during the jump.  Billie, an avowed liberal, didn’t like the idea, especially knowing that Ron was a conservative.  She hadn’t liked him from the start of training and was quite unhappy that he would be going with her on her jump.

Both Ron and Billie exited the plane at a very high altitude.  Billie found the rush of free falling  especially exhilarating.  She played with different positions, seeing which ones increased her speed and which ones slowed her down. 

After falling for several thousand feet, Ron came on the radio.

Ron: “Billie, you need to begin getting into position to pull your rip cord.”

Billie: “Oh Ron, I’m having way too much fun to think about slowing down now!”

Ron:  “I understand but you need to pull the cord while there is plenty of time.  We don’t want anything bad to happen to spoil such a good day!”

Billie: “You conservatives, always so gloom and doom, such Henny Pennys! .  I’m fine, I’m having a great time – nothing bad has happened so far!”

Ron:  “Billie, pull the damn rip cord NOW!  Or you’ll end up smashing into the ground!”

Billie:  “There you go again!  Worried about something that may never happen.  Everything is going just fine here, sure seems sustainable to me!  I certainly am not going to ruin my birthday with your negativity!”

Ron: “Dammit Billy – you’ll ruin the day for everyone if you get killed.  Pull the rip cord!”

Billie:  “Why should I worry about those who follow, especially since you can only really speculate as to the outcome.  When I see the problem actually affecting me, I’ll take action.”

Ron: “Go ahead then. “ 

With that, Ron pulled his rip cord, his chute inflated and Billie continued rapidly downward. 

About 100 feet above the ground, Billie finally realized Ron was right.  She quickly pulled her ripcord, but there was no time for her chute to inflate and slow her down.  She hit the ground and immediately died. 

Billie’s equally liberal husband sued the skydiving school that Billie wasn’t properly informed of the risk and the actions she was to take. 

The school presented the conversation between Ron and Billie as evidence.  It was thrown out by the courts and Billie’s husband was awarded $2.5 million for his pain and suffering. 

Ron was fired from his job.