Does Not a Parachute Make

Last night my husband and I were sitting around in a circle talking with some friends while our son tore around the living room, basically tormenting each person in turn.  This had gone on for about thirty minutes before my husband looked and me and said, quite forcefully:

“That is your son.”
“No, he’s definitely yours.” I replied.  “You were the hyperactive one as a child.  I’ve heard the horror stories.  I’ve talked to your mom.”
“Yeah, but at least I didn’t jump off of a building,” he countered.
“…shut up.”

So I may have jumped off of a building when I was eight years old.  But you don’t understand…there were circumstances…

My cousin and I lived in a single story home on horse property with our grandmother growing up.  Despite his “I’m such a good boy, I never get into trouble,” exterior, he was a hellraiser when no adults were around.  And I was just the most gullible thing ever.  Like the time he convinced me that (in 1987, mind you) there was a company that created life-sized robot dolls that sold them to the general public for only $1k. 

Despite my crushing discovery that he was just pulling my leg I was totally willing to believe his next fabrication.  He convinced me that we could jump off of the roof and float gently to the ground by shoving our arms through the handles of plastic grocery bags and using them as parachutes.

We spent the next few hours carefully plotting and planning our daredevil stunt.  We walked the perimeter of the house, searching for the perfect place to climb up and the perfect place to dismount.  Like we had much choice.  We either climbed up the wall or the tree to get to the roof and we jumped off on the west side to avoid the cactus patch.

Next came what I believed to be the most dangerous part of the event.  Sneaking grocery bags out of the kitchen.  Now let’s get real, no one would have even raised an eyebrow if we picked up some plastic bags, we did it all the time.  But this was different.  We had to be stealthy, we had to be sneaky.  Basically, we had to make sure we weren’t questioned since I was the worst liar on Earth.

We scrambled out the back door, booty in hand, and scrambled up the wall and onto the roof before anyone could spot us.  We crept to the edge of the roof and looked down at the seven-foot expanse of dirt and rocks shimmering in the light of the setting sun.  It was at this point that a small seed of doubt crept in. Why was it that I didn’t realize until now that this entire scheme was dependent on me actually JUMPING OFF THE ROOF?  I looked at my cousin.  He looked back at me, a slight hint of amusement in his eyes. 

“Y-you first,” I stammered.
“No way,” he stated.  “You go first, or else you’ll back out after I go.”

Well, that was probably true.  I took a deep breath and crammed my arms through the handles of the grocery bag.  I took a step toward the edge. 

“Go on,” he urged.

The ground seemed to be moving farther and farther away.

In what seemed like two minutes but was actually the better part of an hour I gathered my wits, tugged the grocery bag handles to make sure they were in place, and closed my eyes. 

I won’t say that I jumped.  It was more of a slow roll toward the edge that resulted in a sort of pitched-forward motion and I was airborne. 

Yeah, that lasted all of about 1.4 seconds before I hit the ground in a tangled heap.

I learned several lessons that fateful day in 1987.  I learned that grocery bags do not, in fact, make good parachutes.  I learned that it is possible for your back to crack in more than ten places without breaking.  I learned that one should always jump feet first.  I also learned never to go first.  My cousin turned around, came down the ladder, and hit me with the ol' point-n-laugh. 

Unfortunately, I did not learn to stop letting him talk me into doing stupid things like this. 


  1. Baaahahaha I love that you jumped.


  3. To say that I "jumped" is a gross exaggeration of what actually happened. I am just not that graceful. LOL!!

  4. This is my favorite story! I am the evil cousin and there are so many more good ones to tell... Come on, make one about Amber Pranks