Recently I was reminded of my single bungee jumping life experience. It was a long time ago, back when I was in college on Spring break when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (if you ask my children). A handful of friends and I drove down to South Padre Beach. It was a weeklong break of acting stupid and doing stupid things—one of which was bungee jumping from a crane.
There were about ten cranes all lined up along the beach each set up holding a cage for stupid humans and a bungee cord. However, there was only one that was set up over the water. This particular setup allowed the jumper to actually enter the water during the first drop and then the subsequent bouncing would leave you above the water surface. My group considered the options. We could bungee jump like everyone else that ever has before or we could try the “water plunging” version which is more dangerous and more stupid. Off to the water version we went.
The harness options were the next decisions to be made. There were several options to choose from pertaining to how the cord is connected to your body. Option one: connected by waist. Only a wussy would choose this option. Since none of us were wussies, let’s hear the next option. Option two: connected by both feet bound together. A fairly typical method—perhaps too typical. What other options do you have? Option three: the bungee cord connected to only one foot. Oh yeah, that is the best stupid option for me. If there was an option to be attached by just our toes, I would have been all over it.
So I get myself all hooked up and climb in to the cage. During the very short and fast ride up to the dropping point, you get to hear all the instructions you will need to survive. This complete lesson took about fifteen seconds to deliver and went something like this. “Jump head first. Feet first will cause your body to snap around so violently as you hit the water that you won’t be able to walk for weeks. Cover you head with your arms and hands just before you hit the water. If you don’t, you’ll have a headache for hours and hours. You got all that?” I nodded, starting to think twice about my risk-taking-stupidity. “How much do you weigh? If you lie to me you’ll hit the bottom. We lose more girls that way. Not a pretty sight.”
We each paid for two jumps a piece. Here’s what happens on the first jump. I have no idea. I have no memories what so ever about the first jump. I do remember climbing back into the cage and going up for the second jump.
The second jump included memories. I’m not sure what changed to allow that to happen. I learned one very interesting aspect of bungee jumping into water. When you enter the water while diving head first and the bungee cord becomes fully extended, everything is fine. An issue arises as you’re being swiftly ripped back out of the water. Your nostrils (which are facing upward) scoop an amazing amount of water through your sinuses. My nasal passages have never been so clean. Not a booger to be found anywhere in my head. They most likely were all in the water that I just plunged into. How many people did this before me?
The other valuable lesson that I learned was not fully understood until the next day. All of our hips were hurting on the leg that wasn’t attached to the bungee cord. The reason why became crystal clear when I stopped and thought about what actually happened. You see, when the bungee cord was stopping most parts of our bodies, gravity had full control of that unattached leg. I’ll bet if we had the use of a video camera we would have been able to witness ourselves doing the “splits” in dramatic fashion. I would imagine that while my one leg was securely fastened to the bungee cord, my other foot could have been found somewhere above my head (only since I was upside-down, it was actually below my head) and my knee cap was firmly connected to my sternum.
Would I do it again? Sure, if I could go back to being young and stupid. Now? I might consider the two leg connection. And I would hold my nose.