Skydiving is like a first date — either you love it and can't wait to do it again or you hate it and wonder WTF you were thinking when you accepted the invitation in the first place.
Why did I choose to hurl myself 10,000 feet out of an airplane? I'm not what you might call an "adrenaline junkie." I don't know what adrenaline even is, but I imagine it to be a lemon-lime Gatorade-colored sludge that courses through your bloodstream as you are about to wet your pants. I guess I just felt the need to cross tandem free-falling off my mental bucket list before turning 30 next month, despite my massive fear of heights. And I had a coupon.
The only reason I did not pee on myself and my poor Skydive Jersey instructor, Chuck, was because I used the Porta-Potty a half dozen times before the jump. Now that I'm an expert on the art of extreme sports, I've kindly listed 5 ways YOU can ensure that you don't relieve yourself all over a few defenseless Care Bears:
1) Do not fully read the waiver; merely skim over it. Yes, it is generally a good idea to read everything you sign, unless you are about to toss yourself out of an airplane. Because if you die, they sure as hell won't be paying for your funeral, and this is made perfectly clear a number of times throughout the four-page legal form. "I understand that I MAY BE INJURED OR KILLED, including but not limited to broken bones, internal injuries, dismemberment, disfigurement, disability, permanent or otherwise, in many ways while participating in parachuting activities including but not limited to falls, turning propellers, trees, power lines, buildings, machinery, drowning, electrocution, explosions…"
2) Do not Google something stupid like "skydiving fails." Do you really need to watch scarily shocking videos like this guy who got tangled in a parachute, this experienced skydiver who nearly fell to his death, or these guys who barely missed getting nicked by a crashing plane? No. No, you don't.
3) Do not mentally consider the things that could go wrong. Just don't. Because I already did it for you: The main parachute doesn't open at all; you die. The main parachute kind of opens, but in a twisted mess; you die. The reserve baby parachute fails; you die. The Barbie doll-sized plane you're in that appears to be built by Orville Wright crashes; you die. You slip out of the harness that is hooked to your instructor (who has all the parachutes); you die. Your little life lies in a few harness straps and a backpack; you could die. Truth? It is very unlikely that you would fall victim to that rare freak accident, so don't psych yourself out thinking about it.
4) Do not read the "incident reports" in Parachutist magazine. Also do not ask your instructor about statistics regarding skydive-related deaths. The only thing you need to know is this: You have a better shot of getting mauled by a pitbull than you do of getting hurt skydiving.
5) Do not ask your skydive instructor to hold your hand mid-jump. OH, chuuute! The second the airplane door blasts open, wind in your ears, you are probably going to doubt your decision. I could do nothing but scream bloody murder as I was pushed out toward the tiny trees, houses and fields below. My heart did not catch in my throat, as it often does when riding an intense roller coaster. It, along with my brain, actually fell out my ass into the tiny abyss, as sheer terror and utter madness took over. "HOLD MY HAND!" I screamed, as I plunged downward at a steady speed of 120mph with my new friend, Chuck. "HOLD ME! I'M SCARED! I WANT TO GET DOWN NOW!" Don't freak out. Just enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, I did not relax until my feet gratefully touched the lush, green, grassy earth.