b. A chemical substance, such as a narcotic or hallucinogen, that affects the central nervous system, causing changes in behavior and often addiction.
Well, did I ever tell you about the time I got hit by a bus in London while high as a kite and dressed as an Indian?
I wasn’t actually sure I’d heard the question correctly, so, like any normal person I just replied, “Huh?”
As I was to find out, while driving down one of London’s city streets under the influence of copious amounts of narcotic entertainment, my friend—whom for obvious reasons we will call “Chief”—was T-boned by a bus that came out of nowhere from a street that hadn’t existed only moments before. The bus driver, so distraught over the late-night accident and an Indian with less-than-perfect driving skills, was forced to drag poor Chief from his vehicle through the broken window and point out his shortcomings with numerous right hooks to the face.
The telling of the story was made all the more entertaining by the fact that both Chief and I were currently under the influence of the contents of the DZ’s “Naughty Bottle” which just happened to hold lots and lots of liquid LSD. I could practically see the feathers flying as the bus driver’s fist made contact with the spot Chief was pointing out. The energy of the storytelling was off the charts and the whole thing was quite the experience!
Let’s face it kids, drugs aren’t just part of the world at large, or even our society, but very specifically our sport. Like it or not, that’s just the way it is.
Raise your hands if you’re a skydiver who hasn’t done any type of drug … Alright, I see 23 hands, but 18 of you are fucking lying!
If you’re a jumper who hasn’t done any experimenting, I applaud you for your strength in the face of immense peer pressure. I also think you probably need to get out a bit more.
If you, like the majority of the jumpers I’ve met in the last 15 years, have had a “taste,” then you have just as many stories as I do about their effects on, and place in, our sport.
So, how about a little quid pro quo. Good, bad, good, etc. …
1. Marley and the Peanut Butter (Good, kind of)
If you were there and you’re reading this, then you’re either cringing or laughing your ass off. You also know every word is true.
I know people who have said they’ve seen video. I know people who say they’ve known people who saw it. I, on the other hand, can name more than a dozen people with video cameras and still cameras who were there with me.
It was the morning after my birthday. Lots of drugs had been done. Lots of alcohol (a drug) had been consumed. Mr. Craig Kusky had elected to take my place as the most fucked-up person after the night’s festivities and was currently reaping the rewards.
First, pictures of him passed out on the back deck of the DZ were taken. Then pictures of him surrounded with beer bottles. Then Chief decided cutting his shorts off, only after nicking his smokes, was a good idea. Then of course, painted toe and finger nails, etc. … When none of this did anything to rouse poor Mr. Kusky, the ante was upped to a level none of us was totally prepared for.
As we watched Marley (the oldest and nastiest DZ dog you’ve ever seen) follow the container of melted peanut butter, none of us really believed it was actually going to happen. Yet the next thing we knew, we were face-to-face with the image of Craig drunkenly laughing as Marley hungrily licked every bit of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter from his junk. Holy shit. Let me say that again … Holy SHIT!
It was one of the craziest, funniest experiences of my life and one I will never forget.
2. Basketball Hoop (Bad)
It was Cross Keys’ work-ups to the PST tour stop in Wildwood, NJ. I hadn’t seen Kevin Love in years, and was enjoying catching up with him and everyone else who had been training that day. With what I can only call really bad timing on my part, I turned from Kevin to look down Dahlia Ave. just in time to see Craig rolling over from a back track at about treetop level. The sound I heard didn’t really sink in to my reality, because I had to turn to a DZ employee named Damo and ask, “What the hell was that noise???” With an expression that displayed as much confusion as I felt, his one-word reply was, “Kusky.”
Good old Craig had spent the whole day on the piss, drinking anything and everything he wanted and for whatever reason, decided a great way to end the day would be to make a skydive on a rig with no AAD.
I had spent the day jumping, hanging out and refusing Craig’s request to take an alcohol swab test for him. Then, just for shits and giggles, I decided to end the day with chest compressions in some kid’s driveway while Craig’s buddy Toast did mouth-to-mouth. Evidently someone else thought taking the swab for him was a good idea.
It was one of the worst experiences of my life and one I will never forget.
3. The Secret of the Pea Pit (Good)
Ecstasy. Really, do I need to say anything else? I don’t know about you, but this was my personal drug of choice back in the day. It was also what I happened to be under the influence of when I was taught the secret of the pea pit.
Hand in hand, arm in arm, we departed the back deck and ventured out into the deep dark unknown. The walk out to the pea gravel seemed to take ages, and was kept beyond entertaining by the feel of wet grass beneath our feet, a breeze across our faces, stars above our heads and pure chemical joy pulsing through us with each and every step.
Once we arrived at the pit, and with a ridiculous amount of pomp and circumstance, our tour guide for the evening showed us the secret …
Reaching hand first and deep into the pea gravel, he scooped a healthy handful away from its resting place, stretched his arm back like a major league pitcher in the ninth of the World Series, and let the gravel loose back towards the pit with incredible velocity. As the handful of gravel reached the pea pit, it let loose a shower of sparks that, in our ecstasy-soaked minds, rivaled a Vegas New Year’s display! Perhaps you had to be there or perhaps you need to go out and try it for yourself, but believe me, that shit was amazing!
It was one of the best experiences of my life, and one I will never forget.
4. The Tree (Bad)
It was a great skydiver wedding. The bride was as beautiful as everyone expected, the groom just as charming. The party, well the party was fucking EPIC! It was also fueled with ridiculous amounts of ecstasy.
As the party progressed the participants split into their groups, as they tend to do. Some stood around the kitchen telling stories that made everyone laugh, gasp and grin wildly. Some danced their asses off to the music that burst almost physically from the speakers. Some broke off in twos to make out, grope and or fuck their brains out. Some went for nature walks and talked about deep things, and others … well, others decided to climb trees.
Three of them lay perched in the branches a good fifty feet above the ground. They lay staring at the stars that were no longer blocked from the branches below. They were enjoying the feeling of the night air, enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the amazing chemicals coursing through their veins. They even enjoyed the unexpected feeling of freefall, right up until the ground came up to meet them.
Cameron might have walked away from the fall after the branch broke if it hadn’t been for his friend landing just after him, and unfortunately for Cameron, on his neck.
When we arrived the next evening at the hospital, we were told it was important that we had an “upbeat” attitude when we talked to him. We were also told he’d be lucky if he were able to ever move anything below the neck again. Seeing him with the halo around his head and the look of sheer terror in his eyes was horrible.
It was one of the worst experiences of my life, and one I will never forget.
The fact of the matter is, you don’t have to be a skydiver to tell these stories. Everyone from every walk of life can tell a story not too far off these. I’ve got so many more of these that I could take up the entire issue telling you about tits on a Ferris wheel, driving on the moon, abnormally large big toes, etc. …
Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, I don’t get to take part in this kind of entertainment anymore. It seems that the FAA doesn’t like pilots who do drugs, so I’ve been on the wagon since before I got my license. But listen, I don’t for one second say that drugs are wrong. I believe that to do, or not to do, drugs is one’s personal choice, and no person or government should interfere. I do, on the other hand, believe that we all have the responsibility to make sure that we, or those that we know who choose to partake, do so in a way that won’t risk their, or anyone else’s, life.
If I had it to do over again, I would have dragged Craig to the manifest office and told them he was shitty-ass drunk and shouldn’t be manifested. If I had it to do over again, I’d make sure they hadn’t climbed that tree … Would I take back the pea pit, the peanut butter or any of the other experiences that I consider life changing in a good way if it meant I wouldn’t have to have those bad ones to re-live? That’s a good fucking question. Would you?
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