Friday, August 8, 2008

Stupid Human Tricks - I learned it on Sesame Street

We have all done something stupid in our past. You know what I'm talking about...something that you knew you shouldn't do but you just had to do it. The impulse was so strong that you just couldn't stop yourself, and before you knew it you were right in the middle of something you couldn't get out of. You couldn't go back as if it never happened, and you didn't know how you were going to explain yourself if you got caught....and you knew you would get caught. The train had left the station and there was no going back – that stupid.

This is the story of one of my stupid human tricks:


1974: I was a huge Sesame Street fan. Occasionally they would show a clown jumping out of an airplane with nothing but an umbrella and he would float safely to the ground. Or, sometimes he used balloons and would float from the ground up into the sky.

I was a naturally curious and analytical child, even at the age of four, so I decided that I would do my own experiment. What was the worst that could happen? Actually, that thought never entered my mind. It worked for the clown, so obviously it would work for me.

I knew it would work because I saw it on Sesame Street!
So, umbrella in hand, I climbed up into my favorite tree - the only one I could actually climb - balanced myself on a limb about four feet above the ground, opened the umbrella and jumped. Suddenly I was lying on the ground, umbrella crumpled, and experiencing the bone jarring pain of the impact. I didn't cry and there were no witnesses to run to my aid. Immediately I knew where I had gone wrong, so I ran inside the house where I just happened to have two inflated balloons with strings attached. Obviously, I had not tried the correct method. I don't know why I chose the umbrella when the obvious choice should have been the balloons.
After all, I saw it on Sesame Street!

So, once again I climbed the tree - with balloons in hand this time. Out on the limb I went and without hesitation I took the four foot plunge to earth with all of the confidence of a true daredevil (I was also an Evil Knievel fan), never doubting that I would float safely to the ground - NOT!!! Again I hit the ground with a thud that jarred my bones so hard my ears started ringing.

I couldn't believe it. I saw it on Sesame Street over and over for as long as I could remember. Why didn't it work? OK - obviously it didn't work because I was too close to the ground when I jumped. Fortunately for me, that was the only tree I could climb because all of the really tall trees were inaccessible - otherwise I would have tried it again. I don't know where my mom was at the time so I never got caught. That was the end of my daredevil/crash dummy career. I lived to tell the story, and at the age of 38 I'm happy to report that I have never broken one bone in my body.

Back in the 70's "disclosures" weren't really a big thing. Today you find disclosures on everything including your hairdryer telling you not to use it while taking a shower - DUH. I don't know if Sesame Street still shows the clown jumping out of the airplane, but if they do they should definitely show a huge disclosure before the jump saying “DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME". Who knows, I might have listened if they did.

There are probably enough unsuspecting children who have tried this stunt and suffered serious bodily injury to qualify for a successful class action lawsuit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please tell me what you think :-)