Let me tell you a little story of one of my many failures. The goal was simple, fall thirty feet or so. Yeah, I failed at falling… Of course there was the cigar, and the bottle of cheap wine, and the …well let me just start from the begining.
A long long time ago in a rural area far far away… I was training with some of my martial arts buddies. Former military… Rangers I believe it was… One of their friends was home on break from West Point. They wanted to celebrate, and asked if I wanted to go too. Silly me, I didn’t ask any questions, I just tagged along like any good little sister.
A few hours later I find myself on a dirt road beside a meandering stream on a moonless night. It was about three in the morning so you could hear the crickets, frogs and other creatures of the night singing a bitter sweet melody. I had a bottle of cheap wine in my right hand and a cigar in my left (I hate cigars). I have this huge US Army Ranger standing in front of me with a rope in his right hand (LOL, get your mind outta the gutter) and a knife in his left. (no, the story doesn’t go that direction either) He explains to me that they don’t have a repelling harness small enough to fit me. He proceded to cut a length of rope and fashion one for me, ole’ school style…
So, we get to the instruction part… “Are you right handed or left handed?”
note to readers – if you are one of my orthopedic surgeons, especially Dr Line, please stop reading right about now.
I reminded him, “I’m right handed but I have to use my left remember? The shoulder reconstruction surgery? I can’t put any stress on my right shoulder.”
This gets an “Oh…” from the group. Then all the guys start looking around at each other throwing out incoherent phrases. What da ya think? It’s an option. Can she? Yeah! It’s the only option. Well, Australian it is! Then they explain to me that traditional repelling takes two hands, one to stabilize and one to brake. But since I could only use one hand, I would have to go down Australian style. What is that? Head first. You use one foot to stabilize and you brake with one hand.
Twice, I managed to successfully fall head first off of a thirty foot (invoke 5th Amendment right). However, the third time we had an issue trying not to get run over by a (invoke 5th Amendment right again). Some how, in the confusion, (me swears it had nothing to do with the wine) part of my rope flipped over onto my figure 8 and locking D and got tangled. We had no idea. Upon my descent, I suddenly stopped at about 8 feet down. Now, because I’m going Australian, my gear is behind me. I can’t see what’s wrong. All I know is I’m stuck 22 feet in the air! Head facing down. The guys yell up at me and I reply, “I’m stuck!”
They said, “Wiggle it!”
Me, “Seriously guys, I’m stuck.”
Them, “Yeah, you need to wiggle it.”
Me, “Wiggle what?”
Them, “Your body.”
Me, “OH!” So, I proceded to ‘wiggle’ it. “It’s not working.”
Them, “Wiggle harder.”
Me, “Seriously!?” So, I ‘wiggled’ harder. To no avail, I remained stuck 22 feet in the air. By now, the rope harness is starting to dig into my stomach. You know… The stomach that is full of cheap wine. The stomach that is hanging upside down. And I’m running out time, because a (invoking 5th amendment right again) could come along at any minute and cut my rope.
One of the guys yelled out, “I’m coming to get you!” as he dashes across the street, climbs up a hill, and across the ( 5th amendment yet again). He quickly hooks into the second rope and slides down to me. He wraps his legs around my waist and quickly inspects my gear in the dark. With no other options, he hooks into my harness and cuts my rope. Then gracefully slides me down to safety.
Moral of the story… When epic failure is emminent… Make sure you take an Army Ranger along to save you from your self…