Several weeks ago, Karen at Fitness Journey asked me, and several others, to participate in a post she wrote about fitness through different stages of life. That post, lead to this one. Thank you Karen, for fueling the fire this week!
Seventeen years ago next week, I experienced two words that would change my life forever; parachute malfunction.
Daily Action; The Methadone For My Existence
Honestly, and with respect to my daughter and my fiancé, when I wake up each morning, they are not my first thought, though they are among my immediate thoughts. That first though, what I do think in that first moment of consciousness each day is this,
“What will it be today?”
As in, what will be my daily action. Daily action is something I have been practicing since I was 12 years old.
When I wake I wonder to myself,
“Will it be a run, a hill climb, a paddle of the kayak, strength training, a bike ride with lots of hills, or a session of interval sprints…? ”
Or if it’s a really good day, which combination might it be…?
My second thought is this,
“How soon can it happen?”
And it always happens, I just see to it. It has been this way since my mother escorted me to a local police station when I was 12 years old to sign me up for weight lifting lessons. The local police volunteered their time to teach kids something positive. I was immediately hooked. This stoke expanded a couple years later with Bruce Jenner’s 1976 Olympic success, which spurned me to build a crude decathlon course in my back yard – broom stick pole-vault included.
Daily action is when time stands still for me – when I most believe in God, am most accepting of mankind, and when I process the complexities of life with my most clear head. Daily action has been my therapy, my prayer, and my conduit to humanity for 36 years.
Parachute Malfunction Remix
Ouch. It wasn’t so much the physical injuries and trauma that changed my life, although there were those. My skydiving accident most affected my life by fostering a greater appreciation for life itself – daily action included.
In the weeks after my accident, I began writing what I thought would be a book about the whole ordeal; a humorous treatise on the story behind the accident, and the subsequent recovery process. I put the book on ice because really, it sucks.
But on this anniversary of my rapid descent from 3200 feet, I want to share a passage from said sucky book on ice; my first thoughts after I hit the ground and regained consciousness. I hope you enjoy it.
From Chapter 7 Of, Gravity Works
by Roy Cohen
TO THE VICTOR GOES THE SOILS
(A FAREWELL TO LEGS)
I hit the ground like a just-clobbered Floyd Paterson and rebounded with the approximate coherency of Floyd the barber. I had two distinct thoughts during my first conscious moment on the ground after my hard landing. I began picking pieces of the damp soil from between my teeth and my mind focused on an evening news segment I had seen a couple days prior. It was footage of professional football player, Dennis Byrd, walking with his wife along the rim of their country home outside of Tulsa.
Byrd, one participant in a brutal collision on the playing field months earlier, amazed the nation after many doctors suggested he would never walk again following that injury.
“All may not be lost”, I thought to myself as I lay in the dirt,
“Dennis Byrd suffered a substantial spinal injury and he’s able to walk again.”
I vowed right then not to let whatever injuries I might have just incurred alter my life.
Simultaneously another thought occurred as I lay face down in the rural field. It was a thought I had to seriously entertain under the circumstances; I might actually be dead. I contemplated for a moment that I might not have survived the impact of such a rapid fall. I began to look for signs of the afterlife which I had heard described so many times on television; the bright light at the end of the tunnel, the faint figure in a flowing garment ready to lead me off, etc.
Contemplating an ethereal transition, I gazed up and around the field where I had landed hoping to catch a glimpse of St. Peter, or someone like him. Surely someone would be there to take my bags and show me to my suite.
However, the first face I saw was that of a cow. He was mostly white, with a few black spots. A slow moving pink tongue circled his face like the hands of a caricature watch. He seemed – intelligent. This haunted me – an intelligent cow.
I thought to myself,
“Shit, if I am dead, is this God? Is God a cow? Shit. I can’t believe it – God is a freakin’ Holstein – frick!”
I began regretting all the cattle tipping I did in college. If God were really a cow, surely he would not overlook those indiscretions.
Things came into focus…
“No” I thought, “there are no cows in heaven. Cows are in…. in…. in…. Nebraska – yes, in Nebraska. I’m in Nebraska, and I’m still alive!”
Seeing the cow, and picking grains of soil from my mouth confirmed I was still alive and in Nebraska – but there was still the Dennis Byrd issue. I slowly began to move my feet and bend my knees – they responded, and I was ecstatic. No wheel chair in my future. Only then did I attempt to work through the dull pain in my low-back and straighten out my torso…
To be continued in a later post – perhaps…
Seventeen years ago next week, I experienced two words that would change my life forever; parachute malfunction. I celebrate this anniversary every year by enjoying my daily action – all day long! Happy anniversary to me on my 17th I Ain’t Dead Yet day!
Be well. rc
I will be on vacation and away from writing for a couple of weeks — going to the wilds of North Central Nebraska to enjoy good times with friends, and with dictator, Kim Jong Il. After which, we will kill him and carry his dead body back home in our roof-top carrier.
Please check in though, as I will be re-posting a couple of gems from the past until I return.