Back when I was young, indestructible and had the common sense of Brussels sprouts, I wanted to go skydiving. Jumping out of an airplane and freefalling within a few hundred feet of the ground before popping the ripcord was a thrill I couldn’t imagine. I’d want to hold off opening the parachute for as long as possible, because at the time, hanging below a parachute hundreds of feet off the ground had to be the most boring thing I could imagine. Today if I was in an airplane it would take a whip, gun and a very angry sasquatch to get me out of it.

When I was little, a friend of mine, Ray, and I would climb an old railroad trestle. We would climb it from the ground to the top: up the stone supports, onto the steel girders and up to the railroad tracks where we would be about seventeen gazillion feet in the air. (I never actually measured it, so I may be off by a few feet one way or the other.) We never worried about falling because there was a river below with water to fall into. If we missed the water, there were trees along the banks with branches we could grab before we hit the ground. And if we missed the branches, we could maneuver ourselves in the air so we would land between the rocks, and the soft sand would break our fall–sometimes high optimism covers up low intelligence. Someday I hoped to scale some unconquerable peak. Hanging by two fingers, I’d stop for lunch and deftly unwrap a baloney sandwich with one hand and enjoy a cold Dr. Pepper from the cooler with ice strapped to my back, while all the time looking for that soft spot between the rocks in case I lost my grip. Nowadays I drive pitons, string ropes and put on a safety harness if I have to climb up on a chair to get a dish out of the top cupboard in our kitchen.

I used to skateboard when I was little, and I’m not talking the wussy skateboards they use today that don’t break in half over jumps and the wheels stay on. I’m talking homemade skateboards where you grab a 1X6 or 8 or 10 and nail an old pair of metal roller skates to it. That was skateboarding at its finest. We didn’t wear those sissy elbow pads and knee pads they wear today. No siree, nothing but skin to protect us from the pavement when we crashed. And we crashed a lot; because those old wheels locked up if you hit a crack wider than a quarter, a rock, a stick or a night crawler crossing the road. We had scrapes and cuts, but we were fine–most of the time you could barely see the bone. It didn’t bother us because we were tough and in a punch-drunk daze most of the time from loss of blood and head injuries, because we didn’t wear those sissy helmets either. Occasionally now, I’ll see one of those new skateboards with the polyurethane wheels sitting on the sidewalk, and a small voice will say, “You can still do it.” It’s Satan talking. So I don’t do it, because I still have the will to live.

I think part of the reason I don’t want to do dangerous things anymore is because I spent twenty-six years in law enforcement and had to do many dangerous things, such as teaching my oldest daughter to drive. (See Driving a Straight Stick.) I’ve driven as fast as I want to go in conditions I’d rather not drive in at all. I’ve felt that adrenaline rush as much as I care to in one lifetime. It’s not that I still don’t take chances. Just this morning I skipped my bran muffin. There’ll be hell to pay tomorrow, but I can take it.
Quick update on the sequel to my first novel In The

Sticks. I had been really struggling with it for awhile now. It’s not that I didn’t know where the story was headed, it’s just that there weren’t many twists and turns and a half a billion suspects. Those of you who read my first book know I like a lot of suspects. I like to let the reader think he knows who the murderer is, then, wham, I throw water all over his conclusion. I found a bunch of water buckets lately and the story is going well.



About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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  1. Isnt it interesting how we become less adventurous as we get older? I`m visually impaired, and when I was young, I walked around town without a white cane. I guess it`s a wonder I didn`t get run over by a car. Nowadays, I use the cane when I walk around town, even though my vision hasn`t changed. It`s more a security blanket than anything else. I still could be hit by a car, but couldn`t anyone else?

  2. Skye-writer says:

    It’s why they send young men to fight wars – they all think they’re invincible. But I agree, the older we get, the wiser – at least one can hope so. I confess to taking up skydiving when I was 55 and I loved it, but I quit after awhile because it was clearly a young person’s sport – they loved the free fall, I loved the ride under canopy with the world a silent canvas except for the soft rustling of my canopy and a vast vista in every direction. I also know about those skateboard antics. My brother and I had bets on who could jump it the farthest or highest – I look back on that no helmet, no pads craziness and wonder why we didn’t manage to kill ourselves.

    Great blog!

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