Very Superstitious

I'm almost scared to write about the big Halloween weekend of skydiving I have planned at Perris Valley.

The last time I posted here about what was sure to be a fun-filled, exciting weekend -- July 4 -- it ended in a horrible nightmare of one person dead, another injured. Now I don't want to look forward to skydiving anymore. I don't want to jinx myself. I don't want to ever look back here again and have the eerie, sinking feeling that I didn't realize what awful things could come.

I just want to skydive and enjoy it as it comes.

So I do these things in the plane on my way up. Things to ensure my safety. Things to make sure that I stay on the universe's good side. Things to guarantee I won't be randomly plucked and thrown from the sky.

As the plane takes off, I kiss the first two fingers of my right hand, then touch the window -- giving the aircraft some love. Then I say a prayer twice within the first 1,000 feet of climbing to altitude. It's always the same: Please God, no bumps, no breaks, no bruises, no crashes, no collisions, no cutaways, and most of all, no death. Then I say a prayer for the others on board, asking nothing but good fortune for their jumps. I spend the rest of the way doing gear checks on myself and others.

Some might call my rituals OCD. It's probably more like magical thinking, the belief that one exerts more influence over events than one actually does.

I think skydiving is pretty magical anyway, so it fits.

There's good and bad, black and white. The longer I spend in this sport, the more I'm learning to accept them both.
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