To score a free opportunity to bungee jump off of a 100-foot bridge and increase my odds of dying a grisly death I needed to do two things: wear a GoPro camera on my head, and slather my armpits with Speed Stick GEAR deodorant.
The hike to The Bridge To Nowhere in the San Gabriel Mountains in Azuza, California was was 10 miles roundtrip. Or what avid hikers refer to as “a casual stroll.” (It’s what I refer to as one loooooong goddamn hike.) The walk there was scenic but otherwise uneventful. Meaning, nobody in the group broke an ankle or got eaten by a bear.
When we arrived at the bridge the staff asked us to take a seat and wait for further instruction. Most people wandered over to see where we’d be jumping. Not me. The sun had yet to rise over the mountains, leaving temperatures in the low 60s, and I was near frozen. I used an extra pair of socks I had in my bag as gloves, pulled my shirt over my face bank-robber style, got into a fetal position, and hugged myself to stay warm. As the wind whipped the thought of pissing myself to see if my body could still experience warmth crossed my mind. But I chickened out.
The instructors had their safety spiel filled with hilarious one-liners involving all of the terrible things that could go wrong on the plunge. I didn’t pay much attention until I heard the part about how improper jump technique could lead to a set of pulverized testicles. Seeing as I like my testicles — as I’m generally very fond of the parts in that entire region of my body — I focused long enough to learn how to save my coin purse from complete and utter annihilation.
“Any volunteers to jump first?” one staff member asked.
My hand shot into the air. I hate waiting in lines. Plus, a general rule I like to live by is when I begin to ponder urination to stay warm, it’s time to piss or get off of the pot. I swear to you there was no pun intended in the previous sentence.
I got the nod to jump first. I strapped on my GoPro, stepped into my harness, and … waited. More instruction. More wind. More freezing. More pee thoughts.
This gave me time to look at what I was beneath me — jagged rocks. Of course I knew slamming into the terrain from this height would translate to certain death, but since my body was already numb I figured I wouldn’t feel my spine crack. That was a plus. Also, Bungee America had an impeccable safety record. At least that’s what they said when I asked how many shattered bodies they had to fish out of the creek over the years.
As I stood on the platform waiting to jump I don’t remember being fearful. In fact, I don’t recall thinking anything. Even after I took the leap, for the few seconds I was airborne, I had no worries at all. No stress. No irritations. No urge to scratch the itchy rash on my … leg. Nothing. When the jump was over and I was dangling from the bridge, I gave a quick testies check. All clear. The mission was a success.
Back on the bridge I had a flash of brilliance — why not ask the female helping me out of my harness to check my pits to see if Speed Stick GEAR held up? To my surprise, she was game and gave a sniff. The verdict: My armpits smelled delicious. (My words, not hers.)
Overall, there were a few takeaways from my first bungee jump:
• Socks make decent gloves in a pinch.
• Asking a woman to sniff your armpits doesn’t always translate to a smack in the face.
• Never assume that because you’re in Southern California the weather will be 75 and sunny.