Friday, June 10, 2005

How Not to Jump of a Bridge: By Terry

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The fictional character I'd most like to be is Batman. Swinging free high above the city night, swooping down to pound the shit out of some stupid criminals, and then relaxing back at the manse with some vintage champagne: that's the life for me.

In my dreams, perhaps. I remember one night walking home drunk over the Granville Street Bridge. This is a monster of a bridge: it leaves downtown at a height of about 9 storeys above the street, and grows higher as you approach its centre. On the downtown end, there are condo towers adjacent with patios 2 metres from the bridge sidewalk. Hard to imagine why anyone would pay big bucks to have 10 lanes of traffic driving by their living room windows, but I guess it takes all kinds.

The other end of the bridge divides into a snarl of off-ramps that spiral off down into the streets below. Walking along one of these ramps on that particular night I noticed that the roof of some building was within reasonably easy jumping distance. "Hmm. About six feet over, and only about 5 feet down, should be do-able..." (this was before Canada converted to metric measurement).

Suddenly my feet were itchy. I'd never jumped off a bridge before. "Well, why the hell not?" Climbed up onto the rail and leapt. And made a perfect 3-point landing on that roof, avoiding the puddle of rain water. Now what? Can't go back: the bridge sidewalk I'd just jumped from loomed in silhouette far overhead, unreachable from here now.

Have to go down, then. That building was about 40 feet high, and had a fire escape ladder from the roof. That ladder ended about 20 feet from the ground, but someone had tied a rope to the bottom rung that hung down another 12 feet or so. God apparently still watches out for fools and drunks.

"Can't say fairer than that," I thought, that being a phrase I'd just learned. But the rope was rotten, and broke halfway down, and I landed hard in some bramble bushes: WHOMP! I was feeling no pain ("Gee, I fell down. Guess I'd better get up..."), so I just stumbled off up 4th Avenue in the light misty rain.

Moral of the story: if you want to jump off bridges, take your own rope. Batman knows this already, but that's why he is Batman and I'm still just me.

Submitted by Terry

(inspired by Mike's story Sneakin' in the Hospital, link below)

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