There are a lot of things I love in my life, and I wouldn’t trade any of those for anything.
That stated, I have been wandering the world unfulfilled for about the past year-and-a-half. I’m looking for that next high, but it seems I never quite find it.
Of course, I’m not talking about drugs. I write of adrenaline. The fact is it has been quite some time since my need to feel it pumping through my veins was last met. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be addicted to a drug, but I can tell you not feeding an adrenaline addiction can drive a person nearly to insanity.
I’ve been an adrenaline junkie my whole life. When I was little I used to climb. Then I got the bright idea to start jumping off of things. I always wanted to go a little higher, jump a little further and, of course, go a little faster.
As a teenager I fed my addiction in a number of ways. I played paintball. Those little things hurt just enough to ensure I didn’t want to get shot. This made for a rush as I evaded and returned fire.
We also made it a habit to gather at the stone quarries near my hometown in the summer months. We would jump about 30 feet into the cold water. Though it was momentary, it was a rush to look down and see the water fast approaching.
Then there was whitewater rafting. The New River in West Virginia became an annual destination, and the Gauley River was added to the year’s trips when I had some money, free time and a willing comrade to accompany me.
I also ran the Six-Mile Creek in Alaska. That trip wasn’t the first time I’d swam a class V rapid, but it was the coldest class V rapid I’d ever swam.
Then there’s the Harley. Driving along at 100 mph was once fun, but it only takes one incident to change a person’s mind about just how much fun this might be. I’ve had two. Needless to say, I prefer putting around town now.
Then there was jumping. I love to jump out of planes. I also loved pulling jumpmaster duties. Hanging out of the door of a C-17 flying at 130 knots, 1,000 ft. above the ground is pretty neat.
War probably worsened my addiction. There’s nothing that gets your heart pumping quicker and more intensely than a nice early morning mortar attack.
All of those things have passed though. Pending World War III, I won’t be headed “down range” again. I’m not stupid enough to ride a motorcycle excessively fast anymore, and as I face a hip replacement, the Army pulled the plug on my jumping days.
So now I wander the earth looking for my next high.
I did some research regarding what other broken and aging adrenaline junkies have done to get their fix. Thus, I’ve created a new bucket list.
• First, I need to do some wing-walking. That’s right. I’m going to strap myself to the wing of an aircraft and walk, dance or whatever while some guy flies it. A quick Google search seems to indicate I’ll have to go to the United Kingdom to do this as just your average idiot.
• I think, perhaps, I can get a little quicker fix in Las Vegas. I’ll be heading there to bungee jump from the Stratosphere Hotel.
• I can also experience weightlessness here in the United States. However, the flight aboard the Boeing 727 will cost me about $5,000.
• With a trip to China I could hike the world’s most dangerous trail at Mount Huashan.
• Lately, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of building a paramotor. It’s basically a propeller straped to your back. The propulsion coupled with the lift of a parachute allows one to fly high above the ground, and there’s the comfort of knowing you have a parachute. If something goes wrong, just float to the ground. The build could cost me about $10,000.
It seems my addiction isn’t cheap.
What I ask is how have my fellow junkies dealt with this? Have they stolen copper wire from old houses? I heard that’s what junkies are supposed to do. Or do they walk through life feeling unfulfilled? Perhaps, there’s some little known way to get my fix right here in Surry County?
Unless one suffers from my addiction, he or she can’t understand it. For some a good time is had at a meal, and a roller coaster is exciting.
For me, I need to at least have a little glimpse of death to get my heart rate up.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.