Pent up aggression?

So if you are one of those people  with disposable income and an interest in brute force, there’s a way for you to dispose of that cash. I ran across a website for a company called DriveATank.com, a company that offers the public the opportunity to drive a tank around. If you want to sport it up, for only five hundred and fifty bucks you can drive a tank over a car. Drive a tank, crush a car, spend the day learning armor history and maybe even shoot some large bore machine guns to boot. I would gather that this would be a retired armor soldier’s best dream to reminisce the old days of standoffs with Rommel.

But what about the enthusiast who wants to drive an aircraft carrier and call a sortie on a car? Or someone who wants to drive a B-52 and bomb a car? Maybe even captain a Coast Guard cutter and do a board and search for contraband on a car. It seems that all of the services should have the chance to relive the good old days of war and administering a bit of mayhem. I mean, they’re just cars so we needn’t concern ourselves over how they might feel. I mean, I’m not prejudiced against cars or anything. Heck, I own a couple. But remember, they want their own medical system of “garages” rather than sharing our hospitals. They’re the ones who segregate themselves from us with “sidewalks” and only mingle at so called “crossings” or “loading zones.” As if people are like second class citizens. So who cares if we crush, dive bomb, nuke, or check a car for terrorists and contraband? Not me, man. Shoot.

Personally, I’d like a little time to re-experience some of the activity my earlier life offered. I really enjoyed parachuting in the army. I loved the aerial delivery of cargo of all stripe, and I love the skydiving that the army let me do enough to keep doing it after I was discharged. I have been out to watch my son and daughter jump, disappointed that I could not jump with them. My stories motivated them to try it and it would have been wonderful to share the sport. But I procrastinated, a tight budget dedicating my income to raising the kids, and when the time came I had both the time and budget, I got sick and my fragile bones ended it all and relegated me to spectator. So I would love to have a day to spend, skydiving with my children. Not exactly reliving the army days, but close enough.

Standing on the open tailgate of a C-130 Hercules is a great experience of its own. It’s tremendously loud because of the turboprop engines and the blade whine of the propellers. You stand in an area of calm at the center, to each side and just behind is a chaos of hurricane strength winds, rolling and cavorting through the cabin and launching anything light and unsecured. I love to stand on the dead spot and just watch the earth unwind away from me, seeing more than feeling a gentle swaying af the aircraft. It’s translated to the ground, doing a serpentine motion as it unwinds. Nighttime on the tailgate is unsettling. Instead of the ground, a gaping maw of darkness, seeming blacker than black, giving the sense it’s waiting for you to divert your attention for an instant. It will snatch and eat you if you aren’t careful. But over a lighted population, it holds a beauty and warmth that comes from the pools of light drawing crazy patterns. Jumping in the day and jumping over lights is a hoot. Jumping into the absolute dark is flat spooky. I had to miss my flirtation with C-130 ramps in favor of a different kind. When we got to the airfield, we were shuttled to the helicopter pads. For training,  I was making my first purposeful jump into water. We took off from Ft. Bragg and were helicoptered to a place called, of all things, Lake Surf. A little lake about a mile long and a half mile wide. We juped at 1900 feet on an exercise to familiarize ourselves with getting out of our rigs and safely to shore in the event of a water landing. There had been a few training deaths at other bases in which the paratroopers, weighted by their equipment, got snared beneath their canopies. Deprived of air with no path to the surface, they drowned. So they were showing us how to cut away just feet above the water and then diving deep to swim away from the canopy and its many lines. My jump went great. I disconnected about 20 feet up and hit in the vertical and swam away after cutting loose my equipment, fifty pounds of, you guessed it, rocks. But still, with my unform and boots on, swimming was pretty much a futile act. Fortunately, the army had a few of the new fangled inflatable boats and came around picking us up. No one drowned, but there were a couple of thought-I-was-screwed stories. These days, jumping into water is a form of the sport, but often the accidental product of ‘swooping.’ Swooping is using the energy of descent to gain forward speed, and the jumper literally swoops down over an elongated shallow trough filled with water to ski their feet along the surface. The object is to make it to the end of the trench for a dry landing. Let’s say most swoopers do it because they like the swooping sensation and don’t mind drying out their rigs.

It’s been agreat summer for skydiving. Bumpy for the ride up and a little blustery at times just before landing, but some beautiful days for taking the fall in shorts and a tee shirt. Anyway, I think that’s what I’d like to do if I had an opportunity to reach back to an activity of yesteryear. To drive a tank and crush a car sounds like it could be fun too. But it does take disposable income, and it’s getting harder for many to have disposable cash. Perhaps this is one of those I-can’t-wait-for-my-tax-refund things that will catch on.

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