Like everyone else, I've made plenty of mistakes in my life. Some were embarrassing flubs like tripping in front of my seventh grade crush. Others were funny blunders like when I cut my own hair in high school. But then there were the scary scar-filled seconds that star in my sinister night time slumbers.
Here are my top five.
Skiing way too fast without a helmet. One day I woke up in a hospital with a giant bump on my head, having forgotten most of the day. In fact, I had all too many skiing accidents. I ran into a rope with my face. I sprained an ankle because I was too lazy to tighten my boot on a green. I dislocated my arm when I planted a ski pole. The pole stuck and the loop around my wrist stayed with it. I also blame run after brutal run of moguls for my bad knees.
Letting a friend belay me within sight of some pretty girls. Let's just say I walked around with stitches and an awkward limp for the next couple months. Trusting hormone-filled teens is always risky business. Of course, I didn't realize this when I was one.
Climbing a hundred and fifty foot redwood tree without any kind of rope. I grew up in a redwood tree forest. As a tween I decided that climbing them was fun. Of course, I didn't think about safety. So I climbed them without a rope, on my own, sometimes in windy storms to make it more scary. One time I fell, but lucked out when my arm caught on a branch and dislocated my shoulder. If I hadn't caught myself and dislocated my shoulder, I probably would have tumbled to my death. Fortunately it popped right back into place a few minutes later when I slipped again. Climbing with three limbs is much harder than I could have imagined. I didn't tell my parents about the tree climbing or the dislocated shoulder until decades later.
Jumping off swings. Swings seem so innocent. Weeeee. But in the hands of a daredevil like me, any toy could be a dangerous toy. I was that kid who loved to jump off swings. The more dangerous dare my brother put in front of me, the more I wanted to do it. So my brother and I were jumping off a tire swing one day. It was on a sloped hillside, so when we jumped toward the uphill side, we were ten feet above the ground, but with momentum back towards the hill, we landed only a few feet down. Of course, me being the accident prone kid I was, my foot got stuck in the tire when I jumped. The swing took me back out, dangling upside down the whole way. Then I fell, when I was fifteen feet off the ground. Fortunately, I didn't break my neck. But I did break both of my arms. My mom wasn't thrilled with the medical bills.
Building (and using) a home made zip line. My brother and friends and I wanted a zip line, so we got some rope, some PVC pipe and walked out into the woods. We slid a foot-long section of PVC over the rope and pulled it to the top of a tree. We tied the other end to the base of another tree. We gave the rope just enough slack on the bottom end to slow us down. You'd think I would have gotten hurt on the first time out. But I tested it out, and it went great. My friends and brother tried it and they had a blast too. Then I went back for seconds. That's when the friction on the PVC as it ran down the rope melted through the PVC. All of a sudden, I was sliding along the rope with my bare hands. So, on top of gliding downward fast along the zip line, I then fell the last fifteen feet. Boom! I landed in more of a splat than a bounce. My brother thought I was dead. After a moment of lying there, thinking he was right, I popped up and hollered in joy. It was perhaps one of the dumbest but most exhilarating experiences of my life. I still have a scar on my palm from where the rope burned into my hand.
While I don't recommend being such a danger to yourself. I did learn my limits through all these accidents. Plus, what doesn't kill you only maims you...