Wairarapa News : January 9th 2013
10 WAIRARAPA NEWS, JANUARY 9, 2013 OPINION 140 Dixon Street, Masterton, Ph 06 378 8039 CANSPEAK - a bite of brain food from Cancer Society manager ANNA CARDNO Cancer Society Wairarapa Cancer Support Services Cancer patients and their families deserve access to the best possible support available. Refer them to Cancer Society Wairarapa -- the first point of contact for cancer support services. Our patient services are free, and include: • Information, counselling and emotional support • Support groups, educational courses & workshops • Free transportation to treatment & accommodation out of town • Welfare grant scheme • Wigs and prosthesis fittings • Lymphoedema advice • Massage & Relaxation therapy • Library, available for loan • Cancer Connect NZ -- peer support by phone • Cancer Chat NZ -- online discussion forum • Cancer Information Nurse free phone 0800 226 237 2142976GP John Hayes www.national.org.nz www.johnhayes.co.nz MP FOR WAIRARAPA P: 0800 2 HAYES (0800 242 937) E: email@example.com Wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year My electorate offices will be closed from21Dec-14Jan.Ifyouhavean urgent issue please call or email me at: 4545117AA Like us on CELTICSTAR Tarot & Rune Readings Live. Find out what the future holds Ph 0900 50 800 18 years or over. Calls cost $2.98+GST per min. Law States Entertainment only. Time: 9.00am - 9.00pm Not Tues & Thur Evening Phone: (04) 297-0967 TW105636 Keeping resolute for the New Year THE LONG VIEW RICK LONG Hang about: It's hard to hang on to some New Year's resolutions. ' To give you some indication of the extent of my fear, I m bound to confess that my legs were shaking even standing on the table! It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless of course you are an exceptionally good liar.'' -- Jerome K. Jerome. True stories they say are stranger than fiction and the New Year always reminds of the time, some years back, when I made a resolution that was going to be damnably hard to keep. The fam- ily were sitting around home on New Year s Eve when we decided to make our resolutions and knowing that I was perfect in every way -- oh Lord, it s hard to be humble -- I was having diffi- culty in deciding what on earth I could do to improve my persona. I reluctantly conceded that I did have a flaw in my makeup; I m terrified of heights. The resolution then was obvious. I would cure myself of the fear of heights dur- ing the ensuing year. The kids, knowing of my overt fear, were uncharitably sceptical. I put up with their taunts most of that January, but I was lying on the beach one day and looking up at the sky and it occurred to me that the thing I would hate to do the most was to go skydiving. It was a rev- elation; all I had to do to cure my fear of heights was to jump out of an aeroplane. It was so simple; why hadn t I thought of it before? I was aware that there was a skydiving company out at Hood aerodrome, but I didn t want to fail locally so I rang the Mana- watu skydiving club to check out the options there. The lady on the phone was most obliging. I couldn t have rung at a more opportune time, she intoned. They were starting a new class in the first week in February and I was welcome to join. It required me to attend a tutorial every Thursday night for six weeks at a complex at Milson Aerodrome in Palmerston North where I would be taught the theory of skydiving. On the sixth night I would be required to sit a test and if I passed, on the following Saturday, I could take my first jump. So every Thursday I would rush home from work, shower and change, and then tear over the Pahiatua track to Palmerston North to learn the theory of skydiving. I have put the inverted commas around theory because I want to emphasise it. There were 28 in the class; I was palpably the oldest and we didn t do anything practical except on the third or fourth even- ing we were made to climb on to a platform about as high as a dining room table and with our para- chutes strapped on our backs we slid down a flying-fox type of con- traption and were instructed how to land safely. To give you some indication of the extent of my fear, I m bound to confess that my legs were shaking even standing on the table! On the sixth night we were given the test and I topped the class in the theory of skydiving. In fact we all pas- sed with flying colours and the instructor invited us to come back on Saturday morning and, weather permitting, we would be able to put our theory into prac- tice. I didn t get a wink of sleep that Friday night and next morning reluctantly arose early for the pil- grimage to the Manawatu. My wife and the four grown-up children were all coming of course; there was no way that they were not going to witness the inevitable death by fright of their wimp-like husband and father. I wanted to get lost somewhere around Mangamaire but the fam- ily kept me on the right track and we arrived punctually at Milson aerodrome on a cloudless, wind- less day in mid-March. Perfect weather, the instructor gleefully told us, for skydiving. I tried to appear outwardly calm -- but in my heart my knees were shaking! The palpitations increased markedly when the tutor said, He who tops the class, jumps first. The little Cessna 180 sitting on the tarmac was the scariest plane I have ever seen. There was a door missing on one side and when the instructor, the pilot and I were bundled into the tiny cockpit I dis- covered to my great chagrin that I was sitting next to the gap where the door should have been. I remember saying to the pilot, Look at those people down there, they look like ants. He said, Those are ants you idiot, we haven t taken off yet. Soon we were airborne and the plane circled around and around in the clear blue sky to attain the desired height. By now I was numb with fright. I once read a book called The Power of Positive Thinking and had managed as a result of its teachings to keep the contemplation of actually jumping from an aeroplane at a great height out of my thought patterns over the last six weeks, but now, as the plane soared higher and higher, there was no hiding it from my consciousness. The open- door policy only exacerbated the situation! Finally the instructor said OK, now jump. I said, Can we do just one more circuit? He reluctantly acquiesced and allowed the pilot to make another turn which really only prolonged the agony and meant I was even further away from terra firma. I was then told that if I didn t jump after the next circuit he would get the pilot to tip the plane and I would fall out and this would be somewhat less pleasant than actually taking the plunge volun- tarily. Voluntarily! How on earth did I allow myself to get in to this ludicrous situation? The moment of truth arrived. The New Year s resolution was about to be fulfilled. I took a deep breath, cursed Dr Norman Vincent Peale and his darned book, and jumped. Now in the theory of skydiv- ing we were told to count up to about fifteen seconds, enjoy the sensation of flying, then pull the rip-cord and float down to earth to the cheers of the madding crowds. I think I counted fully one-and- a-half seconds before I hastily tug- ged firmly on the cord. You re never going to believe this, but the parachute failed to open. Never mind, I topped the class in the theory of skydiving and it is important not to panic; you simply curl up into a foetal position and pull on the little white cord with the knot on the end that s con- veniently at waist height and this will release the emergency chute which will reliably open and safely float you to the ground. I tugged at the cord and at this time all the theory went out the win- dow. The emergency chute failed to open as well. I never did, at any stage, experi- ence the glorious sensation of floating or flying. Now it felt like I was hurtling, and the ground was coming up at an alarming speed. They say just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes and certainly as I looked down I could see on the edge of the tarmac my wife and the four kids standing around the car, all the things I hold dear to me -- particu- larly the car -- and I could imagine what was going through their minds. Gosh, isn t Dad brave, he really is waiting to the very last minute before he opens his parachute! To the right of me I could see the Palmerston North public hos- pital, just a few hundred yards east of the aerodrome, where, with a bit of luck I might end up, but behind me, to my left, there was the Kelvin Grove Crema- torium which was far more likely to be my ultimate destination. I decided to have one more crack at life. I grabbed the white cord firmly, got my hand securely behind the knot and I pulled and I pulled -- and I pulled the cord clean out of my pyjamas! Have a great 2013!
December 26th 2012
January 16th 2013