Swingin' High on a Risk

"I want to go on that ride!" I pointed at a large pirate ship that was swinging in mid-air.

"Ummm I don't think I'm going to go on that.. it looks scary." Said one of my friends in the group behind me. 
"What are you talking about? It's just like a big swing!" I protested. 

The pirate ship was filled with rows of sitting people, and every time the boat slung downwards from its near vertical tilt a row of hands shot up into the air, gleefully grasping at something I wanted to experience for myself.  It was towards the end of our day at the amusement park and I had exhausted every version of the merry-go-round, the tilt-a-whirl, the race cars, and even the 'small-splash' water rides. When everyone else had gone on roller coasters I wasn't tall enough for, or rides that involved a lot of stop-jerk movements I sat waiting for them at the exit - holding on to sunglasses, hats, and water bottles. 

So when my eyes landed on the pirate ship, a big boat thing that seemed to only swing back and forth without any other gravity defying twirls, I pushed and pleaded for someone to go on it with me. 

"Sandy I just don't want you to get hurt."
"I'm not going to... there's nothing dangerous about it!"
"But what if you do?"
"I WON'T!" After a great deal of back and forth with my buddies I finally won,
"Alright. Okay. Fine, I'll carry you onto it, I'll go on it with you." I grinned at my friend's response and parked my wheelchair near the entrance of the ride. That was when I saw it. The idiotic wooden giraffe stake with a speech bubble above its head: "Must be 42" to ride!" At that point in time I was and forever will be only 36". 
I wasn't in middle school, this wasn't a high school field trip, I wasn't even a college student trying to prove my swagger. I was an adult, had a college degree, was fully aware of why our society has rules & regulations, I understood the need for safety precautions and so when the following words came out of my mouth - I think I shocked myself:

"Yo whatever, let's go on this thing anyway. I'm going on it with you, I'll be safe. This is going to be fine, it's going to be awesome in fact!" 
"Alright, are you sure?" 
"Dude you know how I am! Rules were meant to be broken!" 

My friend carried me onto the boat and I slid over and onto the bench to make room for her. We had decided to sit somewhere closer to the middle section of the boat. The teenager-looking person controlling the entire ensemble came over and flipped the lap bar down for us. He made sure it was locked in place and without a second glance at me went on to do the same for the folks sitting in front of us. 
The lap bar didn't go anywhere near my lap, in fact it was more like a chest or neck bar. I gripped the metal bar in front of me and grinned up at my friend, my legs swinging with excited anticipation for what was to come. Before I knew it the machine began and the boat began a slow backwards rise towards its rear. Immediately I slid a few inches towards the edge of my seat, the metal bar holding me back from completely sliding off --

"Oh geezus, this is going to be nuts.." I giggled to my friend. Soon the boat had fallen into an easy metronome pace, rocking back and forth and I had gotten my bearings between the 4-5 inches that I slid around in my seat

"Oh crap!" I screamed suddenly. Without warning the boat had plunged down from its highest tilt and my stomach was somewhere where my kidneys were, I couldn't feel the lower half of my body, and my entire body seemed to hover a few centimeters higher off the seat with each lurch. 
"Oh my god Sandy are you okay? Should I tell the guy to stop? Should we get off?" My friend said to me as she put one arm around my shoulders to hold me closer to her.
Instead of being a sane and responsible adult, I just looked up at her and laughed,
"I'm fine! This is hilariously fun!" 
For the remainder of the ride my fingers gripped on the bar for dear life, and I felt like I was fighting gravity just to stay seated in one place. I was certain that either my fingers or wrists would just snap off; blood drained from my arms and hands as they grew whiter and colder from my scrawny iron-tight grasp. All the others around me, those who actually were at least 42" tall were sitting there like it was just another summer boat ride along a picturesque lake.

I know. I could have just been flung off the boat and landed on the pavement below to my death. I could have easily slipped off my seat completely and fallen to the bottom of the boat, legs broken helter-skelter. I could have rammed into the metal bar in front of me and broken ribs, or suffered from internal bleeding. I could have slid to the other side of the boat and just gone over the edge completely, and fallen from however high we were off the ground. I could have broken my tail bone each time my body came crashing down onto the seat again. I could have done so many things, but here is what happened: 
Do I regret it? Of course not. Did I have fun? Hell yes. Should I have done it? Probably not. Am I alive? Obviously. And what did we learn? Life swings on & whether you'll be joining me or not, I'm already on to the next risk! So c'mon people!! Keep up eh?

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