My niece once, sent me a picture of her jumping out of a perfectly functioning airplane while it was thousands of feet in the air. She wasn't in the military, nobody forced her to do it, in fact from what I understand, she paid somebody to let her do it. Even if somebody offered me a million dollars to jump out of an airplane, I wouldn't. It scares the hell out of me just to think of it. Besides they would probably pack a fake parachute just so I would fall to my death, and they wouldn't have to pay up.
I have an irrational fear of heights. By that, I mean my palms sweat when I watch a movie where somebody is standing on the ledge of a building. when I watch somebody else go near the edge of a cliff I can't look. When Mark and I went to the cocktail lounge at the top of the John Hancock Building in Chicago, my whole body went numb as I looked out the window. More than once, I have agreed to go on roller-coaster rides with Mark, only to chicken out at the last minute. Yes, it was embarrassing when everybody had to move over so I could make my way from the front of the line, but at least I knew my underwear would stay clean that day.
I wasn't always this way. There was a time, when I was a child, that heights didn't bother me at all. In fact I enjoyed climbing the big weeping willow in our back yard, and looking into the second story window of our neighbors house. The peeping tom thing aside, I had no problem climbing trees and hanging from the branches. One thing my brother and I used to do was to climb up on our garage and jump off the roof, over the fence, into our neighbors grass. I must have done this a dozen times, until one day I just froze. I don't know why but I suddenly was overcome with fear, and I couldn't jump. Not only couldn't I jump, but I also couldn't climb back down the ladder next to the garage. I was frozen with fear.This of course gave my brothers, sisters, and all the neighbor kids a fantastic, kid opportunity, to mock and ridicule one of their own. I sat up there for a couple of hours, embarrassed and totally pissed at my antagonists, yet not pissed or embarrassed enough to suck it up and come down. No, it wasn't until my father came home from work and bellowed up to me, "Get the hell off of the garage before I come up there and drag you off!", that I finally climbed down. It wasn't that I actually overcame my fear of heights that brought me down. It was just that falling and breaking a bone, or smashing my skull, was much less scary than the thought of my dad, Big Al, coming up after me.