Here's the Scoop: January 11, 2012

Spring is late this year
By now, you have probably seen TV or Internet footage of the young Australian lady who went bungee jumping in her homeland on New Year’s Day — and got a bit of a surprise when the anticipated “bounce back” was replaced by a snapped cord. And a freefall.
Remarkably, Erin Langworthy survived the drop into the river below, suffering bruises and a fractured collar bone.

I have read a number of news reports regarding this incident and most of the writers expressed surprise that someone was on hand to film this event. Who are they kidding? It’s hard to believe anyone can perform the most common task these days without being filmed by someone. So, the fact that Erin’s friend made a video of her bungee jumping episode is far from shocking.

Not being a “thrill-seeker” type, the real oddity to me is that anyone would want to bungee jump in the first place? I break out in a cold sweat on a ladder higher than six feet. I’d vote for Newt Gingrich before I’d enjoy the thrills of a bungee jump.

Here’s where the media enters the action. Not only did Erin have to cope with the unfortunate effects of a substandard bungee cord during a 368-foot plunge, the waters below were “crocodile infested.” Cool. This is getting better and better.

Struggle continues
Now, toss in the fact that her feet were still bound by the bungee cord and that she had to swim to shore to avoid the rapids below and you’ve got a riveting story. Oh, and the bungee hanging from Erin kept catching on debris in the water, making her navigation more difficult.

What did I forget? That she blacked out for a bit before coming to her senses and exclaiming: “I want a refund!” I made up the part about the refund. But, I hope she gets one.

I still can’t put this whole thing in perspective. Forget the crocodiles and the looming rapids. I can’t get over the fact that anyone would want to take a huge leap with their feet bound by a cord for the “thrill” of springing back up, right before landing in the water. Or, hitting the water, in this case.

Odds in jumpers’ favor
Forget the fact that bungee cords only snap “a very small percentage of the time.” That’s comforting, though. Still, I’ve always wondered about the impact of bungee jumping on participants’ bodies even when the cord stays intact. I skipped medical school, but it seems like plummeting hundreds of feet and then being rapidly jerked back in the other direction is not necessarily something that bodies were designed to experience. Or, am I still just trying to justify being a chicken?

As noted, my sense of adventure is quite limited. My boundaries are stretched to the max when I enjoy a cool brew right from the bottle, instead of using a glass. The idea of bungee jumping is not something that I’d consider for a millisecond.

On the bright side, now that Erin is out of the hospital, I’m sure she’s well enough to start negotiating deals for a book, movie and a reality TV show. I’m sure she’ll bounce back from this mishap quite nicely.
— Brian Sweeney