My ultimate thrill fantasy: A UFO occupant, or angel, shows up in my back yard, or bedroom ... in the middle of the night and gives me a book. Then they leave, or disappear. After recovering my composure, I read this book, to discover that it contains not only the secrets of the universe, but how someone can live forever and explore it all.... I’m overwhelmed with desire to tell the world!
Unfortunately, this has never happened to me. So I must seek my thrills elsewhere.
In the manner of the movie, The Bucket List, I’ve gone about my life doing comparatively mundane and trivial things like:
Flying in a jet fighter at more than twice the speed of sound, thanks to my former employer Pratt & Whitney, and the United States Air Force Test Pilot School.
Skydiving from six miles high, thanks to Kevin Holbrook at HALOjumper.com.
Cruising 46,000 miles around the world on a luxury liner, thanks to a Grand Circle Travel two-for-one deal.
Flying a “jet pack” like Buck Rogers or James Bond, thanks to Jet Pack Adventures in Key West.
Setting foot on all seven continents, thanks to my adventuresome wife Francine for going with me.
White-water rafting the Zambezi River the world’s wildest river, thanks to those wild guys at Shearwater Rafting).
Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway, all 6,000 miles, from one end to the other, thanks to the MIR Corp.
Diving more than 2,000 feet deep in a research submarine, thanks to Karl Stanley at Stanley Submarines.
Rappelling down the vertical wall of Table Mountain in Cape Town the world’s highest commercial rappel, thanks to Abseil Africa.
Scuba diving with sharks, thanks to Stuart Cove’s Dive Center.
Hey, these were great fun, but oh how I longed for that personalized visit from a UFO (or angel). Not everybody seems to have this thrill seeking gene in their DNA. Most people think I’m nuts. And maybe I am.
I dream up adventures that scare many of my friends. And, often, when I have actually arranged to make one of them happen, it scares me, too. But I “tough” through what Navy SEAL officers call “the deep depression” or “The Big Chill” * These guys go looking for trouble. They “dream up” dangerous (and exciting) missions, plan them and “sell” them to their higher-ups. Then, if given a green light, they actually carry them out.
When I do a New Year’s eve midnight skydive (as I did 1959/1960, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, and 2009/2010), or a new Year’s eve midnight scuba dive (2010/2011), I don’t have the benefit of a SEAL jumpmaster or dive master to go over my plan, check my gear, and keep me from doing something stupid. Usually, I’m totally on my own (and who can blame my buddies for not wanting to accompany me?). As a result I have had a few “close calls” on my many wild home-grown adventures.
But I love the feeling that comes from actually doing something that pushes me beyond my former limits.
As for my longed-for “Secrets of the Universe” book, guess what? I’ve got it. Oh sure, you might not agree with me. But understand this. You had better find something that you do agree with. I think the atheists of the world are living a self-fulfilling prophesy. They think that when they die they will only have deep black oblivion. And I think “they” are absolutely right.
Unless you want that “doomed to destruction” feeling the rest of your life, find a book, philosophy, religion, or whatever, that you know will carry you on after death.
My biggest thrill was finding, reading and believing The Urantia Book.
*For an excellent description of this “what if ___ happens?”, or “what have I missed?” please see former SEAL Captain Dick Couch’s book, “Silent Descent”, page 160 , or, better yet, former SEAL Commander R. L. Crossland’s book “Red Ice”, pages 192 and 193