Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Safe landing


When I was about ten or eleven years old, I joined into the tail end of a conversation about what humans can and cannot do. One of the older boys in the group claimed that it is impossible for humans to land on two feet and not bend the knees. He said that even if you try to keep your legs straight, you can’t as bending the knees is instinctive and you cannot override it.

A few of the kids decided to test this theory by jumping off a chair. Not one of them managed to land and keep the legs completely straight. Their knees bent to some degree, and the group decided that indeed it was impossible to land without bending the knees. I wasn’t convinced, as I observed that none of the children locked their legs straight during the descent. So I decided to demonstrate that it was possible to land without bending the knees.

There was a reason I had been dubbed the little professor. A well as being a mine of (mostly irrelevant) knowledge, I liked to experiment. I clambered onto the chair, launched myself into the air and locked my knees absolutely straight, and held that pose during the descent. And I proved it is possible to land without bending the knees.

What I didn’t prove is that you can do it safely.

I saw stars and flashing lights. I heard a roaring sound like a freight train rushing past. I felt and heard a grinding sensation in my neck. Then there was blackness. I don’t know if I actually passed out, but moments latter when the roaring, lights and darkness abated, I found myself standing upright with flashes of pain going off along my neck and spine. The boy who had made the claim, shrugged his shoulders, said “Oops I was wrong”, then turned his back on me and walked off.

It never occurred to me at the time that I might have been set up. That possibility didn’t occur to me until a decade later, by which time I had lost all contact with the group. If it was a set up, I’m grateful that they chose a chair to jump from and not the garage roof.

The first migraine attack that I remember having was  when I was around ten or eleven, although they didn’t become a regular feature of my life until I was twelve of thirteen. I wonder if there’s a connection…

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

8 thoughts on “Safe landing

  1. I laughed at this and then felt sorry for the young you taking this plunge. Had you tried it from a tall enough height, the results would have been different

    • Very different indeed. In fact I might not have lived to tell the tale.

      • Or damaged internal organs. That was such a risky experiment

        • I have one collapsed disc and a number of compressed discs in my neck and lower back, possibly caused by that experiment.

          But it was probably no more dangerous than finding out what happens when a straightened paper clip is inserted into a 235 volt electric power outlet, or what happens when you drink a large glass of “jungle juice” (50% home made wine, 50% whiskey) your parents banned you from making, but you did in secret anyway, or finding out if a bull reacts differently to a red rag than it does to green rag (spoiler: it doesn’t).

  2. Oh, boy, this story is amazing. It makes me feel like laughing and crying at the same time.


    • In hindsight it’s rather humorous. I was rather naive when it to understanding the motives of others, and although I would like to think I can read people better now that I’m approaching 70, I’m not sure if I really can 🙂

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