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Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009


"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Feeling bored? Don't try this at home

By Ron Wallace

December 12, 2008 | When I was 17, I was hanging out with my friends on a Friday night. We were looking for something to do. Then my friend, Jake Thompson came up with the dumbest idea. He suggested that we try jumping out of his truck while he drove it at about 15 mph. I don't know where this idea came from or why I even stayed around but I did. I guess I could say I was really bored that night.

There were about five of us there altogether and two of us were actually considering jumping out. I said that I was going to jump and my friend Peter said he was going to, also. When we got into the back of the truck we searched for a back road that nobody would be using; that way when we jumped out nobody would see us.

As Jake sped up to 15 mph, many thoughts were running through my head. I knew that I could run close to 15 mph at my top speed but I didn't figure in the fact that when I landed I wasn't already running but hitting the ground at a speed of 0 mph. As I looked down at the road flying by, stupidity entered my brain and I said, "Hey Jake, speed it up another 10 mph."

He said, "Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure."

I had this queasy feeling in my stomach and then I either jumped or slipped. To tell you the truth I'm not sure.

I don't remember much after that. I wish I could have said I was dreaming because everything was black around me, but because of the pain going through my body I knew it was real. I heard many people in the background saying things. In confusion I asked, "What's going on?"

Between all the conversations one person stopped to talk to me. "We're doing our best to make you better so you can leave tonight."

"Leave where?" I was out of it and had no recollection of what had happened.

As the nurse explained to me where I was, things started to come back. Then as they permitted my cousin Bob Thompson to come in and talk to me, an even better recollection of "the jump for entertainment" I had done earlier that night entered my brain.

The headache was overwhelming. Why did I do it? After I had the power to open my eyes I wanted to ask so many questions to my friends but they weren't even allowed into the room, they just let Bob come in.

I don't remember going home that night but when I got home Bob asked me why I had jumped. I said because I thought Peter was going to and it was something to do. He said, "Yes we were looking for something to do, but nobody thought you were going to jump. Besides Peter never jumped after seeing what happened to you. The ambulance was called immediately afterwards." He then continued to explain how dumb it was.

As I walked inside my house I remember my mom saw me and started chuckling. She didn't know the whole story but she couldn't believe how I looked. She wasn't making fun of me but she was surprised how beat up I was.

Because of what I did that night when my friends and I were looking for something to do, I suffered from migraine headaches for about two years -- and there aren't a lot of things worse than a bad migraine headache. I regret having done it and would suggest that you never try jumping out of a truck when it is going at any speed, unless it's maybe 5 mph or less.

I learned that day that you need to follow your gut feeling. If your friends are suggesting you to do something you feel isn't right, don't do it. Even if they're joking around about how fun it will be, the consequences can be costly and they're not worth it.

If you are really looking for something to do we have plenty of options in this day and age. If I could have gone back to that day I would have played video games or got a milkshake. If my friends didn't want to do either of those things, I would have just gone home and watched a movie or gone to bed.


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