A man climbs a cliff-face, and can't wait to prove his wife wrong.
|Standing at the base of El Capitan in Yosemite Nation Park, the sun was hot on the back of my neck. I checked my safety harness one last time, put my foot up onto the first protruding rock, and began my climb. |
It felt like hours passed, as I slowly made my way further and further up. Pausing only to re-hydrate, I could feel the heat emanating from the California-sun-baked rock in front of me. Higher and higher I climbed, determined to make it to the top. While taking a drink, I must have spilled some water onto one of my footholds and in a flash found myself dangling from the cliff-face. My heart stopped. I held as still as possible in an attempt to ensure that no sudden movements caused my demise. Eyes still closed, I tried to get my bearings. I was not upside down, and based on the feeling of gravity, I was not facing the ground. Bravely, I opened my blurry eyes to barely make out that I was suspended from an outcrop of rock.
The next thing my training told me was that I needed to check my harness to make sure it was secure. As I moved my hand to where the rope of my harness should have been securely holding me in place, I froze. It was gone. I panicked and a million thoughts swirled through my mind at once. Where did it go? How did it fail? I should be dead. Finally, one thought stood out above all others: If I'm hanging from a rock, which is why I'm not dead, what then am I hanging from? As my vision focused, fog of adrenaline lifting, I noticed that I was hung by the elastic of my underwear.
I was shocked. I was alive because of my Calvin Klein's. Then, as though by tv-show flashback, a scene from this morning played in my head. My wife, watching me get ready for this climb, saw me grab for my lucky underwear. The very same that just saved my life. She criticized me for grabbing them, and called them the oldest, worn out pair she had ever seen, and told me I should throw them out. I almost laughed out loud when I thought of that. I thought of how I was finally going to get to tell her she was wrong. How the very thing she wanted me to do would have been the worst decision I could have made, and that they would ultimately save my life. I thought of how her face would look, and how apologetic she'd be because the ratty old article of clothing she would have thrown away, would be the very thing that would save my liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiif...