12) THINGS MAY WORK IN THE
SAME WAY AS MY WAY, OR
In not jumping out of the airplane in exactly the same way as I was
instructed to do, I twisted my parachute risers (lines which connect the
harness to the canopy).
Workability is not a chance or random quality. Neither do things work
because of luck. In fact, the harder I work at anything, the luckier I
get (as Gary Player may have said). There is a particular way in which
any given thing or event works, which may or may
not be the same way as how I believe or would prefer that thing
or event to work.
When my parachute opened, the risers were twisted in a tight spiral so
that for the first twenty seconds or so of the skydive, I sat in the
harness spinning around untwisting. At first I called this a malfunction
(anything less than the flawless opening and inflation of the canopy). I
noticed myself wondering why this should 'happen to me,
especially on my first jump', and I noticed that when I related the
episode on the ground, how an element of relish had crept into the tale,
how there was suddenly something noteworthy about getting a malfunction
on my first time skydiving.
The plain truth about that, as I realized later, was that I did not
follow instructions correctly. The instructions were to jump out of the
plane parallel to the fuselage. Even though my jumpmaster had
promised me a case of Dom Perignon if I could jump to within a
millimeter of touching the wing, I decided that I would hit the wing if
I jumped the way he instructed me to. In fact, by the time you reach
where you think the wing ought to be, you are about twenty feet behind
and below the tail of the plane. There is not a ghost of a chance that
you could get a hand to the wing, let alone hit it with enough force to
do yourself some bodily damage. So I jumped my way and assumed the
classical spreadeagle, full drag, arched skydiving posture
perpendicular to the fuselage.
However, my harness was then parallel to the slipstream instead of
perpendicular to it as it would have been had I followed instructions
correctly. As the canopy inflated it spun in the slipstream. Given the
way I had jumped, the twisted risers malfunction was in fact not an
accident at all but an entirely predictable result.
Following instructions is a good beginning to having things work. There
are no accidents. The situations in my life turn out exactly the way
they do as a result of the way I engineer them.