On a cloudy afternoon on the 22nd day of June, a fearsome test of courage faced me squarely, like Boris Karloff's head in a Frankenstein movie.
The dreaded Quad Power Jump.
Yes, I dared to say it aloud. The dreaded Quad Power Jump—a murderous mating of bungee cord and trampoline that makes lesser men weep like the 4-year-old in front of me in line surely would have if he hadn't been laughing and clapping his hands in anticipation.
There are seven little-known, masculine and manly trials that must be completed for one to become a true Quad Power Jumper, to attain the state of being that is Quad Power Jumpness.
Trial 1: The Sinister Weigh-In
You have to be 180 or less to face the Quad Power Jump. I was very happy to see the scale stop at 150 pounds, especially after I'd consumed the mere hours before.
Trial 2: The Ritual of Emptying Pockets
A manly man of my generation keeps everything in his pockets. Young people never carry anything—even change—these days, which is why you never see them purchasing a single-copy newspaper, but I digress.
Fortunately, a manly man's pocket arsenal also includes poop bags (newspaper jackets, see reference above) for walking , so I put all my change and car keys and golf tees and miscellaneous dollar bills and business cards into said bag, which formerly held the outstanding Wednesday edition of the Daily Herald.
Trial 3: The Terrible Tightening of the Straps
"Turn your head and cough," said , as the bands were tightened around my waist and the junction of my manly loins.
"Ya!" I answered in a falsetto voice I did not recognize.
Trial 4: An Astonishing "Leap" 20 Feet Into the Air
This is what it must have felt like to be Spud Webb in the mid-'80s.
Trial 5: Flipping Over, Forward and Backward, the Kind of Aerial Gymnastics That Would Kill a Lesser Man
Thank goodness for the poop bag. It would be raining cool Roosevelt dimes if I hadn't emptied my manly pockets.
Trial 6: "I'm Ready (Pant) to Come Down (Gasp) Any Time Now!"
How manly does a guy have to be, really?
"Pretty good workout, huh?" said the operator, but he declined to offer me oxygen.
Trial 7: My 13-Year-Old Daughter
Me: "You ready to go next?"
Tricia: (Gives me a look that would have turned Odysseus to stone.)
Me: "OK, then! On to the carnival!"
Next stop: The challenge men call, simply, that hammer thingy they do at the carnival that costs $3 cash but let's you get away with a squeaky 20-cent inflatable hammer if you simper enough and are accompanied by your already humiliated 13-year-old offspring.