Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Soft(er) landings


     The only way to get good at anything is through practice.
     Which is hard enough when you are practicing something safe, like writing, or tennis, or carving wood.
     But what happens when practice can get you killed?
     Steps must be taken. And devices deployed.  
     I was was hiking down a mountain trail in Colorado when I spied a flash of something large and hot pink up the trail ahead. It looked like an inflatable mattress. Hard to ignore a thing like that. The owner noticed me noticing it.  
     I had to ask, because otherwise I'd never know.    
     "I'm trying to figure that out," I said, in my friendliest tone, gesturing toward the large pink object.
     "It's my very visible crash pad," he said, with laudable abashment. 
  A "crash pad" was an unfamiliar concept to me. Well, except as a temporary place where hip young people caught a few z's. But that couldn't be its meaning here. Still, well-named, as no further explanation was really necessary. The device describes itself. 
     As if to demonstrate anyway, he immediately proceeded to set the crash pad at the base of a rock wall and begin climbing, quickly but methodically working his fingers and toes into the crevices and crawling up the red rock wall. I asked him if I could take his picture and he said, over his shoulder, that I could. Better safe that sorry, 


  1. So if he falls it will be precisely on the pad? Apparently he's done the math. He might want to practice that too.

  2. Great column. Crash pad doesn't look very big. But I wondered too about learning things like that. I figured you just fell a couple times and got better. Crash pad? Who would have ever thought that up?

  3. I occasionally take a tumble while running (or even walking) for exercise. I don't think I'd feel safer even if I had the "crash pad" strapped to my body, much less placed 30 or 40 feet below a rock face that looks sheer enough for my taste.


  4. Goodness! Is that a pile of rocks surrounding his crash pad? I wonder what the odds are of falling on the pad rather than on those rocks!

    1. Less than the odds of falling on the rocks if it was not there.


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