Near Death Experiences

  There have been numerous times thoughout out my life where I have nearly lost it. Here are a few that I can recall.

   - Once when I was 4, my family and I were staying in a hotel room while on vacation. I found a rusty old razor blade laying on the floor. For some reason I thought it would be cool to shave some hair off my leg. I ended up shaving a huge swath of skin off.

   - Another early experience I can recall was playing on the railing at Niagra Falls when I was 5. I need to get my father to remind me exactly what happened.

   - One time I was on a vacation with my folks at a canyon ( I think we may have been on our way to visit a college). I remember reading a sign that said if the park rangers had to come rescue you, then you would have to pay a $500 fine. Of course I had to go scaling the rocks. I got about two-thirds up the wall of the gorge pretty easily, but then I looked down. I got pretty scared because I could not down-climb.  The climb going up looked considerably more difficult than the part I had already done. I stayed there stuck for a bit. I was very scared about falling, but the embarrassment of getting rescued would have been worse so I just decided to go for it and climb the rest of the way up.  I had to scramble a bit - grabbing grass and tree roots, but I just barely made it. I did not even tell my parents what happened until much later.

   - When I was in college at RPI I practiced Aikido a lot. I can remember one time when I fell on my head and nearly broke my kneck. The same thing happened again a few years later when I was practicing Aikido at UC Davis.

   - Once while driving home from RPI in my Chevette I hit an ice patch. I thought the white stuff on the road was salt, but it was actually ice. I had bald tires on my car. I was about to miss my exit so I swerved suddenly to try and make it. My car just started spinning and spinning. I don't know how many times I spun around, but when the car stopped turning, I was facing the wrong way on the highway. Fortunately there were only a few other cars on the highway, so I was able to just drive forward and make a left onto the exit anyway. I was surprised to find that I did not panic during the experience, though I did feel a bit shaken afterwards.

   - My senior year at RPI I rented an room above a Doctors office in downtown Troy with two other guys. We had some friends living next door. One night I had cooked some dinner and was planning to carry it next door to eat it. Unbeknownst to me the outside stairs leading up to our apartment we covered with a sheet of newly formed ice. As soon as I touched the ice on the stairs, my feet flew out from under me. Both my dinner and I sailed in to the air. By luck, I came down on my elbow rather than my head. I believe I chipped a bone, but miraculously did not break anything serious.

   - Riding my bicycle in Livermore with toe clips on, I hit a curb unexpectedly and went over the handle bars. The toeclips stayed attached and the bicycle went over the top of me as I rolled. By some miracle I ended up upright and continued pedalling as if nothing had happened. Its not a trick I could easily repeat.
   - While at graduate school in UC Davis, I took gymnastics at night. I could do a forward handspring pretty well, but really wanted to learn how to do a backflip. I never did learn to do it - probably because I am too tall. One time when I was trying, I just jumped backwards and landed on my head. Even though I had a spotter, she was not strong enough to hold me up and I almost broke my kneck.

  - Once when returning from work at SGI, I was riding my bicycle in the dark without a lght or helmet, and ran headlong into an orange construction barrier that was erected to prevent people from taking the bike path. I flew over the barrier and came crashing down on the pavement on the other side. Fortunately my aikido training saved me, and I was able roll and not be injured.I knew all those years of aikido practice would pay off someday.

- I once tried riding my bicycle up the face of Mission Peak in Fremont CA. Going up was arduous, but coming down was downright stupid. Three times I went flying over the handlebars when I hit a rock or a hole. Finally, I gave up and walked the rest of the way down. Naturally I wasn't wearing a helmet, but my aikido falls saved me again. I also had a brace on my leg because I was recovering from ACL replacement surgury that I had 2 weeks before.

  -  We were at the beach in Santa Cruz one time. I was boogy boarding. I caught the wave too early and got smashed head first into the sand by the wave. My head bent painfully backward while my legs came forward over the top of me. I remember feeling very helpless while it was happening. I almost broke my kneck. My sister Pam knows two people who did actually breakk their knecks this way.