THE SKYDIVER THAT WAS TOO GOOD
by Bill Newell
On a warm Sunday afternoon a few years ago, a tall swarthy slim muscular stud by the name of Trim Tabs showed up at the local DZ to make his first jump. Trim, appearing on a $20.00 bet made the night before over a pool game, was his usual calm unruffled self as he breezed through his PLF's and pre-jump training.
Worried? Why should he be? After all, he'd always been the best at what he'd done. Tops in all the high school sports, an All American in college, lifeguard, expert scuba instructor, champion skier, etc. You name it; Tabs had excelled in it. You see Trim was one of those unique individuals who were blessed with the gift of perfection.
Trim Tabs was soon on jump run at 3500 feet for his first static line jump. When the time came to go, Tabs really stoked his jumpmaster by making a perfect exit off the strut. Then a straight in approach for a dead center in the pea gravel with the most beautiful PLF ever witnessed by a ground crew. What really dumbfounded the DZ staff was that Trim insisted on completing the rest of his static lines and his first clear and pull that same day. He chalked up 3 perfect dummy ripcord pulls; a clean 10 second delay on his first freefall and made all dead center stand up landings.
"Aw shit," exclaimed Shufty McBlutts, chief jumpmaster in charge. "It had to be the most phenomenal stroke of luck I've ever seen. I'll take him up next week if he ever comes back and see if he can repeat even half of what he's done here today."
Sure enough, the following week Trim appeared at the hangar bright and early anxiously awaiting the next lift. McBlutts ambled over and said, "See here kid, you really torqued some heads last weekend. Howja like to go up with me an I'll give ya your first hook up on your second freefall? Think ya can handle that, huh?" Tabs replied he thought that would be fine, because he, being near perfect, wasn't a smart ass either.
Well up they went to 4500 feet. Trim sailed off the strut like an American flag followed by Shufty who greased through the sky like a slick turd. Trim miraculously saved the jump by grabbing Shufty's sweaty hands as he smoked passed. Then, by doing some super tucking, managed to create a smooth hook up. While on the ground field packing, Shufty's facial expression resembled a guilty cat caught eating contraband cheese. His mind badly blown, McBlutts was last seen chain linking his lines off into the desert.
As time went on, Trim Tabs continued to amaze his fellow jumpers. Never making mistakes, never missing, always being right on. Like breaking into a 3 man 3rd on his 3rd freefall, last on a 10 way on his 10th freefall and so on. It wasn't too long at all until Trim Tabs (Slim Trim as he became affectionately known as) became in popular demand by the top ten man star teams of the nation. His fame spread far and wide.
Since his 20th jump, Trim had been a regular on a team named Captain Superman and The Hog Backed Bellboys. Loyal stud that he was, he decided to decline the many lucrative offers from some of the other hot teams and remain with Captain Superman throughout the competition that year. Besides, he felt he kind of owed them something for their faith in him.
Captain Superman's Hogs had been wallowing low in the ratings, almost falling off the charts for months when they stumbled across Slim Trim who reminded them of Roger Daltery. In a single practice jump together their eyes got big and they grooved with a renewed stamina and vigor that could only be brought on by the magnanimous, magnificent magnitude of a magical marvel that never missed. The one and only Slim Trim.
To get to the meat of the story, Slim had been closing 10th on their 10 man speed star team in 10 seconds which in those days was unheard of, (incidentally, it still is.) On opening day of the Nationals the only team in real contention with the Hog Backed Bell Boys was a crack team from Orangejuice, Massachusetts formerly known as The Intangible Wings Of Tangerines. Now, proudly called Jerry's Birds, their fastest 10 man up until then had been a 12.7. Jerry's Birds, seasoned that they were, knew full well of Slim Trim's hot reputation and even though not shocked or shook, was scared of their scores.
Moving along, the 5th round of competition had Jerry's Birds laying eggs in the sky. The pressure had come and gone as the Captain's Hogs had made a 10 second 10 man for 4 consecutive jumps and in the final round led their fine-feathered friends by 14 seconds.
At this point, Captain Superman, not noted for his mercy and somewhat of a pig himself took Trim aside and told him, "Look Tabs, I can dig your style, but you've come in 10th in 10 seconds in the last 10 jumps. Not to be gripin but do you think you can crank it up a tad for this next leap so's we can REALLY cram it down their throats?
Trim said he thought that would be fine, cause after all, due to his superior breeding he wasn't a smart-ass and not about to sass the fine Captain. But with chin held high and rugged profile squinting into the glinting sun, Tabs did say this; "Captain Super Hog Guts or whatever your real name is, let me hip you to something. Get the rest of the boys wound tight and if you're not late, you'll see me there in eight."
Trim figured a little pressure would be good for him at this point. After all for Christ sakes, coming in 10th in 10 seconds for the last 10 jumps was getting to be a drag. Hell, he was becoming stalemated. Why shouldn't the rest of the team speed up for him? They could! They would! He would vibe it!
The next scene brings us to jump run for the Captain and his fine-tuned swine oinking and grunting pagan victory chants. "SQUEE - SQUEEE, Squeal like a pig boys! Rape, pillage, kill- loot, plunder, grovel!" Quite a motley crew after having their confidence bolstered by the fantastic karma of Trim Tabs. In the meantime, Jerry's Birds nestled on the ground with a bleak outlook on the outcome coming out of the overcast.
The crowd was hushed. No one breathed a whisper. The Beech finally stopped moaning and took its crap. Ten small smooth forms were emitted in rapid succession similar to a peewee oyster jetty. How it looked in the air was a different story.
Trim had just nosed out the door to find a sub-terminal 9-man in the early 5's. "Way to go, men." Like a Flying Tiger, Dauntless, Corsairic even, Slim Trim slimmed his trim tabs and trucked. Wrists were looming large through the dim layer of ozone when all of a sudden for no known reason the star hit some turbulence, (probably left over by the propblast) then with a lurch suddenly shifted about 6 feet to the left, and - DAMNED- if Trim didn't miss!
Now missing a 9 man in 6 seconds normally wouldn't have been that bad. There was plenty of time for another approach. The pity of it was the only thing poor Trim could do was just look back with a bewildered expression on his face and shrug his shoulders. What else could he do? Trim was so good; he never learned how to make a turn!
Star Crest Magazine-Cira Jan.-Feb. 1976