The Jumper

23 Apr

(This post was somehow deleted from my archives, so I have re-posted it. Let’s call it a Throwback…Wednesday?)

Two days ago, I decided to jump. One could say that better decisions than this one have been made…

It all started last week when my mom and I were watching the movie Big, starring Tom Hanks. In the movie, Tom Hanks – who is supposed to be a thirteen-year-old kid in an adult man’s body – takes his thirty-year-old love interest (Ew. I’ve always had an issue with that) to a toy store and they jump on a trampoline. Tom Hanks is a flawless jumper because, duh, he’s a kid. And also because he’s Tom Hanks. His lady friend, however, cannot jump; and every time she tries, she looks like she pooped – or very well might poop – herself.

So, I turned to my mom and I said, “What is the matter with her? Why can’t she just jump?” It was late at night and I was really exhausted while we were watching, so I felt like this question was the most pressing one I’d EVER asked.

My mom responded, “Well, adults don’t really jump…”

According to my mom, this is common knowledge. Due to a combination of brittle joints, the pressures and expectations of society, and the usually helpful but sometimes unfortunate ability to connect actions to consequences, adults just don’t jump. Maybe it was the fatigue, but I found this really, really puzzling and upsetting.

Then, yesterday, I went on a picnic with my sisters and my friend, Alison. After consuming an entire bag of grapes (basically by myself) I was on a sugar high and suggested we all take pictures of each other jumping in the air. I’d like to thank the grape high (and Tom Hanks) for giving me this fabulous idea.

Lucky for you, we managed to capture several failed jumping attempts for your viewing pleasure.

The picture below is Group Jumping Attempt #1:


Please note: the three ladies to my right look like (from left) a Greek goddess; a bounding gazelle; and a basketball player who dabbles in modeling various basketball poses. But wait, who is that uncoordinated hippie on the far left? Shall we zoom in?


Oh my word, what is she doing? There are several things which make me feel very uncomfortable and slightly afraid when I look at this photo:

Observation #1: I think it’s obvious to everyone that I have not left the ground. Judging by the height of everyone else’s jumps, I think it is also obvious that I will not be leaving the ground for the duration of this photograph. I’d like to claim that my failure to launch is an allusion created by the tall height of the grass… But I really don’t think that’s an option at this point. Shall we just chock it up to weak joints? Adulthood, one: Sophie, zero.

Observation: #2: My expression looks like I woke up from a cough syrup-induced slumber with a coating of drool on my face, realized everyone was jumping, decided to try it, and then became too distracted by something in the distance to follow through. Also, is one of my eyes closed? Jesus. I mean, I know it’s sunny out and I’m attempting to thrust my body into the air, but am I really too uncoordinated to keep both of my eyes open for a picture??

Observation #3: MIDDLE PART. AVERT YOUR EYES. Honestly, I think that is the worst part of this picture.

This can’t possibly be it, I thought after jumping attempt #1. Tom Hanks cannot be the ONLY adult who is capable of jumping! Feeling desperate and determined, I convinced my comrades to attempt another jumping photo.

Group Jumping Attempt #2:


Okay, clearly we were all feeling worn out from the first jumping attempt. But still, something is just not panning out the way it should.

I mean, my sister (to the right) does look a little bit drunk. But nothing about her comes off as jarring and altogether threatening to the well being of those around her…

And Alison (to the far right) has her jazz hands out and is ready for BROADWAY. Everyone loves a good pair of jazz hands, so she’s clearly not the issue.

Aha, spotted. Angry clown, due West.

Let’s analyze this:

Observation #1: For the second time, I have failed to leave the ground. I guess I just thought the ground would decide to give me a push if I just waved my arms around like an orangutan on crack. You mean I actually have to use my legs to jump? Fascinating.

Observation #2: My fists are all balled up like I’m about to go after a gang of hooligans that is ruining my petunia garden. This isn’t the WWE – unclench your fists and take a Xanax. The only good thing about my arms is their strategic placement in front of the middle part. Thank God we don’t have to see that again.

Observation #3: That GRIMACE. What is with that? Did I sit on a tack? Am I watching a dog eat its own feces? Am I in a wind tunnel? Seriously, you’d think forming a smile would be the least of my worries at this point…

I thought that photograph was rock bottom (or grass bottom, hehe). I was going to give up. Damn Tom Hanks and his nimble legs! Screw my childhood fun and freedom! I am a brittle old ADULT!

BUT WAIT. A little voice inside of me said, don’t give up! You can DO this!

… Actually, I think Alison said that. But she was standing behind me, so I feel OK about taking credit for this one.

That was just the boost I needed.

Jumping Attempt #3:


Now THAT is what I call a jump! If you ignore my gaping mouth and my crazy eyes, it almost looks like I’m a regularly functioning jumper! My arms are at nearly a 180 degree angle; my legs are bent in such a way that I miraculously manage to appear cute and peppy, when really I’m in the process of dislocating a disk in my back and swallowing a bug in midair; and, I’M OFF THE GROUND.

It only took a bag of grapes, three jumping attempts (plus several more that I didn’t document) and the lingering voice of Tom Hanks in my head saying yes you can.

Adults may not be able to jump, but I certainly can. I guess that makes me Tom Hanks in this scenario…

We’ll take it.



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