New York Daily News

Staying alive’s high on list

- Denis Hamill dhamill@nydailynew­

Some people reach a certain age and make a bucket list of thrilling things to do before dying and then start doing them in these summer months. Me, I sit poolside in Queens making my list of things I'll never do so I can keep on living. Skydiving tops my list. Especially after reading about the poor 49-year-old Manhattan real estate investor who was recently talked into skydiving by his regretful wife. He launched heavenward in a small prop plane — scary enough. But then he attached himself to a 25-yearold skydiving instructor from Brooklyn, a complete stranger, and jumped thousands of feet into thin air over Ulster County.

Then, when the chute deployed at 1,400 feet, the novice’s head likely snapped back and hit the instructor, knocking him out. Both slammed to Earth and perished. A horrific end. Evoking boxing trainer Cus D’Amato’s explaining why he didn't fly: “I don’t mind going when my number’s up, but I don’t wanna be onboard when the pilot’s number is up.”

I hate flying too, but I do it as a necessity of modern life. Still, unless it’s hit with a surface-to-air missile, I will never jump from a plane.

Bungee jumping also bounces high on my list.

In January, YouTube showed heart-stopping footage of a woman who bungee jumped some 300 feet off an African bridge toward a crocodile-infested rapids aaaaaaaaan­d . . . . . . the cord snapped! The footage shows her free-falling and splashing into the treacherou­s river with her feet still bound. By some miracle she survived.

Me, I lean across the deck chair to add bungee jumping to my list of things I’ll never, ever do.

Mountain climbing, too.

Last month, a climber looking for cheap thrills got to the 16,000-foot mark on Mount McKinley in Alaska and fell 1,100 feet to his death. On June 14, four Japanese climbers on the same mountain died in an avalanche.

Wow, am I missing out on thrills and spills or what?

Then came this headline: Fourth Climber Rescued From Mount Rainier.

But a forest ranger slid 3,000 feet to his death on Mount Rainier trying to rescue these screwballs, who fell into a crevasse.

Okay, I understand Hannibal crossing the Alps. But how is climbing a sheer rock cliff into a lethal blizzard considered good summer fun?

The next thing these suicidal adrenaline junkies should try scaling is the electric fence surroundin­g an asylum. Or a prison wall for causing that ranger’s death the way arsonists endanger firefighte­rs. Ocean cruises float high on my list, too. My idea of a cruise is a Staten Island Ferry ride. So I’ll never subject myself to psycho pirates, cowardly captains who run aground, Legionnair­es’ disease, loss of power, food poisoning and murder on the high seas. I can get all that here on dry land. My two favorite cruise ship horror stories include the woman who spent an entire trip a few cabins away from a raging, confrontat­ional bipolar wackjob. And a guy I know who invited an attractive woman he knew only slightly on a cruise. And discovered she was a hopeless drunk who staggered after him, shouting his name, for seven days at sea. Romantic. And enough to make you wanna jump overboard. Except there are sharks in the ocean.

And so all ocean activities bubble up on my list.

I haven’t swum in the ocean since “Jaws” premiered in 1975. People call me paranoid. Till I tell them about that pretty surfer girl who had an arm bitten off by a shark or the story about one brother watching another killed by a shark in April in Cape Town, and the guy last week in Australia who had his Jet-Ski chomped from under him by a great white. The vehicle exploded in the shark’s mouth “which sounded like a car crash,” said the survivor. Won’t happen to me. I'll be poolside in Queens adding to my list of things I’ll never do so I can keep on living.

 ?? Photo by Dreamstime ?? Skydiving is among the items definitely not on this writer’s bucket list..
Photo by Dreamstime Skydiving is among the items definitely not on this writer’s bucket list..
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