—Interesting Stories is an article that showcases
the intriguing stories of everyday people.
By Matthew Casey
Most people will never know what it is like to jump from an airplane, except maybe for those thrill seekers out there who constantly strive for that adrenaline rush. In fact most people would probably never even want to jump from an airplane if they absolutely did not have to. Now, imagine being a teenager and being forced into an army and having to do whatever you were told, no matter how scary it seemed. For Adrian Patrascu this is what happened when he was drafted into his home country’s army in 1986 and was handed a parachute kit and told to board a plane. He was only 19 at the time.
After training and making about twenty jumps during his time in the military he got the technique down to land safely without injuring himself. “You have to land on the tips of your toes then roll to the heel of your foot or else you will break your legs,” explains Adrian confidently as he reflects back on the days of his youth. He now lives in Toronto and works in the maintenance department of a hotel, but most would never know that he once sported a parachute long before his tool belt.
Even though it seems like a terrifying thing to have to jump from a plane that is flying at 3000 meters, for Adrian, he seems to shrug it off as just a normal event in his life. He was lucky in one sense because he never had to fight in combat during his military time which lasted for nine months. With that in mind, he described falling from the sky and racing towards the ground below as a wonderful feeling, saying that it was as if time and space just came to a stop for a brief moment.
Adrian tells of an incident that occurred on his fifth training jump where he witnessed one of his colleagues who had landed on his feet the wrong way and broke his legs. But even after witnessing this it still did not make him fear jumping from the planes in the training exercises he had to take part in.
Although Adrian was not afraid of jumping into the sky, some people were. On one of his first jumps the soldier in front of him froze and would not jump, but this was not tolerated by the sergeants. When Adrian witnessed the drill instructor push the man out of the plane he says it was in this moment that he realized that he had no choice but to jump whether or not he was afraid and this is what helped him to tolerate the situation a little better.
For the bravery of accomplishing these tasks the paratroopers were paid the equivalent of a mere $24 a month. It takes a lot of character and determination to do these things with little to no reward for them.
Today the Romanian army no longer practices the use of conscription to enlist people into their ranks, and as for Adrian he doesn’t plan on ever jumping from a plane again, not even for a thrill.
Sometimes life seems very difficult and it feels like there is too much to deal with. But at least here in Canada you can take solace in the fact that most people are pretty lucky and enjoy a great quality of life. No one in this country is forced into doing things that they wouldn’t want to do.
The next time it feels like there is too much to handle on your plate and everyday stress gets you down just be glad that you will never be forced into jumping from airplanes in the military. Just think that things could always be much worse and maybe that will help you make it through the tough times that life can bring.