My first real career goal, the first that I truly worked on, the first … “I want to be …… when I grow up …” was a stunt man. I had a fascination with Evel Knievel (had his action figure and motorcycle … that’s not a doll), as a teenager I loved Super Dave Osborne, and in my childhood I idolized Lee Majors in “The Fall Guy.” If a kid in elementary school could really strive towards a career, it was me, I was serious about it.If you’re looking for more tips, Jim Turner has it for you.
I had a best friend who would egg me on as often as he could. He was my “Friend and PR Guy” (we’ve been to grade). We spent many a day training for my stunt man career on his Idaho farm. I would dive headfirst to the ground from his fifteen-foot-high haystack and land in a small pile of loose hay. I learned under his watchful eye how to gracefully “roll out” falls from high places, flip back from swings, fall from trees and ride pigs. I even crashed his motorcycle and lived to tell the story (it was the first time I had ever ridden one). Stuntmen have to be able to ride horses, motorcycles and snowmobiles. I learnt from my “Agent” how to do those things.
We also got into trouble, but a lot of falls, burns, scrapes, sprains, bruises and at one point a broken bone (or two) came along with the trouble. The home in which I lived when growing up was in the country and had a revolving laundry line outside. As the wind blew (the wind always blows in Idaho), you would put your wet laundry on the lines, the lines would turn around in circles, and your clothes would dry faster … engagingly. My parents had a dryer for their clothes so the revolving laundry line was useless for its original purpose. As a teenager looking for a rush of excitement, my friends and I cut down the long extensions (keeping the shorter “gun” that spun stronger) and tied a rope to the apparatus. We also attached the rope to an old inner tube and would sit in the contraption. Whilst the rider sat in the inner tube and spun, somebody would push. You would swing around a million miles horizontally to the ground in circles an hour, and get more dizzy than you could imagine. I’m pretty sure you see where this will go.
One morning, a friend and I were messing around on the “swing” while waiting for the school bus My friend was a year older than me and a great guy. He was able to get that thing really to rotate really quickly. There was an old tractor tire in the corner of my yard which my mom had converted into a plant box for strawberries to grow. We swung particularly fast that morning, the rope broke and I went airborne and when I landed my arm slammed into the tire of the tractor. My arm hurt pretty badly so I went into the house to tell my mother what was going on and my arm hurt. You could tell my arm was broken when she took off my coat, because it was shaped like the tread on the tractor tire. We went to the physician’s office and found it broke through both bones in two places.