It was a sunny day and very warm by the time I stepped outside. I wandered over to the chow hall and had some breakfast, and then strolled out to the small pool near the barracks.
Before I sat down in one of the lounge chairs under the awning, I stripped off my jeans revealing I was wearing a Speedo swimsuit. I splashed around for a few minutes, then returned to the chair, where I dozed off.
Soon the pool area filled with other young men and women enjoying the heat of the late morning sunshine. The noise from their playing in the pool woke me up.
“Here, have a beer,” Bass said as he handed me a brown bottle of ‘Lone Star.’
Without saying anything, I accepted the brew, hoisting it to my lips. It tasted good going down and added to my feeling of relaxation.
That beer was quickly followed by another and then another. Soon I lost count of the number of beers I had consumed and I was feeling no pain.
Someone asked, “Hey, Darby, do you think you can jump from there into the water?”
They were pointing towards the roof of our three-story barracks.
“Yeah,” I responded.
My words came out slurred, though I couldn’t tell it. Without saying anything else, I went around to the side of the barracks and started up the steps.
Once on the third floor landing, I climbed onto the roof. Walking out to the edge of the roof, I peered down into the swimming pool.
I estimated it to be about twenty feet, a distance I knew could easily jump.
Seconds later, I launched myself out over the swimming pool. By this time, everyone was out of the water, watching me.
Upon entering the water, I pulled my legs up towards my chest to keep from bottoming out. As I surfaced, I could hear everyone around me laughing, cheering and clapping.
However I knew something wasn’t right. Like a jolt of electricity, a severe pain shot throughout my body and I had a sickening wish to vomit as I dog-paddled to the edge of the pool.
Not only was I sober, I was also very slow to climb out of the water. As I did, a hush covered the spectators and one of the woman gasped loudly.
I looked at the faces of those around me, seeing the horror in their eyes.
“What’s wrong?” I thought.
Then I looked down and saw what everyone else was seeing. The sight left me reeling.
Both of my gonads were swollen a bluish-purple color as they hung outside my swimwear. They looked to be the size of tennis balls and the sight caused me to actually throw-up.
Immediately, several of the guys, lifted me off the ground and we headed for the base infirmary for treatment. The doctors on duty all said the same thing: my injury was nothing a little ice and a couple of days of rest wouldn’t heal.
“Never again,” I said, “will I jump from something unless it’s to save a life.”
One of the doctors added, “Good, because there’s nothing anyone can do to cure stupidity.”