True story from a few decades ago.
The hard-faced military skydiving instructor pointed at a parachute on the side of the DC3 aircraft.
We were at 5,000 feet and the noise of the twin engines reverberating in the empty plane was so loud I couldn't hear him speak.
All the parachutists had jumped. The plane was empty.
As a young air force photographer it was my job to take some publicity shots from a small side window above the wing. The technicians had removed it for me before the flight.
There were some good shots there as the parachutes opened and they drifted out the door. I was happy about this job, but nervous about this flight sergeant.
And now there was just him and me in the vibrating fuselage and the two pilots occupied up front behind a closed door to the cockpit.
The flight sergeant was pointing - telling me soundlessly to put the parachute on. And I KNEW he was going to throw me out to my certain death. I knew this because... earlier, as soon as I got in the aircraft on the tarmac, I felt he disliked me intensely, and my type.
And I guessed why. Military parachutists are super-men... strapping examples of manhood... steely-eyed, lock jawed, silent killers. Photographers are weak, sissy-looking people with weak handshakes and girly fringes. (Not me - just the typecast version).
He hated me for it, right from when he ordered me - a lowly corporal - into the front of the long sloping aircraft, then immediately turned his back on me. He hated me, I was certain, because I was soft and had a cushy job doing non-manly things. He thought I was a step below fashion photographers.
And now, up in the air, came the clincher. He would murder me and no-one would be the wiser. My lifeless body would be found in a distant forest, with the parachute unopened, and the court would close the case off citing accidental death.
He came closer. He was going to throw me out WITHOUT the parachute!
A DC3 like the one I was in.
His mouth contorted as he appeared about to give me my last rites, and bent closer to my ear. All the horror movies I had ever seen flashed before my eyes.
"It's just a safety precaution," he shouted, "we're going up to 10,000 ft and it's a requirement to always have a parachute on when the door is off at that height."
He winked at me and helped me unhook the parachute from the rack. Relief flooded over me.
All my anxiety immediately disappeared. As I strapped the bulky knapsack on my back, I gave silent thanks to a mistaken series of events.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. And I learned you can't judge other people by their looks - or even their actions.
Have you ever misjudged a situation? Lottery players do it all the time.
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The funny thing - years later I was standing in the doorway of the barracks adjusting my hat, when a warrant officer came up behind me. In a brusque voice he said "Don't block the doorway Corporal!"
It was the parachute man... he couldn't throw me from a plane but this was his second attempt - to PUSH me from a doorway!