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Skydiving is one of those activities so hazardous as to void your life insurance and encourage friends and family to question your sense of longevity.

Actually, it’s not that dangerous compared to, say, driving a car, but when skydiving goes wrong, it goes completely wrong, so its all-or-nothing proposition for survival tends to strike a nerve among the risk-averse. Me, I’ll never do it, after hearing a story from my friend who runs a banner-plane service. One day while flying, he watched a skydiver with a failed chute hurtle past his plane. He’ll never go skydiving after that—and this is a guy who flies for a living.

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