MA of Reader:
You know how they say that when someone jumps off a high bridge that when they hit the water it is the same as hitting the cement, I guess because of the speed and surface tension, etc., Well, what would happen if you dropped a bowling ball just as you were jumping and pushed it ahead of you so it would break the water a split second before you did. Would that allow you to enter the water with a better chance of survival?
-- LB of Poway
The elves and I have been piled in the hammock, fanning ourselves with old Readers, suckin' up lemonade and trying hard to figure exactly how you'd catch up with 16 pounds of slick, dense plastic plummeting into the bay. By the time you get your butt over the edge, you'll have some ground to make up. With very little drag, in the first seconds that Brunswick Ultimate Inferno ($200 retail) will be moving out. So maybe wear your speed-skating suit and stick your fingers in the finger holes and hang on. Or better yet, stick your toes in the finger holes and go in feet first. We put in at least two days' hammock time on this one, and that's about the best we could do. All things considered, the hypothetical bowling ball not your friend.
Even if your weight made up for the drag, and you actually did catch up to the ball, you'd have other problems. Having something break the surface tension before your head hits the water is a good idea; but if a bowling ball was the answer, then you'd probably see high-divers hit the water flat handed to disturb more surface area. The problem with that is, once something hits the water, it immediately slows to about half its air velocity. Is bashing your head on a bowling ball preferable to bashing it on water? Hard to tell. If this was a big plan for the ultimate Fourth of July celebration, I'd rethink it. How about taking the ball and rolling it over and over again down a long wooden platform at ten sticks and betting who can knock more of them down? And drinking lots of beer, of course.