I know, I know -- in sports. Athletes jump when they're dashing over barriers in obstacle courses. Daredevil skydivers jump out of airplanes. Crazy thrill-seekers bungee jump.
There's a "jumping" motion in Pilates ("Salta!" Laurentio, my instructor in Buenos Aires, used to shout), although you perform it while lying flat on your back. (Get your mind out of the gutter, where there's no doubt a certain 1984 Pointer Sisters single playing right about now -- see below!) And anyone who has ever gone hiking in the Thai rainforest in Koh Chang, as I did two Northern summers ago, probably had to jump over a few waterfalls, which I suppose is safer than chasing them.
But here in the non-athletic realm (where people don't go around hitting/kicking balls and swinging bats), when I think about jumping, it's generally in a far more sinister context, one that involves no upward motion, just a downward one, to a certain, gruesome death. That's hardly the smiley-face positivity that we tend to stamp on jumping, but I don't believe I've ever actually seen anyone jump for joy.
Still, the positive connotation persists, particularly in song. Despite the suicidal thoughts associated with a certain kind of "jump," the overall concept remains a favorite pastime in pop, which spins it as a sexy double entendre when not referring to the literal thing. It may have inspired more great music than any verb this side of love.
In fact, I don't believe I've ever heard a terrible "jump" song. So if you ever do get the urge to jump for joy (or Joi -- see below), you'll now have the perfect soundtrack to do it to.
"Jump" Aretha Franklin
"Jump" Van Halen
"Jump" Kriss Kross
"Jump (for My Love)" Pointer Sisters
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" The Rolling Stones
"Jump to It" Aretha Franklin
"Jump They Say" David Bowie
"Jump Around" House of Pain
"Jump for Joi" Joi Cardwell
"Jumpin' Jumpin'" Destiny's Child
"Jump in the Air" Erykah Badu