I made a huge mistake yesterday. Let me tell you the story…
It all started about 28 years ago when my wife was born. Then a bunch of stuff happened. To celebrate that event this year, she wanted to go water skiing; a family pastime on her side, and something I had never done until we were married.
I must not remember the first time I went very well because I went again yesterday. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was fun and all while I was there, enjoying the fresh air over the lake, the cool-but-not-too-cool water, the blue sky, the ducks strolling along the surface… I felt like a little kid on a boat, or something.
I’m not sure what happened next exactly. I was sitting in the boat, pondering the meaning of life, the wonders of the Earth, the origin of corned beef, etc., and the next thing I knew, I was being fitted with some sort of padded, sleeveless shirt. They called it a “life jacket”: probably because it was the only thing that kept me alive during my descent into the abyss (meaning the water).
I actually thought I was doing pretty well for a few seconds; I was up, gliding along the surface of the water with the wind in my unshaven face and thinning hair, glorying in man’s dominion over gravity, and eternal contempt for the fish who were trying to watch Saturday morning cartoons below (I’m pretty sure I saw Spongebob near the dock).
It was at this moment that the forces of the universe decided it was high time that Eli Ricks had some humbling.
It all happened so fast. One moment I was king of the lake, the next I was skidding and bouncing on top of it, swallowing liter after liter of its mass. I had no idea that water in its liquid form could be just as hard as concrete when you scrape along top of it at 30 mph.
Now I know.
In my infinite naivety, I tried again after getting reoriented to time and place and regaining feeling in my limbs. Outcome: worse than or equal to previous attempt.
I tried a few more times with the encouragement of my wife and father-in-law (both veterans of the lake and its adventures), and improved my time-before-suffering with each attempt, but it seems that with every increasingly painful landing, the lake was trying to get a message through to me.
Ever since struggling to lift my banged up body into the boat for the last time, I have felt like somebody took a meat tenderizer to the contents of my head, and replaced every muscle in my body with steel wool – and not the nice steel wool fresh out of the package, but that nasty steel wool that you end up with after scrubbing your oven for 6 hours, trying every chemical you’ve got in the house. In a word, ouch!
I’ve got until August to plan out my strategy for next time. So far, this is what I’ve got; everybody reading this blog, please remind me not to ever go near water again!