A couple of years ago I had a really bad day – REALLY BAD. Nothing like a car wreck or a death in the family – but one of those days where I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, then the car was basically out of gas when I went to leave, I made silly mistakes all day at work, and on and on and on. By the middle of the day I was sitting in my cubicle surrounded by all my male counterparts, trying desperately not to bust out in tears and trying to convince myself that things would turn around by the end of the day. I went to lunch, came back and hunkered down on a project, and that’s when the day really went to hell. By the time I was heading home, I wanted nothing more than to go straight to bed and never come out again. And then I had an idea…
I sat down at my home computer and I began writing down all the funny things that had happened to me over the years – things that involved me, my siblings, and my friends. As long as the memory made me laugh, it got paraphrased onto my Word doc. I called my friend, Maureen, a day or two later and was telling her about the list and how it had cheered me up and she began to ask, “Did you put down the time we…?” and I realized I had only scratched the surface of my “Funniest Moments” list. One memory led to another memory which led to another memory, and soon I had a list of over 100 of the most laughable moments of my life down on paper.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at that list over the last couple of years. It continues to grow as memories surface (or new memories are, um, “created”). It was during the end of my grieving for my brother that I decided it would help to start a blog and write all of those memories down so others could share in the laughter, but that’s also about the time my mother became terminally ill and then died, so the blog started out with a little different “flavor” to it. Short / Cuts was meant to be a repository of laughable moments from my life but then I realized every moment is worth remembering, no matter how high the highs or how low the lows.
Anyway, today I am going to take a look back for the very first time at the funnier moments in my life – things that made me spit Diet Coke out my nose or turn my cheeks shades of red – or both. And I’ve decided to start with a short story from my first trip to The Grand Bahahas and the very first time I was ever in an ocean.
I had won a 4 Day/ 3 Night trip to the Bahamas through a contest at work and elected to take my best friend with me. Maureen had grown up in New Jersey so she had been in ocean water before (although I highly doubt it was as crystal clear as what they have down in the Bahamas.) I, however, had never experienced setting foot in anything other than a big lake. This was going to be a first for me and, although, I was very excited about it, I was also a bit frightened.
As we began to take our first steps into the ocean Maureen pointed out to me that the water would pull us forward and then kind of sweep us back – that it was the pull of the current and not to fight against it but just go with it. So I stepped into the pristine water and took a few steps out. I had water up to my waist when I decided to go ahead and swim on in. The water was the perfect temperature and it was an amazing experience. Even if you accidentally got a mouthful of water it tasted like salt water you might use to gargle with instead of the lake water I ingested way too many times as a young water skier at the Lake of the Ozarks.
I wasn’t very far out but the bottom of the ocean floor was several feet below me. I looked down and saw something move in the sand and I hollered over to Maureen. “Any idea what that thing is that’s moving down there?” She took a look and replied, “Oh, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.” So we – and several other hundred people – kept on swimming. I couldn’t quite get my mind off the object that had drawn my attention, though and I kept peering at it to see if I could make it out better. It was right at the edge of where the ocean dropped off so the water was a deep blue and the sun was bouncing around on the surface of the water, making it hard to figure out exactly what it was. But, at some point, we both decided it had to be a sea creature of some sizable girth that probably had razor-sharp teeth that would saw us in half if given the chance and we broke out in a desperate attempt to get out of the water post-haste.
Of course the closer I got to the water’s edge (and safety), the more the tide kept pulling me back out. I was desperate at this point, sure I was about to be swallowed whole by JAWS, flailing around in the water and expending way too much energy trying to take a single step in the right direction. Finally – FINALLY – I made it up onto the shore again and I turned to see if the monster I had viewed had swallowed my best friend in one big chomp when I saw her standing right where the offending creature had been spying on us, laughing her ass off.
“It’s a rock!” she hollered up towards me.
Apparently the sun moving on the surface of the water had made it appear to be a moving object and I, the rookie of the oceanfront, couldn’t figure that out, so I convinced myself that I was about to be dinner for some sea creature that preferred white meat.
“It’s only a rock!” she recounted, laughing as she calmly waded into shore through the current’s pull. She walked out of the water like an old pro while I lay on the beach looking like a piece of sea kelp that had washed up on shore to die.
Over the next three days I spent plenty of time in the water between the hours of laying on the beach with a Bahama Mama drink in my hands and coconut butter on my skin, but I never again called attention to the questionable sea life floating around beneath me, ready to devour me in a single bite. I decided it was better to be the latest casualty on the 6 o’clock news than to make that embarassing mistake again.