Did you know it's possible to suffer a friction injury from water? Did you know it can be as painful as a bad sunburn? If I had known these things I may never have experienced my first and final water skiing attempt.
I've been to Cuba on vacation so many times I've lost count. (You'll hear many Cuba stories over the next few months.) One time in Cuba, I decided to try water skiing for the first time. Keep in mind that I was a weak, overweight couch potato then. (Now I'm a stronger, overweight couch potato... sigh.) I had no idea how bad it was going to be.
I got into the skis, into my life jacket, into the water and got my hands wrapped around the handle nice and tight. Oh boy was I ready for fun. Gonna water ski, yeah! Gonna go fast, woo! Let's get this show on the OW GOD THAT HURTS. The guys in the boat started moving and the handle ripped out of my hands, taking skin with it. Ok, why did that happen?
They started shouting at me to push with my legs and lift my butt out of the water. Oh. Ha ha, thanks for telling me that before, when I still had skin on my hands. Ok lifting with my legs, butt sort of higher in the water, we're good to go, let's get this show on the OH GOD MY FACE. I didn't know it was possible to aquaplane using your face, but now I know. My nose made an excellent rudder.
I rode face-first for a while, just long enough to swallow what felt like six gallons of seawater, a barracuda, a rusty tin can and half a jellyfish. What? No. I'm ok just let me throw up for a second. No no, I'll be fine. It's all good. Legs lifting, butt up, hands on the handle ready for action, let's get this show on the OH GOD THE PAIN.
Apparently, at high enough speeds, seawater can abrade the skin of one's sensitive areas. The entire ocean funneled up the legs of my shorts, and out the waistband, sending a fan-like plume of white spray several meters into the air. My shorts and their contents did not enjoy the experience.
By that point I was tired, sore and weakened. I should have stopped. The guys in the boat should have made me stop. But oh no. I was bent on having fun. Gonna water ski, yeah! So we tried again. I managed to stay in a semi-correct position just long enough for one of my skis to come off. I went into the water and the ski went flying. Hey guys, do you see where my ski went? It's gotta be OH OW MY HEAD! How it's possible to lose your water ski then be hit on the head with it several seconds later, I had no idea. I had a concussion, but no idea.
I decided to give it one more try. I got my ski back on. I lifted with my legs, got my butt up, got my hands around the handle and then they hit the throttle so hard, I actually flew. I wasn't water skiing, I was water flying. Of course, it ended badly.
I don't know what the odds are against impaling yourself in the rectum with your own water ski, but oh boy did I ever beat the odds that time.
Thank god I hadn't tried skydiving.
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