Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Boys

Since the crazy heat outside tells us it’s summertime, even if the calendar doesn’t, I thought I’d repost a summery essay from a few years back. Enjoy…

Riding jet skis, if you are unfamiliar with them, looks like riding a motor scooter on the water, blasting over waves and Riding the Sea, Victorious! It couldn't be much harder than riding a bike, we figured.

We were wrong.

My friend, Eddie, and I were at the ocean and wanted to try jet skiing. To save money, we decided to rent one and take turns. Eddie went first.

As Eddie zoomed away from the shore, he beamed with joy. However, I quickly noticed that he spent an awful lot of time trying to stand up on the jet ski, as they are supposed to be ridden, only to fall over. Once you fall off, jet skis have been designed to ride in circles around you.

Presumably, this is to ensure that you do not get stranded in the ocean as your jet ski putters off into the sunset. Watching from the shore, it looked more as if the jet ski were taunting him.

With each failed attempt to mount the monster, I had to laugh. Clearly, Eddie was just too tall to ride this thing. I’d be able to do better.

After many attempts to ride the jet ski, Eddie lay there, hands on the handlebars to keep it from doing its victory laps, but going nowhere. His stomach lay on the jet ski footboard and his long legs just dangled like spaghetti.

He was whipped.

"Bring it in!” I yelled. “It's my turn!"

He returned to shore and collapsed like a long, skinny beached whale.

"Ed, you know that you're supposed to stand up on the thing, right?"

"Go ahead. Laugh," he said. "You'll see. It's not easy."

He tried to warn me, but I wouldn’t listen – it was my turn to Ride the Sea, Victorious!

What I learned later Eddie was trying to tell me: Beware the Jets.

Ideally, when you ride a jet ski, you give it some gas to get some speed going and then quickly jump to your feet and ride the waves. The key thing is to get up QUICKLY.

The problem in not promptly standing has to do with the placement of the jets on the jet ski. Picture this: the jets are right at the back of the jet ski. When you are getting started, your hands are on the handlebar, your belly is on the footboard and the jets are blasting out what feels like a million gallons of water right below your gut.

Each time you gun the gas, it's like getting a crotch shot in softball. And, if this unkind kick weren't enough, you also have to worry about you going one way and your swimming trunks, the other.

Soon, the jet ski was doing victory laps around me. It was all I could do to pull my trunks back up.

When I returned to shore, Eddie was smiling, but not taunting. He knew my pain. I didn't even care that I no longer had my pride.

I was just glad to have my swimming trunks.


John Farrier said...

We are, too, Dan. We are, too.

Nate said...

Seems like they should just have some kind of kill switch if you fall off...