“NEVER BE COMPLACENT”
by OPOVV, ©2014
So it’s one of those perfect days: blue skies, little breeze, a day made to take the launch out to Grande Island, in the middle of Subic Bay, a little north of Manila, to, you guessed it, water ski around the island. No kidding. So that’s what I do. Do I want two skis or would the fool like to slalom? Oh, two. I’m a little rusty.
Years later the phrase “a little rusty” brings back the memory of the stomach muscles getting a surprise workout big time. Good thing I chose two skis. Here’s the thing, and I should’ve known better: a little breeze on the shore can mean a serious breeze off, and that’s what I ran into, but I was determined to have a good time (read: “get my money’s worth”), so I was jumping the wake and the white caps, getting my money’s worth, right? when I noticed the spotter in the back of the boat yelling and waving his hands. Then he got the driver’s attention and then both were yelling and waving.
Well, the first thing wrong with this picture was that I didn’t comprehend Spanish; the second thing wrong was that I couldn’t hear what they were saying anyway with the noise of engine and the wind; and the third thing was, “Wow, look at me!” I mean, that’s all these guys do all day is to drive counterclockwise around an island pulling some poor fool by a rope, so I must be pretty darn good to get these guys excited like that. Maybe I’m better than I think I am!
So I really go after the wake, pull hard over to starboard, almost even with the back of the boat, and then zap back over the wake, jumping at least four feet in the air! WOW! Am I good or what?
It’s the “or what” part that I start to pay attention to because those two in the boat are still yelling, waving and, now, pointing. Well, that’s something new. Something wrong with my swimsuit, perhaps? I look down. No, everything seems okay. I’m getting tired, so I settle in behind the wake and they’re still yelling, waving, pointing, and the boat starts to go even faster!
So I start to look around, and that’s when I see it. A fin keeping up with me, about ten feet back to my right. So that’s what the pointing and yelling and jumping up and down meant: to me, my life; to them, their business: “Water Ski and learn the Thrill of BEING CHASED by a hungry Shark.”
But if nothing else, I’m determined not to become someone else’s meal ticket, so I start pulling myself into the back of the boat, like fast. Big mistake because there’s the actuality of water skiing to attend to in the middle of a white-capped-filled bay. The boat slams into the biggest wave yet (Pay attention, driver!), the rope goes slack and I almost nose-dive into Davy Jones’ locker. The prop bites and off we go again, racing to the dock, the beach, racing, in my mind, to an ice cold San Miguel beer, so cold, in fact, that little nodules of ice cling to the side of the bottle. If there’s one thing I’ll remember about Southeast Asia, it’s this: they really get the Americans’ addiction to things cold. If there really was a “Church of America,” it would look like a giant ice cube. I’m visualizing that beer on the counter. I’m visualizing my hand reaching for it.
“Please, God! Let me have that beer! I’ll try to be a better person. Don’t let the shark get me!”
We round the corner and the dock comes in site. The people on the dock and the beach are waving, running (“Really, now, where are they running to, or from? Why the running?” I remember thinking). But waving, pointing (it’s right about now that I don’t like this pointing. No pointing. I’m tired of pointing.) The ski boat is at full speed; I’m hanging on the best I can; the shark is at the same spot, for Heaven’s sake. I’ve one shot at his, and one only. The boat veers in and then a hard right out to sea.
I let go of the rope and glide in.
In my mind I glide on to the beach, slick as nails. Bend down and step out of the skis, bow to the clapping, cheering and laughing crowd and then nonchalantly walk up to the water ski concession stand and thank the man as I hand him the skis.
In reality I hit the beach at 20 mph and fell flat on my face in the sand. The shark has left, but there will be no swimming this day. I turn in the skis, rinse off and head to the launch that’ll take me to that ice cold beer.
So just days ago I survived thousand of bullets whizzing by my head, legs, elbows, and knees, and today I almost get eaten by a shark. A lesson in humility if there ever was one.
The moral of the story? Never be complacent, because, as soon as you do, something will come along and bite you. Keeping the usurper (Obama) in the White House and Obamacare as a controlling device, well, the consequences will be the same as getting bitten by a shark, and we wouldn’t want that to happen.