Posted by: husbandandfatheroffour | August 31, 2012

I am not 17 anymore!

So the story goes like this:

I am on a family vacation in Madeira Beach, Florida with my wife, daughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law and his wife.  In our condo there was what I thought were different kinds of body boards.  So I grabbed the one that looked like a surfboard except without the fins, a lot shorter, and really thin.  I thought to myself this thing must let you ride the top of the waves all the way back into the beach while laying on your belly.  So I put the board under my arm and we all headed down to the beach.

I am standing there on the beach just looking out at the magnificent ocean in awe, like I always do.  While I am standing there something catches my eye.  They are some kids using the same kind of board that I had brought down with me, except they were not walking into the water and riding the waves back.  They were throwing the board down on top of the water, at the very edge of where the water meets the beach, and jumping on and riding it out to the waves and then jumping or doing tricks off of the waves.  I later came to find out that this is called skim boarding.  I figured the ages of the kids who were skim boarding had to be between 7 to 16 years old.  I watched them for awhile and they made it look easy.  So I turned to everybody and said with a smile, “I think I can do this.”

Now there were a few differences from the kids that were skim boarding and I.  A) They were young.  B) They were in good shape.  C)  They were young.  But in my mind I thought if a 7 year old can do it then I can.  So I walk up to position myself to be ready and throw the board and then run and jump on it and ride it out toward the waves.  I am ready, and at the perfect time, because a nice wave is heading in and how awesome would it be to jump it?? The first mistake I made is that I threw the board, which meant I planned to proceed.  It is a perfect throw and the board is just gliding along the water like it should.  I then start my 3 foot run to jump onto the board.  The second mistake I made is not stopping once I realized I was out of breath after 2 feet.  Then came the final step, to jump onto the board.  I take my last stride and I make the leap, jumping at least 2 inches off the ground (which was perfect because I needed at least 1.1 inches to make it onto the board).

My feet land perfectly on the board and I am on top of the world with the biggest smile on my face, heading out to jump the wave.  A split second later is when I noticed that my feet decided not to stay in that location.  I went from happy, to “Oh Crap!”  Now I know there is an even bigger problem because I can see my knees and feet at the same time yet my head is still pointing up towards the sky.  I think this won’t be to bad because I should land in the soft sand on my butt.  Well as soon as that thought entered my mind, it left it.  I am now noticing my feet are getting farther away from my eyes and the sky is now perpendicular with my body.  Now I am terrified.  My life starts to flash before my eyes.  Grade school, high school, getting married, and having our first child and then nothing.  I thought, “What?  That sure was a hell of a short flash!”  Now I notice something else.  For some reason my arms are flapping up and down like maybe I can fly out of this situation.  I am sure everyone else is thinking, “What the heck is that idiot doing?  He knows he can’t fly right?” 

I figured out I couldn’t fly as my body started hurling towards the ground.  Now that soft butt landing has become a distant after thought and I know it is more like an asteroid barreling down towards earth.  I started to wonder how I could lessen the impact and instantly thought; fetal position!  I had always heard that you had a better chance at survival in a free fall in the fetal position.

BAM!  Too late!

I smacked down into the sand, on my back, about 3 ½ feet from where I started my run.  The impact knocked the breath out of me but my terror was not over with.  Did I forget to mention that in my downward fall I was not just falling straight down?  I was also moving slowly forward too.  So as I hit the sand I preceded to also glide across it as if I were sledding on some snow.  Since this incident, I do not think I have ever sanded a piece of wood again.  The pain of the landing and the sanding of my back made me wish for only to things.  First was please don’t let any of those children see this because it would be too much for them to handle and they might never get on a skim board again.  Second was, please let the shark from Jaws be sitting there with his mouth wide open to end this pain and humiliation. 

As I come to a stop and get my bearings, I am waiting for my wife to come running over to me to see if I am ok.  I can hear someone yelling something but it seems muffled.  So I shake my head and bang the sand out of my ears and notice it is my wife yelling.  She is getting a little closer so I know she is coming towards me and her hug will make everything alright.  Then I hear her loud and clear; “Get up and grab the board!  It is going to float away!  Get up and grab the board!  It is not ours, we do not own it!”  I tilt my head over and see that other than laughing at me, her only concern is not letting that board get away.  The rest of the family is hysterically laughing and I know now that I can not cry.  I take a deep breath, jump up and wave like everything is ok.  I run out and grab the board and throw it to shore.  I then walk into the water shoulder high and smile and wave again.  They are all laughing and I am laughing.  I slowly turn away as the salt is eating into my open wounds (ok so maybe they were a bunch of scratches but that is beside the point) and grimace in pain.  And for the first time I realized that I was not 17 anymore.  There was no jumping right up and going for it again.  There was only standing there in pain and wondering how I could have even possibly talked my 30-year-old self into doing something so dumb.  That question kept coming up after a little bit of rest and a bruised ego convinced me to keep trying over and over again.  Luckily for me the other tries resulted in minor crash and burns, nothing like this one.  The words, “I think I can do this,” will never be forgotten in this family and they will be sure to let me never forget them either.                              



  1. I have so many things I’ve done that were not quite this entertaining that remind me I’m not even 20 anymore! LOL!!

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