Archive - April 2010

If You Canít Say Anything NiceÖ.

     Say It On Your Blog. 

     Last month the family went on the annual vacation (editorís note Ė people need stop saying ďvacay.Ē Itís fucking stupid.) to the Great Wolf Lodge. In case you donít know, the Great Wolf Lodge is an indoor water park, and itís awesome. No, Iím not getting paid to say that, though I wouldnít be pissed if they wanted to give a free stay because I did. Anyway, here are some things I learned from my stay.

     1.  Hitting an unsuspecting kid (or anyone for that matter) in the face with a blast of water never ever gets old. Or unfunny. It made me realize that people waste way too much money on therapists and anti-depressants. Seriously, just get out there and lay into some wide-eyed 9-year-old with a jet of water and try not to smile. I dare you.

     2.  Americans are pussies. There I said it. We all know it. Weíve all been thinking it. But itís time to come out and say it. You canít solve a problem by pretending it doesnít exist. Americans are pussies. Case in point. Wearing a UV protective shirt at an INDOOR water park. Really? Fucking really? Look, I have no problem with the 600-pound dude wearing a shirt at an indoor water park, in fact, I appreciate it. But goddammit, America, come on. I donít even like those things being worn at the beach in July. Just put on some sunscreen and grow a fucking a pair. But indoors? Sweet damn.

     Okay. Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system. 

     In addition to the obvious joys of pissing people off with a steady stream of water directed at their faces, people watching is always a good source of mockery fun. In fact, Iím hoping to make a trip to the State Fair this fall for just that purpose. That little excursion should provide enough material for a seven-part series. Plus, maybe I can write-off the admission price as a work-related expense.

     Unicorns and fairies are pretty rare creatures. And it would be awesome if you saw one, right? Well, I didnít see either one of those. But I did spy a creature nearly as mysterious, nearly as fabled, nearly as awesome. Thatís right. I had a close encounter with a guy with a tramp stamp. I know. It was scary and exciting and confusing and everything youíd imagine it to be. Iíve now seen two in my entire life. And itís every bit as exciting the second time as it was the first, which was just long enough ago that, until this sighting, I had started to wonder if I had really seen it at all, or perhaps it was just a dream. I canít tell you what the tattoo was. I couldnít get a close enough look as these creatures are very timid, and one false move can send them running to safety. Plus, itís a dude with a tramp stamp. And you just donít get close to a dude with a tramp stamp. What if itís contagious like mono or strep or being Canadian? I canít take that risk. Iíve got kids.

     Hey, remember 1986? Yeah, me neither, but Iíve seen pictures. What about tractor pulls? Youíve been to those, right? Yeah, me neither. In retrospect, this opening didnít go as well as I had hoped. What Iím trying to get at is Epic Mullet. And no, I donít mean, mullet. I mean, Epic Mullet. Not a soft mullet where the hair in the front is longish, falling softly to the earlobes and then sloping gently down the neck to just past the shoulders where it lays demurely between the scapulas. No, Iím talking thick, coarse hair wound into tight curls. Top and sides shorn to a mere ľ inch, clutching to the scalp for dear life. A stark demilitarized zone running across the back of the head where the trimmers had been turned back. A new landscape bursts forth from the ďbusiness in the frontĒ to declare ďparty in the back.Ē A tapestry woven of dozens and dozens of brillo pads, a bramble of human hair clawing its way down to the mid-back, challenging, nay, daring, any brush to try if it might to make its way through, knowing the doom that awaits any so foolish as to try.

     It was awesome.

     Hey, did you know they make swim burkas?   Yep.

     ABC used to have a program called Wide World of Sports. All I really remember about the show is the opening montage. It consisted of 60 seconds of athletes getting completely obliterated. It was fantastic. My favorite was the downhill skier traveling at breakneck speeds down the slope and the next thing you know she is down. The carnage was almost cartoon-like and seemed to go on forever. Arms, legs, ski, pole, arms, skis, legs, arm, then head, then other arm tumbling down the mountain at a thousand miles an hour. A blur of broken bones and high medical bills. The destruction was mesmerizing. Now, imagine if you will, instead of a highly trained Olympic athlete on a mountain, you have a doughy middle-aged mom holding a toddler. And now replace gigantic fucking mountain with six-foot long slide. It was an incredible sight, and I still have now idea how she managed it. This woman came down the kiddy slide approaching speeds of nearly 1/8 of a mile an hour, and hit the 18 inches of water at the base of the slide. And as God (and my brother-in-law) as my witness, she and her toddler tumbled out into the pool like that hapless skier. Giant splashes and the slapping of flesh against the surface of the water. They tumbled nearly ten feet before the mom was able to stop herself and regain control. Two seconds later, my three-year old came down the same slide and stood calmly up when she reached the bottom. To this day, I have no idea how that woman managed to get so much momentum on a 6-foot-long slide that dropped nearly three feet down its entire length. But Iím so glad she did.

     You know whatís funnier than a middle-aged mom crashing down from a kiddy slide? Iím about to tell you. The Great Wolf Lodge has what they call racing slides. Four water slides side-by-side upon which one rides using a rubber mat shaped like a toboggan. The front of the toboggan is curved up with help of plastic handles, giving the whole contraption the rigidity it needs. As you might imagine, these are fairly sturdy things designed for lots of wear and tear. At the end of slide, the water pools a bit to slow you down. Remember in high school when you were always trying to be cool and show off in front of your friends. Remember everyone laughing at you when you failed miserably. As I walked towards the racing slide, I saw the racers emerge from the tunnel, neck and neck as they navigated the last hundred feet. The rider in lane one was victorious. There are precious few times when an overweight teenager gets a chance to revel in victory and mock his friends for failing to achieve his lofty heights, so when they get the chance, they must always, always, take advantage of the opportunity. Maybe not always. The rider, who had been supine for the race, celebrated his victory by letting go of the handles and rising up on his knees, pumping his fists and soaking in the glory that was his. Then he hit the water that was pooled at the end of the slide. What happened next was a thing of beauty, poetry anthropomorphized. The rubber mat came to sudden stop. The fat kid? Not so much. Gravity wiped away the well-earned victory smile and he smashed face-first into the not-so-gentle curve of the toboggan-front. He managed to get to his feet a few seconds later. 

     Even the lifeguard was laughing.

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