Simply living seven decades is bound to leave anyone with regrets and failures.
I am certainly not excepted. Failed grocery stores in St. Edward and Lexington happened before I accepted my calling (fate?) as a low-down, slimy, fake news guttersnipe. (Is it odd no one spoke of ‘fake news’ before the 2016 presidential campaign and at least a dozen times every day since? Asking for a friend.) My dad was the grocery store wizard in the family. I followed him to my early adulthood doom. Those are personal failures and kinda big ones at that.
I was escorted out of college on the wings of Southern Comfort and Coke, clearly not a shining performance, either.
There are many more, but the one eating at my gizzard today is water skiing.
I have taught and pulled a slug of skiers both young and old, male and female over many years, yet never mastered skis myself. How irksome is that?
Of course, I only tried that one weekend in the middle 60s, but at the time I was young and flexible in what you’d think would have been my water skiing prime.
A friend, Jim Spackman, had a grandma possessed of a fast boat that mostly just sat in the garage. That is until we pulled it to Lake Maloney south of North Platte for a weekend of fun and fulfillment.
I could get right up on top with ease but was a short-timer once I got there. Every time Jim would look back to make sure I was up, then turn and put the hammer down I crashed. Hard. Every time. Without fail.
It was not for lack of trying … and trying … and trying, but I could only fall head-first, backward or to one side or the other in geysers of tumbling limbs and flying water as spectacular as they were humiliating.
The only saving grace? We had no girls along. Zero. Praise the Lord, at least, for that or I would almost certainly have been celibate for life.
Despite being in the second-best physical condition ever (post-Army basic training was No. 1) I became so exhausted my buddies had to drag me back in the boat. That’s how many times in succession I hollered “Hit it!” The only thing I ‘hit’ was a wall of water. After recovering some skin tone and breath, back in the drink I went to try it again.
Two days of torture. Not one actual ride. How deep was the failure? The disappointment? I never tried to ski again the rest of my life.
This same hapless clown, on the other hand, had all three of his kids on single slalom skis flying over wakes and racing ahead of the boat by junior high. Goodness, even their sweet mama, Good Wife Norma, learned as an adult after only a couple, three tries.
Some ski to glory and excitement. Others like me can only sit down, shut up and drive the dang boat.