Frogs and Water Skiing

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One kid caught a frog
Can you see how proud he was?
That was summer camp.

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I don’t remember much about the circumstances of these pictures or what year they were taken in exactly. Probably ‘75 or ‘76. I do remember taking a school bus to get to that camp. Me and my classmates, all city kids. I’m fairly sure everybody arrived on time to take the bus and I probably made it there just as the bus was about to pull away. That’s would have been my style, and I did end up missing an excursion once that way. I remember having terrible motion sickness on the bus and feeling sure I was going to throw up and embarrass myself in front of all my classmates. I was immensely relieved to get off that bus, but then immediately realized I had all the wrong clothes on — my corduroys and turtleneck felt oppressive under the sun.

I think we were just there for the one day. There were kids running around every which way. I parked myself next to a great big yellow pedalo to survey the scene — it was all a bit much for me for some reason. I don’t know who was taking pictures or how I ended up with these prints. I do remember a bunch of kids running up excitedly and saying they’d caught a frog. The kid with the can was so excited it looked like he or she was about to levitate off the ground. I can’t tell if it was a boy or a girl anymore. Actually, I don’t remember who any of those kids are, including the boy wearing shorts standing next to me. But never mind all that. I was cool. See that index finger pointing up? That was meant to be a peace sign. But I could get away with that, because I was cool. Even then, you couldn’t tell how worried or afraid I really was, and it didn’t show the way I thought it did that I thought I was a complete loser. Because I just played it cool.

They showed us how to water ski that day. Each kid had one chance the get up on their skis, and one chance only. I have no idea what I wore to get in the water. Maybe my underwear for all I know. Or maybe someone loaned me a bathing suit. In both cases, I would have been deeply embarrassed. I wanted to go water skiing so badly. When it was finally my turn the boat took off and I ended up drinking big gulps of water, and that was that. On to the next kid. It was infuriating actually. It’s a good thing I got to try it out again much later in life, and I kicked ass then. Every time I lifted myself out of the water, I thought about the little girl who had been so disappointed not to get it at the first try all those years ago. That was just cruel on their part. They may as well not have shown us how to water ski at all. A few kids got it at the first try and the boat kept going till they fell over, and I secretly hated those kids. It’s weird to think all of them are grownups now too, with jobs and houses and families of their own. I wonder how many of them remember that day.

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