So this weekend I went water skiing with some friends. I have been invited to go water skiing many times but, let's be honest, I am terrified of water deeper than my waist. I remember even when I was on the swim team in high school sometimes going to the deep end of the pool got me a little anxious because I couldn't see the bottom and I was certain some creature with tentacles, probably Ursula rom the Little Mermaid, lived underneath the water polo net.
I know it sounds stupid but after seeing JAWS as a child I have never quit been the same. My first attempt at water skiing was when I was fourteen with the scouts. Brother Bennet took us out and said that he could get any one to water ski. I wanted to be brave so I hopped in the water and strapped on the big skis. I was skimming along the surface alright, but it was mostly face first with my mouth wide open. Each time I would fall into the water I remember the boat going what seemed to be a mile away to turn around to pick me up. As I sat in the water bobbing up and down there was always this very loud silence, and then I would start to imagine that first scene in JAWS where the girl is swimming and all you see is tug on her leg, and then a nudge, and the the next thing you know she is being jerked all over the water. I would then start to breathe hard and felt like I was having a panic attack. I would promptly ask to be taken out of the water never to explain that I was scared to death, and that I never, ever wanted to get near water again.
I had never been on a boat again until this weekend. I was still worried that I was going to experience the same fear that I did when I was 14. I was dreading getting in the water and almost felt sick as we drove further and further from shore. But as I lowered myself into the murky water I found that I wasn't scared at all. I enjoyed being in the water and felt confident in my ability to fight off a shark if the situation presented itself. (I have watched shark week and know how to poke them in the eye or hypnotize them by touching their snout.) I found it so relaxing just to lay back and look up at the sky.
I am happy to announce that after 28 tries I finally got out of the water. That's right friends, I water skied! It was one of the highlights of my life to skim across the water like a flat, slick rock. I felt like I overcame by boyhood fear and I crossed over into manhood. So great.