I don’t recall ever having expressed an interest in kayaking. Any activity that requires the participants to wear a helmet and a life jacket is plainly something in which I should not be involved. In fact, I pretty much avoid all sports which cannot be played while holding a hot dog. Nonetheless, for my birthday this year my children purchased me kayak lessons at the local recreation center.
Now, for you uninitiated, a kayak is a thin sliver of boat into which the victim is hermetically sealed by way of a rubber “skirt.” Picture being adhered to a water ski by a suction cup and being handed a paddle that looks like a helicopter rotor–that’s kayaking. A kayak is about as stable as a guest on the Jerry Springer Show–it feels as if it will dive for the bottom at the slightest excuse. Kayaks were invented by Eskimos to be used in their death-wish rituals, and now can be found every weekend on the local rivers, flitting about like giant psychotic water bugs.
Fortunately, or so I thought at the time, my lessons were scheduled to take place in a swimming pool, where I felt it unlikely that I would encounter any white water. My instructor, a bearded fellow named Tom, lined up six of us in our wobbly boats in about five feet of water, and proceeded to tell us that our first lesson would be in how to tip over. How to tip over! That’s like telling a pilot that his first lesson in flying will be in how to crash. I held up my hand. “Uh, Tom? I think my kayak already knows how to tip over.”
Tom was amused. No, he explained, I had misunderstood. When out in the rapids, the strong currents sometimes flipped the kayaks over. But instead of sinking, the kayak’s rubber seal would keep the vessel buoyant, so all we needed to do was learn how to flip back up.
“Uh, Tom?” My hand was back in the air. “Why would we want to go out in the rapids when we have this nice pool?”
“Let’s get started,” Tom suggested. He walked us through the whole maneuver, and then, probably concerned that I might feel I wasn’t getting my money’s worth from these lessons, he said we would start with me. He reached out and flipped my kayak over.
I was plunged into the wet. Gamely I followed Tom’s instructions, rotating my paddle and thrusting my hips. I did not rise into the air. Instead, the shallow end of the pool entered my nose and began washing my brain in chlorinated water.
Tom heaved me back up, and I came out sputtering. “Whoa, Mr. Cameron! You just missed me with your paddle, there,” Tom warned.
“That’s because my eyes are so full of water I can’t aim properly,” I choked.
“Do you know what you are doing wrong?” Tom asked.
“Drowning?” I suggested.
“You’re supposed to hip thrust AFTER you rotate the paddle,” Tom chided. “Let’s try it again.”
Back into the drink. Unexpectedly, I found myself thinking of my Grandfather, probably because I could hear his voice telling me to “move into the light.” I tried to remember the advice he used to give me. “Son,” he’d say proudly, “you’re a dim-witted lad who will never amount to anything.”
Right, Grandpa! So why am I upside down under a kayak, hydrating my lungs, when I could be at home on my couch living up to my lack of potential? I gathered what little strength I had and kicked hard against the bottom of the kayak, popping out like a champagne cork. I swam over to the pool ladder and climbed out.
“Mr. Cameron, where are you going?” Tom demanded.
I turned to face him and the rest of the class. I was still wearing the rubber skirt from the kayak, which stuck out from my hips like a Tupperware tutu. It may not have been my most manly moment. “Tom,” I said, “if God had meant for me to kayak, he wouldn’t have invented the outboard motor.” I went home and watched a bass fishing show on television.
Now, THAT’S boating.
He Ain’t Lion
A man told the ringmaster that he was interested in joining the circus as a lion tamer. The ringmaster asked if he had any experience and the man said, “Why, yes. My father was one of the most famous lion tamers in the world, and he taught me everything he knew.”
“Really?” said the ringmaster. “Did he teach you how to make a lion jump through a flaming hoop?”
“Yes he did,” the man replied.
“And did he teach you how to have six lions form a pyramid?”
“Yes he did,” the man replied.
“And have you ever stuck your head in a lion’s mouth?”
“Just once,” the man replied.
The ringmaster asked, “Why only once?”
And the man said, “I was looking for my father.”
A COWBOY’S GUIDE TO LIFE
Don’t squat with your spurs on.
Don’t interfere with something that ain’t botherin’ you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
If it don’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably ain’t.
It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
Don’t worry about bitin’ off more’n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Generally, you ain’t learnin’ nothing when your mouth’s a-jawin’.
Tellin’ a man to git lost and makin’ him do it are two entirely different propositions.
When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don’t be surprised if they learn their lesson.
When you’re throwin’ your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s sure crucial to know what it was.
The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.
Never miss a good chance to shut up.
Military Intelligence at The Next Level
A career military man, who had retired as a master sergeant, was telling the new recruits how he handled officers during his years of service.
“It didn’t matter a hoot if he was a full bird colonel, major general, an admiral, or what! I always told those guys exactly where to get off.”
“Wow, you must have been something,” the admiring young soldiers remarked. “What was your job in the service?”
“Elevator operator in the Pentagon.”
Q: What happened when the owl lost his voice?
A: He didn’t give a hoot.
WHY GO TO CHURCH?
A church goer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.’ I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can’t remember a single one of them. So I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.” This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:
“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But Ido know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”
When you are DOWN to nothing.. .God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical and spiritual nourishment!
The Whisper Test
Mary Ann Bird was born with multiple birth defects. She suffered not only from her physical impairments but also with the emotional trauma of “being different” from others. …..
I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.
When schoolmates asked, “What happened to your lip?” I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.
There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored — Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy —
a sparkling lady.
Annually we had a hearing test. Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back — things like “The sky is blue” or “Do you have new shoes?” I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, “I wish you were MY little girl.”