Sharkelling

Erin and I try to get away someplace WWC (Warm, Without Children) once or twice a year. It does wonders for our marriage.

I’m decidedly lazy when we get away because it’s always preceded by the same amount of work I always do crammed into the previous two weeks, so I find that I just want to sit on the beach. Even now with a trip coming up I’m telling myself “Hey, I should run on the treadmill at the resort so I don’t get fat!”, but it never seems to happen.

In anticipation that I will have more interest in things like exercise and adventure every year I entertain the thought of taking snorkelling gear, which I did several times and never used. Now because I’m honest and efficient I don’t even bother.

But I have another reason not to take it now.

Enroute to Cuba one year I decided it would be a good idea to watch a documentary about some Megalodon they found off the coast of … you guessed it… Cuba that measure a million feet long and had a picture of a hundred Cubans standing in its maw.

I had no idea there were sharks in Cuba. If I wasn’t sure how I felt about snorkelling, I definitely know how I feel about sharkelling!

In my defence I actually tried Erin’s gear on and jumped in the water, but when you’re checking your six o’clock for sharks every 0.3 seconds it’s just not pleasant. I’m not a panicky guy, but I’ve watched enough shark movies to know a guy with my body isn’t the one who gets away. No shark movie producer has every seen me shirtless and said “That man has the body of a Greek god! Cast him immediately!”.

They might cast me alright, but it would be the Guy Who Is Sarcastic To The Main Actress And Gets Eaten First And Keeps His Shirt On. Then I would get “cast” by some freak accident into the cage with a broken door swimming in chum. Game over.

So my job is to sign the little boat out, hand the handler one shiny peso, and paddle Erin out to where the fish are. I’m really good at it too.

Erin kicks around for hours out there while I enjoy the view (the ocean you sickos) and try not to lose her. This is difficult when your brain has been shut off for several days.

I’m the type of guy who always knows what he wants, but on vacation I don’t care about anything. That’s why an all inclusive is nice because people are paid to think for me. “Hot dog sir?” Why not? “Drink sir?” Why not?

So this one time the water was a little choppy and the sun was bright and I realized that I no longer had any idea where Erin was. This is not as simple as it sounds because try as I might I couldn’t find her. It’s one thing to see someone swimming right beside the boat, but it’s quite another to see two inches of snorkel bobbing up and down behind fourteen million six inch waves, especially when you don’t know which way to look.

We were somewhere between one mile and forty out to sea (it’s hard to tell if your brain doesn’t work), and I finally starting thinking the inevitable: that I was going to have to find another wife and hope that my girls liked the new one? Even joking about this makes my skin crawl because my mother has made it clear that if it doesn’t work out between Erin and I they’re all keeping Erin. Whatever. It’s just not nice that she said what everyone was thinking.

As a last resort I did what you do in the “Oh crap” moments…

I prayed.

“God, I seem to have lost my wife. I didn’t do it on purpose, and in my defence she’s pretty independent and I was trying not to control her with being too responsible and concerned about her physical safety by yelling “ERIN! SHARK!” every few seconds. I was trying to give her her freedom and stuff and tend to panic because that’s how you made me: responsible and panicky. I don’t want to be the one to say it, but it’s too late in life for me to learn how to cook, and I can’t remember birthdays or things that matter, so if it’s not too much trouble….”

I’m not sure what’s sadder, that I prayed thatprayer or that I pray like that, but God fell for it and I got Erin back.

And I learned a valuable lesson that day:

…which Erin will have to tell you because I forgot to write it down…

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