In 1986, my wife and I went to Hawaii. On our last day, we decided to spend all day on Waikiki Beach to get a souvenir tan and play in the waves. I bought a blowup float because I couldn’t afford to rent a surfboard. Nonetheless I had a blast riding the waves and running over old people who appeared in Speedos and bikinis – ewwwwww! If you catch a wave just right, you can glide along with it. It is a blast! You paddle out far enough to catch the wave and then ride it back to the shore.
Well, this Okie tourist decides to rest a bit and I fall asleep. The next thing I realize, the beach is quite a ways off, as are the people, and ships. I was drifting in the Pacific Ocean like a castaway. So what do I do? I scream like a 10-year old girl – “Help, help, tourist on the loose!” I paddled back towards the beach as hard as I could, but the currents were too strong and pulled me right back out. I was in trouble, literally deep trouble. Instantly my imagination went into overdrive and images of a 100-foot great white shark came to my mind and I pulled every inch of my flesh out of the water.
Next, I just began to pray and promised God I’d do everything if I could just get back to shore. I looked around noticing the bay is curved and I thought if I could just swim towards the point of the bay that is curved, I’d surely wash up somewhere. So I paddled some more while my heart was trying to break out of my chest in fright. I soon discovered it was working, but I might miss the ending point of the bay and would then be set adrift to Tahiti, Easter Island, or Antarctica! I knew my wife had to be worried sick and my two year old son would soon be fatherless.
After what seemed an eternity, I finally made it to shore, but now I had to hike back to where I left my wife on the beach. I am sure people in restaurants, hotels, etc. where watching all of this and laying Las Vegas odds on my return. But watching me carrying a float, gasping for air and needing water, they wagered again on whether I would make it back to my original starting point. I hope they all lost a lot of money on me!
Finally I made it back to where my loving wife lay on a towel catching rays. She had never noticed I had been gone. She had no clue of my struggle with near death and that at any moment I could have been fresh chum for a 100-foot great white shark! How did I take it? I was miffed and couldn’t believe she hadn’t noticed my dire straits!
We finished the day on a dinner ship where I enjoyed several Mai Tai recovery sessions. My wife became seasick and complained of her sunburn and wanted some special pampering. Pampering!? Are you kidding me? I survived the tides and jaws of the violent ocean and she wanted me to feel sorry for her sunburn and seasickness?
I understand now (just in theory, mind you) why husbands throw wives off cruise ships. So when ever the nightmare of that day returns, I immediately mix a large batch of Mai Tai’s as my therapist recommended (me).