This Bit is somewhat of a ‘Trailer’ for a rather longish post which I will be publishing presentlysoon maybe next week. Gentle Reader, I do hope it piques your interest.
During my sojourn in Lake Charles, Summer of ’77, Kim’s girlfriend introduced us to her sister’s beau. His name was Tim Castille. Tim was a great guy, with a mild and affable demeanor, and we all used to hang out together, which was surprising since Kim usually didn’t want to hang out (socially anyhow) with any “Non-Brothers,” i.e. not Kappa Alphas—whatever. Perhaps the reason Kim made an exception in Tim’s case was because Timothy was the owner of a shit-hot high-speed-rocket-on-water of a ski boat.
As you may imagine, Tim was a first-class water skier and he only used one ski—there is a word for that—oh yeah, “slalom.”
Since I was the only schmuck who didn’t know how to water ski, it was decided one day that it was high time for me to learn. Probably was “high-time” because we tacked into this windy epiphany while blowing dope. Down to the river we went. After being briefly briefed on the basics of water skiing by Tim, I found myself bobbing up and down in the Calcasieu River, two feet locked into a single ski, holding onto the end of a long rope behind about 300 horsepower of snorting, sputtering, idling, chomping-at-the-bit Evinrude outboard motor. (If you have read my Post, True Grit, you probably have figured out by now that anything I have to do with horses, whether one or two or three-hundred, is a bad idea)
Being fearless (and stoned) I decided this was exactly the right place for me to be and at exactly the right time.
The “crew” of the ski boat called to me asking if I was ready. I waved back with one hand, assuring them, that yes indeed, I was enthusiastically ready.
Tim lit her up and away we went.
I did everything as I had been instructed, but there was something not quite right. I could not seem to get up on the damn ski. Being stubborn, I would not let go (even with the crew yelling at me to do just that) and as we motored along I was dragged underwater. Still stubborn (and no longer able to hear the shouts from the boat) I refused to give up. Deeper and deeper I submerged under the river. Apparently Tim had faith that at some point I would pop up, cork-like, and ski like a pro and I sure as hell was not going to let go and lose face. I did manage get my head to break the surface periodically, which allowed me enough air to continue in my new found folly. After about five or so minutes of this, Tim gave up, probably because his Evinrude was beginning to overheat from the excessive drag produced by someone being pulled along completely underwater and not gracefully gliding along on the surface as God intended.
Now, one might think I would have given up on my water skiing career that day. Oh no! Not this cowboy. We repeated this charade at least six more times during the course of the summer, all with the same results. Everyone got such a grand kick out of watching me ski underwater that guests were invited along for the strange spectacle. Apparently the consensus amongst the second and third time witnesses when speaking to the uninitiated was, “Hey! You can’t make this shit up! Ya gotta come see for yourself.” One time there were no less than four other boats full of spectators, surrounding my watery stage. It was, I imagined, similar to the whale watching excursions in places like Alaska and northern California. “Thar She Blows!” Cameras clicked; beers were quaffed in my honor; people cheered. (I was told—difficult to hear the crowds whilst under water.) I had become somewhat of a local celebrity.
That was my Fifteen Minutes.
I have never put on skis since, but I would, given just-one-more-chance…
–Lance, the world’s first (and best) Underwater Water Skier.