DAVID SPARKS: Water skiing is easy, right? (column)

David Sparks

David Sparks

When I was 12 years old, my Uncle bought a new ski boat and one fine summer day he invited the whole family to go boating with him. What a great idea on a hot summer day — get all of

your relatives and take them on your beautiful boat. What could go wrong? Well, you could invite one fat stupid kid and ruin it all.

We met at McGuire’s on the river and loaded his boat into the water. My mother made me wear a huge tee shirt over my swim trunks and use something called sun block. I’m not sure what it was, but it had “roofing tar” on the can. This is due to the unfortunate condition I have called vampirism. Apparently I was born unable to tolerate sunlight on my skin. One third-degree sunburn when I was younger was enough to convince me!

After some time on the boat, my Uncle had a bright idea to teach the fat kid how to water ski. We went back to shore, he threw me and the skis out and told me to put them on. His only other instruction was to lean back and let the boat pull me up.

This was all of the instructions he gave and nothing else. I was only in about four feet of water, just above my head, so I thought this was safe, right?

Now I imagine that he thought that due to my size he would have to give the boat a little extra power on starting. So I was not surprised to hear the engine roar when he started. What did surprise me was how fast I flew up and out of the water.

The acceleration separated me completely from my skis (probably due to the “roofing tar” my mom put on my feet) and I actually skipped twice across the surface of the water like a flat

rock. Then just like a large round rock, I sank. Unfortunately, I was stupid and forgot to let go of the rope. I think that was due to the poor instructions. What amazed me as I torpedoed under the water was how fast I was going. 

Then my bottoms came off. This just got serious. I was naked from the waist down at 12 years old, I was in public and I was fat. My heavens, my nightmares have come true!

The boat slowed down, then stopped. I started to float up, but I just wanted to sink to the bottom of the river. Unfortunately, my own body betrayed me. Due to the heavy fat content of my body I surfaced like the great white whale in “Moby Dick.”

Much to my embarrassment, my hind end bobbed up and I spit up a lot of water. So I know the whale image was reinforced with my relatives. They were a typical bunch of loved ones and

responded with decorum. I wished. They of course laughed themselves silly. I did learn something useful that day: Never try to water ski. It may look easy with the svelte model-bodied

types on the television but if you are a stupid fat kid it is IMPOSSIBLE!

David Sparks