Davy Jones' Locker
I recently hosted my parents and two younger brothers for a week and a half. Our visits are extremely infrequent, as it is ludicrously expensive and soul-crushingly frustrating to drag my increasingly huge brood onto cross-country flights. It's the best of all worlds, then, when I can bring bits of my life in Utah to me. It was especially great to spend some time with my dad, who has always been (not to wax too corny) my hero.
Of course, there was one time in particular when my father actually, physically sprung into action to rescue me from certain doom. Allow me to regale...
I was sixteen, awkwardly straddling the hellish divide between adolescence and adulthood, yet still thoroughly convinced of my own invincibility. The Flanafamily had congregated at Payson Lakes on a cloudless summer afternoon and I sat on the shore, gorging my (then fit and svelte) self on six-foot hoagie and a bulk bag of Ruffles while my younger brother and cousin exhausted their lungs inflating the gargantuan "Fun Island" that my parents had purchased at Costco on the way out of town. When all four concentric circles of yellow vinyl were adequately taut, I abandoned gluttony for the call of an afternoon of sloth lounging on the Fun Island in the center of Payson Lake.
My brother, cousin and I piled on and slowly paddled out with no particular destination. After mere minutes, however, the outer ring of the "Island" spontaneously deflated, instantly rendering it considerably less fun. I got off on the side and started to swim with it back to shore, when a sudden bout of hubris overcame me. I stared at the far-off shore and decided that my ridiculously weak swimming skills had suddenly assumed powerful, olympic proportions.
Leaving the rapidly diminishing Marginally Entertaining Islet, I set off at a confident breaststroke. About halfway to dry land, I became acutely aware of my own idiocy as my recently consumed smorgasbord wreaked unholy vengeance on my middle.
Convulsing in waves of crippling cramps, I vainly attempt to half dog-paddle my way out of certain death. No use. I begin bobbing just above and below the surface of the lake, and realize that I have to call for help. At first timidly and then with panicky gusto, I cry out for aid. Arching my back into a half-float, I realize that I am facing my mortality and begin to lament, among slightly more spiritual and philosophical regrets, not having ever made out with a furiously hot foreign chick. Still screaming for help, I look to the shore to see that my portly, determined father had noticed my deathly predicament and had sprung into action...running to the restrooms to change into his swimming trunks to come save me. My thoughts of imminent demise in a watery grave subside for just a moment as my soul groans out an exasperated, disbelieving "daaa-ad!".
In the meantime, a passing canoe fishes me out of the water and I live to tell the tale.