Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cover that up!

I took the family to a water park last week
My kids are in detox this week.
Okay, I lied but not by much. After two days of plummeting down slides, bucking the tide in a wave pool, and getting sprayed on every bodily orifice, the kids were definitely in need of some downtime.
I was in need of a drink - with alcohol, not chlorine.
The more popular waterparks become, the more disgusted I become with them. My disgust stems from three simple words: too much flesh. Let’s face it: people, Sports Illustrated supermodels notwithstanding, look lousy in bathing suits. And after receiving this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in the mail today, I’m not sure they look that hot either. Mostly because, in the majority of photos, they aren’t wearing anything at all. The only thing that makes the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue different from Penthouse is a strategically positioned wave. And the Forum letters. When Sports Illustrated starts running those, I’m canceling my subscription. Dear Sports Illustrated: I am a senior lacrosse player at a large Midwestern University. You will never believe what happened to me while showering in the co ed locker room.
Okay, back to the waterpark. We journeyed there with three other couples from the neighborhood - four couples in two condos. Eight adults and eleven kids. That’s right…11 KIDS. All jacked up on sugar, Coke and pizza. These kids didn’t see a vegetable for three days. Besides, who had time to sit down for a meal when the WATERPARK awaited. Someone needs to explain to kids that waterparks are PERMANENT FIXTURES. In other words, they won’t disappear from existence if everybody doesn’t get to the entrance the moment it opens. Nobody explained that to our brood, which is why everybody was in bathing suits and screaming by 9:55 a.m., anticipating the park’s 10 a.m. opening. Most Saturdays, the only thing I’ve accomplished by 9:55 a.m. is a visit to the bathroom.
So at precisely 10 a.m. we strode – rather, RAN into the waterpark along with about 2,509 other families. The reason for this is most waterparks only have 14 chairs and three tables. Luckily we were able to grab one chair for all 19 of us. First mission accomplished.
Mission number two at a waterpark is grabbing a raft so you can go down slides. By now it was 10:05 which meant there were 4,000 people fighting for 26 rafts. If you don’t get a raft, waterpark etiquette says that you wait at the base of the slide and whoever comes plummeting down gladly hands you their tube. That would be the case if we lived in a civilized country. But we don’t. So my daughters and I waited while tube after tube came down and its occupants played dumb – and blind for that matter.
Finally we secured a tube and marched up the steps. We made it about five steps before the line came to a stunning halt. From there the line moved at approximately one step per minute. In between, I was wedged shoulder to shoulder with more flesh than I ever care to come in contact with. And because we live in 2006, most of that flesh is tattooed. This gave me and my two young daughters something to read while in line. Get ready girls. It will be our turn right after bitchdog.
Finally, it was our turn. A bored seventeen year old sat at the top of the slide, getting paid to look down and determine when it was safe for us to begin our journey. He gave our tube a gentle nudge and we descended into darkness, pitching, rolling and getting splashed before slowing down in a pool. The entire journey lasted about seven seconds. We surrendered our tube. We’d been in the waterpark for one hour, the population was now about 10,000 and we had been down one slide. Not bad for 29 bucks a person.
This continued all day long. The kids eventually disappeared to be with their peers. I retreated to our “area,” which had swelled to four chairs. I never asked how we secured three more chairs. I assume three people drowned and we were just in the right place at the right time.
By day’s end, the kids reeked of chlorine and were already planning their return trip tomorrow. I had consumed five beers, peed about six times and was making plans, with the other adults, on where to get that night’s pizza. One neighbor was already checking with the front desk to see if we could rent the same condos next year.
I’ll pack my Speedo.

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