Scene: 12-years-old, awkward, i.e. simultaneous mullet and rat tail turned into bad perm. Awkward is the kindest word for it. 5’1”, 116 lbs, buck teeth, gap teeth. Giant eyes, giant mouth. Brianiac. 4.0 student and in all the advanced placement classes offered. Socially awkward.
Now let’s add in 1 more wonderful element to the story…………
It was circa 1993. My mother and sister were away at some sporting event, either softball or gymnastics, I have no idea because she has always been the talented one. My father was working swing shift or graveyard shift or something that prohibited contact with me. Grandma took over.
I was scheduled to arrive for a week-long sleepover summer camp at Lake Mayfield, Washington. It was a church camp. Of course there were the obligatory confessing and affirming yourself to Jesus moments, but in reality it was as angsty and horrible as any episode of 90201 past or present.
Who can forget?
Have I mentioned my awkward look and behavior yet? Let me elaborate. My hairdresser informed me that the more I ran my fingers through my curls the more I would loosen them and lose them more quickly. I had a horrible habit of just randomly flipping my hair out of my eyes, bending over from the waist and yanking my head back like a spastic version Paulette trying “The Bend and Snap,” in Legally Blonde. Oh, and that same year I was on crutches for 22 weeks for 3 different injuries and in a special blue Velcro shoe for an additional 6 weeks.
WE ARE NOT RACKING UP THE POPULARITY POINTS HERE PEOPLE!!!!!
Now, let’s just compound things. The weeknight before summer camp “I became a woman.” In layman’s terms that means that I started to bleed profusely from my nether regions without much of an idea of how to stop said situation.
My grandma, being the wonderful woman she is, came up with several helpful ideas. First… pads. Yes, this made sense. It would stop all visible evidence of my having any sort of personal issue what-so-ever. However, I pointed out that the camp was on a lake and the brochure specifically mentioned swimming, water skiing, and inner tubing behind boats. I wasn’t certain that Velcro or sticky wings on the outside of my bathing suit would be appropriate for the circumstances.
Her next idea was tampons. Now that was brilliant. Although not a complete expert in the subject matter I was aware of the intent of such apparatus (that word’s for you Jessica). Junk mail had sent enough tester Tampax, et. all. that my friends and I were aware of the purpose as well as the dangers of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Per the rumors on the boxes you could swim, dive, scuba, dance, have cocktails, and be a millionaire rock star without anyone ever knowing you leaked blood from your vagina at least 1 week of every month. SOLD!!!!!
So we got me some tampons and sent me on my merry way. There were only about 7 gallons of tears. Not the 700 I should have expected from myself.
I arrived at summer camp. Remember the ugly and awkward parts? Now we need to add my limited knowledge of Jesus. These kids knew everything!!! If you asked them anything about science or physics or philosophy or anything they were able to answer you with THE BIBLE!!!! “Because Jesus said this…” “God created the earth in 7 days, dinosaurs were in that 7 days, he just didn’t like them…” “Evolution is a lie and Darwin is a heathen!” Man was I an idiot! Had I only paid attention in the 10 prior years of indoctrination into the Four Square Church I may have had a chance.
My path was not to be one of the accepted within the folds of the flock. My path was to be an outsider. I’m almost certain they thought I was destined to become a bonafide Judas Iscariot. At any rate, I was shunned.
Okay, fine. Actually, since my cabin was forced to hang out with me regardless I took it pretty much in stride. My school pretty much hated me. I pretty much hated me. Summer camp hating me too was alright.
Then………………………….. Like a shining ray of God Light out of the sky…………………….. Like a beam of warmth on a chilly winter day……………………….. Like a magic oasis in the middle of the dessert……. Ben appeared.
He was THE COOLEST KID AT CAMP. He KNEW EVERYTHING about Christ. He was sooooooooooo……….. tall. Like 5’4” tall. Woah! He had blond hair and was super skinny and just HAD IT GOIN’ ON! And for some totally unaccountable reason….. he liked me??????????????????
This kid started sitting near me in the prayer/Jesus affirmation/confess your sins/talk about what Jesus has done for you in your life (no mention of what you have done for yourself in your life, mind you) sessions in the lodge. Me? Whaaaaaaaaaa……………………ttttttttt??????? (I assumed at the time dude had to have been on drugs.) The zinger of it all was that the ladies in the cabin were also all like……. Whaaaa….tttt??? Sarah the ugly girl? Sarah the one who thinks that religion might not be 100% correct? Sarah the girl who doesn’t have the coolest outfits from places like Target? (All of us grew up in small logging towns mind you, Target was cool, Goodwill was standard, free was below standard, Nordstrom’s was for weddings and weddings alone.)
About the same time I started receiving attention from the coolest, the most pious, the most happenin’ dude on campus my counselors realized that I was a complete loser. I believe it was this motivation that allowed me to be selected for what was to become the most embarrassing moment of my life. I was chosen to go out on the boat and to lay on an inner tube, whilst being drug behind said inner tube at extremely high speeds. AWESOME!!!!! (I’m not afraid of a challenge!) Frankly I felt honored. I was chosen, the bitchy girls in my cabin weren’t. Yay me! And frankly I was still way too dumb to understand that said “cool boy” was diggin’ on me. It was my one and only reprieve from the horrors of being the biggest loser at camp.
It was a golden Pacific Northwest day. Mid-eighties. Sun shining. The water looked like diamonds. There were about 6 of us on the boat, including counselors. We took off. Kids rode the tube, had fun, laughed, splashed, enjoyed themselves. Then it was my turn.
Let’s not forget that it was my first lady time ever. I had enough anxiety about this situation. I climbed in. The driver gunned the engine. We took off. IT WAS GREAT!!!!!!!!!! I held on for dear life. Back and forth, back and forth across the wake. Jumping, spinning, never falling off! This was my redeeming moment! Maybe I don’t know much about Jesus, but you can bet your sweet patuckus I DO KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN!
I give the signal to turn up the juice. The driver complies. We go faster, here’s a jump, there’s a turn, another jump, we turn into our own wake……..
……………..I am suddenly cartwheeling through the air. Literally my body is flying as if I were trying to hold my arms out in star fashion and just go sideways. Legs and arms splayed, permed hair flying in every direction. After several cartwheels I come down…. Into the lake…… butt first….. butthole first….. to be graphic……. The lake, the entire lake, went into my butthole at about 70 mph. (Still not sure how the boat didn’t sink quite frankly.)
Just like that I was in the water having been anally raped by a lake. What to do? What to do? I didn’t have time to think about it, because THE LAKE STARTED COMING OUT OF MY ASS. Right. Into. My. Bathing. Suit.
As my bowels were exploding I saw the boat turning around. Warning flag up, tow rope and tube behind. Folks inside unconcerned and enjoying the effort it took to unhorse me.
THEY’RE COMING BACK AND I’M SHITTING MY PANTS!!!!!!
I did that thing wherein you wiggle around your bathing suit (if you’ve ever been in this situation that is) and your butt simultaneously, trying to expend all excrement out of the area. Then…. I swam away, which perplexed the skipper quite a bit. “A hem… why would you leave the scene? We’re trying to rescue you.”
I stayed in the water, acting exhausted as long as I possibly could, the regretfully pulled myself into the boat. I just sat there, stationary, without joy for the remainder of the trip. Of course all the other kids on the boat were wildly popular, older, and cool as all heck.
When we arrived back at the dock I stood up. Upon getting off of the boat I reached behind me to grab my towel AND SAW IT………………….
…….. A .WET. TURD. PILE……..
The lake wasn’t done with me as soon as I’d anticipated. I immediately ran to the bathroom and sat there for quite some time. At some point one of the “cool guys” from the boat ran in chanting, “Sarah shit her pants. Sarah shit her pants.” Of course I screamed back, “No I didn’t! What are you talking about?!” Yeah, I had totally shit my pants.
…………….Flash forward through camp. Ben never stopped hanging out with me. I believe the rumors spread…. Ahem…. The truth spread about my shitting myself….. But still. He was cool. Then a few weeks later, he came to my 13th birthday party and held my hand and gave me a kiss on the cheek!
Moral of the story?
Nope. There isn’t one. I just wanted to tell it.