Friday, August 5, 2022

August 5: Claws of an Eagle, Great America, a Lot of Lemonade

Santiago and the biggest fish he's ever seen . . . 

The old man had seen many great fish. He had seen many that weighed more than a thousand pounds and he had caught two of that size in his life, but never alone. Now alone, and out of sight of land, he was fast to the biggest fish that he had ever seen and bigger than he had ever heard of, and his left hand was still as tight as the gripped claws of an eagle.

Santiago is alone, and he's facing the greatest challenge of his fishing life.  It always seems like that's the way it happens.  The universe seems to have a way of picking the exact wrong moment to throw curves balls at you.  Usually, it's when you're most vulnerable.

I spent the day at Great America with my wife, son, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend.  I rode exactly five rollercoasters.  Remarkably, the first one (Superman) did not give me vertigo.  It made me a little green.  It was Batman that nearly killed me.  My 13-year-old son wanted to go on it, and I volunteered to ride with him.  We stood in line for about 25 minutes and got all strapped and locked into our seats.  The attendant came by to check our restraints, and my son panicked.  He asked to be released.

You guessed it--I ended up riding Batman by myself.  It was nauseating.  As we pulled back into the loading area to be set free, I felt the world shift and start spinning.  It was as if I could actually sense the planet rotating at 1,000 miles per hour.  I took and deep breath and said a little prayer.  It went something like this:  "Please let me get off this ride without throwing up, soiling myself, or having to crawl down the exit ramp."

After a couple seconds, the world stopped spinning before my eyes, and I walked, a little shakily, off the ride.  Of course, my son was waiting for me, and he apologized about 172 times.  I sat on a bench, sucked in some oxygen, and waited for my stomach to get off the rollercoaster, too.

Like Santiago, I faced a great challenge alone, and I survived.  Of course, I wasn't in any real danger, and I could have requested to be released from the ride after my son bailed on me.  But I didn't do that.  I'm not sure if that was incredibly stupid or incredibly brave.  Maybe a little of both.

After Great America, we went to eat at Outback Steakhouse.  I had prime rib and two very stiff drinks.  By the time I got back to our hotel room, I was quite relaxed.  So, I took out my laptop and decided to do some grading for the summer course I'm teaching.  (Probably not the best plan after five rollercoasters and two mixed drinks.)

I know that life sometimes gives you lemons, but today, I drank a lot of lemonade.

Saint Marty's blessing for today:  getting wet with my family.

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