Sampson Independent

Losing my dignity — and my swim suit

Do you remember the day you were born? I would dare say none of us are able to remember that far back.

You were so young and innocent that I’m quite certain none of the doctors and nurses who witnessed your arrival into the world cared that you squeezed your way out of the birth canal wearing absolutely nothing.

There is no refuting the fact we’ve all experienced that first precious moments of life.

Well, it’s one thing to greet the world for the very first time in nothing but your birthday suit, but it’s quite another when you shoot out the end of a water slide tube the same way.

Oh yeah! There’s no denying it. I was unable to hide the fact that as a grown man I unintentionally lost the bathing suit that had been draped around my lean body. I’m just glad there wasn’t a doctor there to smack my bare bottom. But then again, that might have been a better alternative than the awkward situation I had staring me straight in the eye.

I had been living with the pastor’s family at the southern tip of Roanoke Island while teaching at a Christian school in the little fishing village of Wanchese in 1990. Although the preacher had three boys, I became well acquainted with the youngest, Brandon. If I didn’t know he was the son of a preacher man, I would have thought he was the devil’s spawn.

Maybe that sounds a bit harsh; but I’m a preacher’s kid too, so I have a bit more insight into such matters. Besides, you’re not the one who had to babysit the 10-year-old every time his parents went out of town.

Not only did I live under the same roof with the hyperactive boy, but I was required to teach him as well.

For some strange reason, Brandon thought he didn’t have to adhere to the rules like the rest of his peers. He soon realized – while he sat in detention day after day – the rules also applied to him.

Needless to say, we were both glad when summer arrived.

Then the only time we had that proverbial line in the sand drawn was when I took him to the beach with one of his many little friends.

We had out moments, but most of the time we got along pretty well. Brandon was like the little brother I never had and he proved it when he stood at the edge of the water slide chuckling after I lost my dignity along with everything else – literally.

Thinking back on that day, I had decided to spend some quality time with Brandon by taking him to one of the many water slides at Nags Head.

We pretended to be competing against each other for the Olympic gold as we took turns going down the water slide with different moves of our own making. We vowed to outdo the other the next time around.

We were keeping up with each other on a fairly even level until Brandon tried the reverse switch. He came down the water slide head first on his back.

Now this was an illegal maneuver, according to the water park rules; but Brandon always did like to break the rules.

At any rate, he started his descent like usual, but halfway down the slide, he managed to flip himself over. Well now, I couldn’t just let that one pass without attempting to top it. I had to think of something better.

Although I regretted my decision later, I decided to go down head first on my stomach.

It was so fun moving with the water as it glided down the half moon-shaped symmetrical tube to the blue lagoon waiting at the bottom of the man-made river.

When I got to the tidal basin at the end of the water slide, water gushed in around my head – blinding me.

As I came to my senses, I felt a rush flow over my body that felt very unusual. About that time I spotted a pair of red and white knee-length swimming trunks float to the surface a few feet away.

That’s when I realized they were mine. Yikes!!!

I quickly glanced down at my naked body, only to lift my head with a look of horror as the female lifeguard stood there watching to make sure the participants exited the pool safely.

I quickly grabbed the blue mat floating aimlessly about and wrapped it around my exposed body as I wiggled my way back into my swimming trunks.

Brandon had a good laugh and a free show to boot. But the last laugh was on him because there was no way he was going to top the unusual display of agile aquatic movements.

I almost forgo: if I learned nothing else that day, it was never to go down a water slide head first on my stomach without making sure my drawstring was tied tightly at the waist.

Mark S. Price S. Price

By Mark S. Price

Contributing columnist

Mark S. Price is a former city government/county education reporter for The Sampson Independent. He currently resides in Clinton.