Squawk Radio

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I am an athletic woman. I play a mean game of tennis, swim like a fish, and lift weights on a regular basis. So last weekend when we were visiting friends at their lake cabin and their son said, "Who wants to go water skiing?" I chirped, "Hey! That sounds like fun! I’m in!" It didn’t matter that I hadn’t actually been on skis in oh, say,... oh, say... wow. Has it been that long? No matter. It’s like riding a bike.

I ignored the startled and/or amused glances of my peers. Just because they have let themselves go to hell doesn’t mean the rest of us have, I thought then I think I said something like, "Hey, just because you have let yourselves go to hell doesn’t mean that I have."

A word here: Friends eat up hubris like Takeru Kobayashi gobbles hotdogs, especially friends that feel they have been insulted by the hubrisee. And I don't care if it's not a word so don't write me about it.

Forthwith, I found myself with my feet in antique water skis, bobbing up and down in a lake, buoyed by a child’s life vest so small it had to be bungee-corded together in front. How did I know it was a child’s life vest? Were you listening? IT HAD TO BE BUNGEE-CORDED TOGETHER IN THE FRONT TO MAKE IT FIT! Geesh.

Somehow twenty-five people had managed to cram together on the power boat that was going to take me "for a spin around the lake." Okay, maybe there weren’t twenty-five but that boat was packed with my friends, most of them no longer looking very friendly. Don’t even ask what the horsepower of that baby was because that sort of question is plain old rude.(It was big.)

So there I am. Confident, even a little cocky, I grasp the tow bar, give a thumbs up and shout, "Let ‘er rip!" With a roar of power the boat leaps forward, the tow line plays out like a striking snake and, knees gentle bent, arms straight ahead, I surge slowly upright; Venus arising from Zeus's foaming brow. Or the Cracken emerging from its lair. Your choice.

Anyway, I am up and it feels fine. Good, even. I am powerful, athletic, ready for some S-P-E-E-D. I give the driver the sign. At once, the motor boat claws it’s way over the surface of the lake like a mad cat on a shag carpet and I’m in the wake, crusing in the vee. My legs are steady, my arms are steel, all that core-training is obviously paying off because I am solid.

It is time to add a little sass to this act.

I decide to give the nay-saying, stodgy, snickering oldsters in the boat a little show. I bend my legs, and my skis' edges slice through the water, shooting me toward the wake. I fly over it, slowing in my moment of aerial artistry, my arms over my head to take up the slack and bang! I hit the water. I don’t even miss a beat. My pals in the boat look stunned. I can see wide eyes. Then some of them begin to laugh with pleasure! A few of the women shake their heads in wonder!

I pull in and carve another route back toward the wake and jump it and then return to the other side, and then back again. I slalom, I carve, I slice, I curve, I arc. And I am getting a little tired by now. Hell, women half my age (which would make them mere children) would be tired by now. One more wake flight and then I’ll signal for the driver to return me to the shore. Over I go but this time the landing isn’t quite so flawless. I wobble but somehow catch myself and that’s when it happened.

In the midst of almost losing my balance, I look down. I see my thighs.

Now the things my thighs were doing as I skimmed over the corrugated chop of the lake surface are best left to the imagination. Cellulite at rest is as about appealing as a body suit made out of cottage cheese. Cellulite in motion is ghastly. But cellulite that is no longer bound by strong young collagen to the dimpled layer of the dermis is, in a word, horrifying.

I looked down and saw the flesh of my legs shimmying like a sixties go-go dancer, oscillating like a can of paint in a Sherwin Williams color-mixer, rippling like the flag in Bush campaign commercial, shaking like sinner at the gates of hell, quivering like... well, you get my point.

I let go of the tow bar and glide off, sinking beneath the concealing water. I couldn’t possibly have sank fast enough. The laughter from the boat, my friends' wide-eyes , their shaking heads, it all took on a different aspect as I slowly disappeared under the water's surface.

Unhappily, one can only hold one's breath so long. But by the time I was forced to come up for air I had come to a decision.

Some things you give up because they are no longer worth the effort to do them, like folding tee shirts or theme-sex. Some things you give up because they are simply too physically demanding, like folding tee-shirts or theme-sex. But some things you give up for purely aesthetic reasons. My thighs on water skis is one of them. Theme-sex is another.

You don't want to see me in a Bo-Peep outfit, either.

How about you? Have you ever flashed your past to your great regret? Boasted of a skill you somehow misplaced? Squeezed into a dress you just knew made you look like a triple –threat fox only to see photos later that challenged that belief? Tell me. Share my humiliation. It’s cathartic.
Connie Brockway, 8:46 PM