Allow this bloggah to count the ways his love for wakeboards and watercraft have blossomed over the summer:
1. Ben’s boat is a sleek swimming platform afloat in a dreamy oxbow of the Red River…
2. Equipped with really comfy couches from which to observe the surrounding whispering green pines or wide open blue sky
3. Or just listen to the fantastic stereo. Simply being wet and on the water is a fine snake oil medicine for the senses. Music sounds sweeter, the colors seem brigher.
4. And did I mention there’s an Indmar electronic fuel injected 320 HP V-drive inboard motor strapped to the loins of this floating party lounge? Life in the fast lane just got faster and where there was formerly peaceful stillness let there be mind clearing speed and sweeping wind thanks to internal combustion. And turn up that Freedom Rock because it sounds better that way and it’s competing with the equivalent of a Chevy 350 at full rev. The stage is set for one epic music video or adventure doc and if you’re on this boat you’re right in the middle of it.
5. Final ingredient: the wakeboard bound to your feet. It’s a prosthetic for all of us mere humans that were born crippled without the ability to walk on water or fly. Or rather, it’s a perfect interface that ties you to that micro-thin surface beween lake and sky and is tethered to those 320 horses of power with which a man can evolve into something fast and flowing and post-human. It’s pretty much the clean key (carbon footprint aside) to that place that recreational drugs and science fiction were invented to access.
For me, Ben’s boat is the greatest party ever thrown. It’s outside, on the water, with a fantastic soundtrack and comfortable furniture, and there’s absolutely no opportunity for chit chat or bitching. Things are just too loud and fast for social baggage or insecurity, or politics. Most of the insecurity is devoted to how much of a badass you’re willing to try to be on the end of that rope somewhere between those 2 rolling waves spinning out endlessly as long as there’s a willing hand on the throttle. And should you fall, I guarantee it’s a fall you’ll get back up from, all wet and determined for more.
Not that it’s all fun and games on the oxbow. Using my face to arrest forward movement at 20 miles per hour was no picnic. But really, what party isn’t improved by the drama of mild concussions? Also, the boat is really, really hard to drive. During my brief time at the wheel I felt like I was managing the core of a nuclear submarine. Just keeping the boat at constant speed required zen concentration and micromanagement excellence while the edge of that small lake is ALWAYS rapidly approaching. And oh yeah, there’s a human being bouncing along behind you on a string.
Who knows how many summers we have left in us to abuse and enjoy the pleasures of flesh meeting water at high speeds. Judging by the state of my lower back this morning, not a whole hell of a bunch. At least there’s science fiction and recreational drugs to fall back on. My plan is to try cocaine at 65, heroin at 75, and sky diving with faulty parachutes after 85. Until then, kudos to Ben for alternative fixes.
For the Welder’s take on this lovely session, including a better description of my failed attempt to be the aquatic Evel Knievel: