It was the night after the Packer game… And they lost… Big time. 17-0. But it was preseason, so who cares?!!
It was just great to be a part of the game day atmosphere with family and friends and prepare for yet another season of hard hits and epic pigskin battles. So we celebrated, Wisconsin style… We went to the bar.
We walked into the Harbor Bar in style as if we owned the place, immediately grooving to the top 40 hits blasting through the speakers. We mingled and drank with the locals; clad with green and yellow face paint all over our bodies, with of course the American Flag bandana wrapped around my forehead. What can I say? I love my country!
It didn’t take long for the drinks to start pouring, and the dance floor looked more and more appealing with each shot of Yager sliding down my throat. I looked at Nick, and he looked at me. We didn’t even have to say anything. Our 6th sense beams of communication connected and we knew exactly what we were going to do. “Lets do this,” I said, responding to his nod of approval, and we stepped out onto the waxed wooden floor, greeting a group of bachelorette party goers waiting for some Wisconsin bachelors to sweep them off their feet.
Within seconds we began to impress with our vast collection of dance moves, ranging from the Miley Cyrus twerks to the smooth and sensual hip flow from the “Teach Me How to Dougie” Era. I even made my way back to my roots, the Western Swing, a dance I had mastered at a young age when my partner and I got 2nd place in Mrs. Lyons 6th grade dance contest (I still think we got robbed of grand champion, but that’s a whole other story).
It was then when she came up to me and brought her mouth close to my ear. She had prepared a soft phrase; I think something along the lines of the music selection. It was either that or my strong resemblance to Aaron Rodgers… Probably the later. We got to talking, which led to a drink.
“Could this be the one?” I asked myself. Now this was no boundary babe by any stretch of the imagination, and she had a bit of an attitude, but she was pretty decent looking and was sporting some Packer attire, so I found it in my best judgment to afford her a piece of my time.
Her name was Erica, and she was definitely playing hard to get. But I saw right through the guise and never lost my composure, even with the obnoxious idiot behind us throwing terrible pick up lines towards her. He was desperate, so I just sat back and watched him dig his own grave. He couldn’t have made it any easier for me to swoop in for the kill.
There I was, just about ready to lay down the finishing move when my younger sister approached the scene. She’s a great soul full of energy, but still has much to learn, especially from me. She took a look at Erica and gave her opinion, for which being a patriotic American and supporter of the First Amendment, I totally appreciate. “She looks trashy,” she whispered in my ear. Only one problem; her “Whisper” was heard all across the bar, and right into the direction of my new Wisconsin interest…
Long story short, that there went my chances. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bummed out, but no matter what, you always have to side with family in situations like these. I guess I’ll never know if Erica was truly the one…
No matter the circumstance, there was no need to fret over lost love at this time, for come morning it would be my last day in Wisconsin. And I had to make it count! Being an established beer drinker, I awoke bright and early at sunup with no consequences from the night before. I wish I could say the same for little sis, but as I touched on earlier, she is prone to making foolish decisions from time to time.
And I’m sorry to say, but she wasn’t fooling anybody when she tried sneaking into the bathroom for a little relief of the bottle flu after a far prolonged sleep session past noon. I’ll never quite know for certain, but I think it was the sound of her coughing up dinosaurs that bellowed throughout the halls of my grandparents that gave it away; fair retribution for ruining my chances with Erica.
“Hey how’s it going?” she tried pulling off with an innocent smile on her face towards mom and grandma… Right after she had finished barfing her brains out in the toilet. My mom and I looked at her and laughed our butts off. My grandma acted like she didn’t know what was going on, but she knew full well the mess that Emily had gotten herself into. I’m sure she’s gotten herself into a few messes from time to time. It’s in our blood, and I know she totally related to the experience Em was facing when she blasted chunks of destruction into the transportation sector of Waupaca’s sewage treatment plant.
However, with a little help from her family followed by a pontoon ride around the Chain O’Lakes with Captain Brian at the helm, she was back and business and we were off to a great last day in Wisconsin. The cavalry was out and about across the lake with everyone in central Wisconsin conversing to Waupaca to enjoy their beautiful Saturday on the lake. And boy was I eating every up every minute of it!
It was a fun-filled day of chilling at the lake with our beer and kooskis… POSSIBLY being a little heavy on the beer. After sucking a few cold ones down and suffering nibble wounds from the baby blue gill roaming about the lake (the little bastards just kept biting at me!), I was out on the dock rockin’ out with in my Speedo with the ol’ guitar belting out the tunes of Neil Young, Nicki Minaj, and Carly Rae Jepson of “Call Me Maybe” fame. The passing patrons were loving it, often stopping for a cheer or two, further adding to my confidence level. And it didn’t stop there.
I continued with the entertainment, moving onto the floating dock by showing off my greatest diving board moves, from flips, to dives, and even some mega huge cannon balls. I was doing it all.
Out in the distance, I spotted some honeys passing by on their kayaks. We made eye contact, and with my 20/15 vision I could make out a slight blush coming from one of them. It had to be my rock hard washboard abs complemented with my tight fit Speedo that they found so admiring. I guess those years of push-ups, planks, and sit-ups finally paid off.
My mind was racing for ideas for my next trick. They were coming my way at a swift pace. Impressing them rapidly became my number one priority. I had almost conceived the perfect flip in mind and was on the verge of execution. Then all of a sudden, a voice hollered from behind me, disrupting my much important concentration.
“Belly Flop!” it shouted. I turned to my back to find the culprit. I figured it would be a cowardly being hiding behind the oak trees that guarded the beachfront. Instead, I saw Nick holding his beer in the air with a stupid grin on his face, proud of his clumsily made comment.
“Shut up Nick” I sneered back, but the chants kept on coming, this time from the rest of the cousins. I was a second from swimming over and beating him up, when I heard more cheers, this time from the middle of the lake. I looked back and there was a pontoon full of young bucks egging me on.
I was pretty upset at this whole conundrum I was in, the most upset I’ve been since my sister screwed me over with this girl named Erica; but at the same time, I was in total contemplation, for now there was a crowd to please. I still remember the pain I went through at Kelsee Tower’s 6th grade graduation party (or 7th grade, anything before 8th grade is kind of fuzzy) when me, Ben Grimm, and some other dingus (I honestly forget the other boy was) decided to impress the girls with some belly flops in her pool. Jesus Christ I remember it hurting like crap! The worst part was, I had to act manly and pretend it didn’t hurt! I was still a boy, and that kind of thing takes a toll during that part of your life! Anyway, that was the last belly flop I ever did, and I vowed never to do another one as long as I lived.
But now the pressure was on, for another pontoon had shown up. This time full of drunk buttholes, but still fans nonetheless who fancied themselves with the words “Belly” and “Flop” back to back and repeated over and over again. It was getting harder to say no, but yet there was still not enough incentive to convince me it was a good idea. So I stalled, hoping they would grow tired for their chanting and move on to the next thrill.
But these alcoholic lake venturers were determined, and the more I delayed, the harder they chanted. AND to add to my luck, yet another pontoon showed up, further inflaming the excitement of the belly flop mantra. “BELLY FLOP, BELLY FLOP!” It got louder and louder, and from all corners of the Waupaca Chain o’ Lakes. I swear people were reciting it from two lakes down. They couldn’t see the action, but they knew something grandiose was about to happen, and wanted to be part of the experience.
In my world there are two types of pain. The pain you experience after doing something foolish and not knowing of the consequences of your actions. And then there’s the pain you experience with the full knowledge that what you’re about to do is going to hurt like hell, but it has to be done anyway, which takes much more courage than the prior. And by God, I knew this was going to suck, but now with a crowd of 50+ waiting for the big jump and the kayak babes drawing closer in my line of sight anticipating the great performance, it was time to act, to sit up or shut up; and at this point I couldn’t let them down.
I took a deep breath and prepared myself for a leap that would send me into great agony, just like many of my heroes from the Green Bay Packers had faced in their moments where they had to make the choice of victory and sacrifice over failure and comfort. I stepped onto the diving board, took a giant bounce, and launched myself into the air and into the spread eagle position, awaiting a dire misery for what seemed to last an eternity. I was going down… And down… And down… To meet my inevitable doom…
“PLOP!” The sound of my bare belly smacking on the lake surface echoed across the lake as the pain of a thousand needles piercing my stomach vibrated throughout my skin, feeling as if I had flopped onto a bed of concrete before submerging into the murky water. It was a struggle reaching the surface, for I could barely sense which way was up and which was down. But from a will to see the beautiful Wisconsin scenery for at least a final moment, I miraculously arose from the dark depths of the lake to a crowd gone completely berserk. Suddenly, the stinging sensation I had felt seconds before became miniscule to the glory I was receiving masked with a rush of adrenaline. I had made the day of over 50 lake goers, 2 kayak babes, and a group of cousins who had initially summoned me to undertake this magnificent feat. And with that feat, I was finally able to gather the respect I’d been seeking throughout the Fox Valley region. My mother looked on, proud of her son and his most recent accomplishment, as if all of my previous achievements, getting my black belt, becoming an Eagle Scout, handing me my high-school diploma, and graduating from college had all lead up to this moment. Something that Nicki Minaj would famously coin, “A moment she wishes she could have for life.”
It was almost a perfect day, minus the fact that I lost at a game of mini-golf that had taken place at the Tom Thumb mini-golf course, a Chain o’ Lake tradition as adamantly advertised at their club house. Which wouldn’t have been so bad hadn’t it been for my little sister pointing out every time I missed a freaking shot! “Oh gee Emily, I didn’t realize I missed the shot from the fact that my ball didn’t go into the hole. Thanks for blurting it out Captain Obvious!” Needless to say, I don’t need to go into too much detail about mini-golf. It’s pretty boring anyway.
But no matter how unfortunate mini-golf was, my time in Wisconsin was coming to a close. The next morning I would have to say goodbye to the wonderful state I had grown so fond of over the past week. All good things must come to an end, but is it truly the end???
TO BE CONCLUDED…