When I was around 12 or 13, my family and I took a trip to the Bahamas. Now, I have little recollection of this trip (as with most of my life before age 16…we still don’t know why), but I do remember one very special day.
The Bahamas are not terribly when you’re a kid. You don’t really care much about relaxing on the beach, and your friends aren’t there. Your mom won’t let you just chill in the hotel room and watch Boy Meets World like you want. What is fun when you’re a kid is a boat shaped like a banana. It’s still pretty awesome, if you think about it, but when you’re a kid, it’s the best, especially when the boat drags you and 15 other idiots through the Caribbean waters at lightning speed.
As you can imagine, my mother wasted no time throwing me on the fruit-shaped death ride. We had just seen the the paramedics come to treat an older woman whom we guessed had a heart attack while on the banana boat, but this didn’t stop any of our parents from letting us hop on. My younger cousin, Corey, was most excited. A rambunctious child, he thought the banana boat would be more fun than anything he’d ever experienced. My Aunt Pat strapped on a life jacket to join us for the ride.
Before we could get fully situated on the raft, Corey had a change of heart. The boat was shaped like two parallel bananas (obvi), and I was on the banana beside Corey. He said something along the lines of, “I don’t want to do this!” just as the engine began to roar. “Nooooooooo!” He screamed as the banana boat took off, full speed, into the deep, wide ocean.
Corey cried that day. He cried for the entire banana boat ride. While Aunt Pat, the other passengers and I shouted things like “Wahoo!” and “Yippee!” Corey sat beside us wailing like a newborn. He held on tight, and the faster we went the louder he screamed. At a certain point, in the middle of the ocean, I turned to see Corey quaking with fear. He was about 11 (who let an 11 year old get on the banana boat?), and had quite a “tough guy” mentality. But now here he was, like wimpering like a baby lamb. “Hahahahhahaha!” I laughed, just as we picked up speed again. The screaming recommenced.
We returned to shore safely, Corey running to the crowd of adults that awaited us. They all wrapped their arms around him as he retold the tale of the banana boat. They felt very badly about having put him on. It was clear that he would not be partaking in any water excursions for a very long time.
Corey (who prefers his given name now, but I will persist with Corey) has grown up to be a big guy. He’s pretty tough, and he’s pretty cool. There is not a lot that he is afraid of. But (and I hope you are reading this, Corey) any time he gets to big for his britches, I think he should remember the time that he cried like a baby while riding on a raft shaped like a piece of fruit.