So, since work is going nuts, and today may be patch 2.4 day or not, I am going to spare you any WoW related goodness. You’re probably more interested in finding out what the Shattered Sun Offensive is going to have of interest to you, anyway. Go read some news sites, I’ll wait.
I’ll give you one quick WoW update first: We downed High King last Saturday, and wiped on Gruul himself with me as main tank. Any advice you may have for pointers on what I should do would be appreciated. Also, Cassieann now has two new swords; Blinkstrike with Mongoose, and Latro’s Shifting Sword, which frankly both look awesome together. We also had our first and only Arena match so far. A Druid and Warlock team melted our faces. It was neat!
So, on to storytime.
I was stationed for a time in Camp Pendleton, California. It is a beautiful base, with many barracks located just a mile or two off some gorgeous beachfront, isolated beachfront that is only truly accessible to Marines and their families.
At the time, I was single and had recently returned from Okinawa, where I had caught the windsurfing bug.
Well, living practically ON the southern California beach proved to be an irresistible temptation. I purchased a nice longboard, the typical “I ain’t a seal, please don’t eat me” quarter wetsuit, and dove into the surfing and vollyball life with most of my free time.
Of course, this was back in the days when my other recreations were pen and paper role playing games, reading books and doing martial arts. Good times. Good times.
Anyway, what with there only being so many hours in the day, and being a Sergeant, I had quite a few responsibilities once the day got rolling, so I would start each day by getting up super damn early, throwing on my surfing gear and grabbing my board, and jogging the two miles to the beach to get in an hour of surfing. Then I’d head back to the barracks, and get ready and clean the room and yadda yadda yadda.
Now, I did NOT have the beach to myself. I can’t really remember the beach ever being deserted. There may have been very few folks, but there was always someone. It’s not like I was lone surfer dude. On the other hand, I never cared if there was someone there, and I certainly never gave much thought to what would happen if I encountered trouble.
Muscle cramps are things that happen to other people. I never, ever gave a thought to my own body betraying me with muscle cramps or things like that, any of which can make swimming incredibly difficult when tired, things which I now know can be fairly common and potentially deadly.
No, my only thoughts of care were reserved for potential external threats. Like sharks. I hate the deep water, because my folks oh so graciously took me to see Jaws on the big screen when it came out in theaters.
I just looked it up on www.imdb.com. The year Jaws came out was 1975. I was 6 and a quarter years old.
It had a powerful effect on me.
I was afraid to go into the swimming pool as a child after that, because I couldn’t see what might be lurking in the deep end. Yes, a land locked chlorinated swimming pool.
What do people like me do when deeply afraid of something? We overcompensate, of course. Afraid of heights cause you fell out of a tree and broke bones when you were 5? Go mountain climbing and skydiving.
Afraid of sharks as a child? Go scuba diving, spearfishing, and surfing whenever possible.
Sadly, I have never noticed the fear going away entirely. It’s still a conscious decision to beat back the fear every time. Pisses me off, especially when I know how irrational it is. But while I’m certainly fine in swimming pools now, there is still that twinge of fear in the deep ocean. Or balanced on top of a tall ladder or walking on the edge of the roof of a house. Damnitall.
So getting back to the fun, I would go out surfing early every morning, and I’d play volleyball on the weekends and surf some more. Lots of fun. I highly recommend it for everyone.
On one particular morning, I jogged onto the beach, slipped off my tasteful jogging shoes (what we call ‘go fasters’… don’t ask) with the worn out holes over the toes, strapped my board to my leg, and ran high stepping into the surf.
And every single surfer out there just read that line, and said to themselves, “Oh you stupid shit….”
I got about 5 steps into the surf, when I felt a sharp cut on the sole/side of my right foot. And it was accompanied by a tugging sensation. My first thought was I’d stepped on a nurse shark.
I stopped and lifted my foot out of the water and raised it to look… and there in the side of my foot was a nice deep triangular cut oozing blood.
So, definitely not a nurse shark, wrong wound pattern. More likely, I’d just stepped on a piece of broken glass hidden in the surf line.
So, pissed that I was now gonna have to miss my surfing, and have to jog back to the barracks to get the damn wound cleaned and bandaged, and thinking about how my best shot for running PT that day would be to double layer my socks to pad it, I trudged back on shore.
I walked on the sand, I bent over to grab my shoes, and that is when the venom hit.
As experienced surfers know, stingrays like to swim low to the bottom, disturb the sand, and then settle down flat and wait to sniff food. They are very non-aggressive, they are gentle and will almost never, ever hurt you. EXCEPT when dumbasses step on them.
If you simply shuffle your feet through the sand as you move into the surf, it scares any stingrays away.
So experienced surfers shuffle into the water. They don’t high step into it slamming their damn fool feet down to make good time and a big splash.
Now, I stepped on a stingray that was on the bottom. The tugging feeling was him jerking out from under my foot, and the sting was his stinger nailing my foot.
Now, taking a stinger to the foot is a long ways away from what happened to Steve Irwin. He got nailed right in the heart, and there are some who think that it wasn’t the venom at all that did him in, it was physical damage from the stinger that actually killed him. I liked Steve a lot from his TV shows, and no matter which it was, it was a terrible thing to have happen to him.
For myself, all I can tell you is, the stinger hurt very little. The temperature of the water just made the pain unnoticeable. It was an annoyance.
Ah, but that venom. That truly sucked.
I went into pain-wracked convulsions, I was shivering, I was contorted up and quite unable to walk. I just kind of huddled up on the beach.
At this point, some of the other surfers on the beach came running over, and I got them to go to the barracks and get my buddy and roommate Don Franklin, who had a pickup, to come get my ass and take me to the sickbay.
And let me tell you something, I was swearing at the pain the whole way to sickbay. It well and truly sucked. You want to be macho? Try sucking it up and being stoic when the venom is hitting your system. God, that hurt.
I got to sickbay, the corpsman took a look at my foot, grabbed a scalpel and dug around in there and pulled out pieces of stinger that had broken off in my foot. I didn’t even feel him digging around. Then he looked at me, and said something like “You’ll be fine, the venom will wear off in a few hours. Here, take some aspirin.”
You think Marines are hardcore? Navy corpsmen are the real hardcore bastards. And I salute you! Yes I do.
I wish I could say that there is a moral of the story. Maybe, “Always take a swim buddy.” Or, “shuffle your feet in the water, dumbass”. Or even, “We need a bigger boat.”
All I know is, damn that hurt. But it made a neat scar, and gave me a fun story I get to share with you!
Have a great day, folks.