The Mecca (all photos in this piece can be found at 

(Warning: This is another long post by E Dagger. Just wanted to get that out there before we start.) 

Wake up. 7:30 in the morning. What the hell am I doing up this early? Water World doesn’t open until 10:00 and it only takes about 20 minutes to get there. Oh right, I live with Lady E and she’s got an actual job to go to this morning. She looks pissed. Eh, pissed is probably too strong. Maybe annoyed. Possibly not entirely awake. But definitely at least mildly perturbed. And why shouldn’t she be? She’s got a long day of phone calls and meeting people and I’m spending the day at the greatest water park on earth.

I suppose I could have planned things better. I could have coordinated with someone to take the same day off so I could have a buddy to go to Water World with, but it’s too late now. Besides, I’m an only child. I’ve done lots of stuff by myself. Of course, that never stops my mom from thinking I’m weird for continually doing this like this. I told her I was going to Water World by myself this Monday and she gave me that look that your dog does when you fart in front of it – like, wait… What? What just happened?

She couldn’t get her mind around the idea that someone would go to an amusement park by themselves, but then she remembered who she was dealing with and if she couldn’t relate to it, she knew me well enough to know that I’d be fine.

Lady E is dragging this morning, and I think the fact that I just put my bathing suit on in front of her isn’t helping her state of mind. Would you be excited to go to work if your significant other kept asking you idiot questions like, “Do you have any sunscreen, and if so, can I borrow it?” and “Do you think I can rent a tube with a credit card, or should I get cash?” Mind you, I’m not doing this to rub it in her face or anything; I’m just that stupid.

To her credit, she doesn’t seem mad. She enthusiastically wishes me a great day and trudges off to work. Not a hint of malice in her voice, she’s excited for me. I love her.

Time to get rolling. I pack my bag, slip on the Reefs, and head over to the Albertson’s (Alberto-son’s, given this neighborhood) for some breakfast and sunscreen, since Lady E didn’t have any. It’s possible that was her one miniature act of sticking it to me for having a day off while she’s slaving away at the salt mine and there’s sunscreen hiding somewhere in this house, but I doubt it. That ain’t her speed. I arrived at Alberto-son’s and concurrently arrived at my first insight of the day.

Important Water World Insight: Showing up at a grocery store at 9:30 on a Monday morning by yourself wearing a swimsuit, an old school Karl Malone jersey, your sandals, and keys on a lanyard around your neck will elicit strange looks from the local Hispanic mothers and halfwits working the self checkout stand. The lesson? Having a day off is grand. Have fun in at work, suckers!

As I hopped in the car and jammed out to Less Than Jake, Catch 22, and a whole orchestra brass section worth of upbeat ska music, my excitement raised like a fever. I was bombing down the highway with the windows open, cigarette between my lips, fresh bottle of water in the cup holder, king of all creation. Signs along the road paved my way to the promised land.

Water World: Next Exit.

Water World: Turn Left

Water World: ½ Mile Ahead

As I made the turn from 84th Avenue onto Pecos, it rose like a beautiful sunrise over the horizon. There it was: Christmas morning all over again. I actually started going “Hee hee hee hee hee!” like a crazy man as I made the turn into their massive parking lot.

As I parked the car, I had to fight the urge to run up the steps to the ticket window like I used to – I was already a grown man going to a water park by himself on a weekday, I don’t need to draw any more attention to myself – and managed to walk instead. I pressed through the turnstile and quickly found a locker where I clumsily shoved in my bag, my jersey, and my sandals. Thankfully I remembered to coat myself with some expensive ass SPF 50 spray on lotion and nearly choked to death on the aerosol while simultaneously feeling like I undid my lasik surgery from all the chemicals I just sprayed in my eyes.

Fuck it! This is Water World! Man up!

Two quarters plunged into the slot, I pulled the key out and was delighted to discover they did away with the ill-conceived safety pin method of attaching to your bathing suit (You know what a safety pin becomes when it’s unhooked? A pointy pin. And you’ve got it fastened near your most treasured pieces of anatomy. Good thinking!) in favor of a bungee style wristband. I’m happy to report that despite going nearly 40 miles per hour on some of the slides, the wrist band never even came close to slipping off.

Everything was finally out of the way. No more driving, no more picking up sunscreen, no more fumbling with a locker. All of that was prelude to this. I was finally back at Water World after 8 excruciating years. To modify a line from Mike McDermott, “Let’s ride some fuckin’ waterslides.”

1st Stop: Bermuda Triangle

Middle slide, bitch!

When I was 7 my dad essentially forced me to go down this slide. The middle one. It was by far and away the scariest thing I had done up to that point. We’re standing three stories in the air, he tells me I can just go down the side ones, and when our turn in line comes up, he pulls the old switcheroo on me and tells me I’m next. I nearly piss myself in fright, but he says something to me that eventually convinces me to just go for it. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was – I think because I was too busy trying to figure a way off the top of that damn platform besides sliding down that terrifying tube of plastic – but all I know is that it somehow made me relax, I eased down the chute, shot out the end, and immediately wanted to go again.

From that point on, this has always been my sentimental favorite. It’s a sheer and quick drop, you blast out the bottom of the tube like someone fired you out of a potato gun and skip on top of the water, and the stairs to the top are surprisingly easy. Back in the day this was easily the most popular ride in the park. Now because bigger, faster, and more technologically advanced slides have come along, there’s almost never a line. I still make sure to hit it first because I remember just how long that wait used to be, and it’s the ride I always think of first when I think about Water World. It’s where my dad helped me conquer a fear. It’s the first place I ever felt like I was going the fastest.

It’s also the place where I heard a big, tattooed, bearded, biker guy scream like a little girl when he went over the lip into that sheer dropoff. God, I’ll never forget that.

Stop #2: Screamin’ Mimi

Please don’t bump heads…

This is my other early morning stop. Screamin’ Mimi always has a line once it gets to be past 11:00. Hell, I got there no later than 10:20 and had to wait at the top behind 8 little kids. One of them was wearing goggles which I found positively adorable considering the chance for water in the eyes on this ride was approximately nil. As I pushed my sled to the top, I had my first awkward encounter of the day. It began to rain and I feared for the future of my day. One of the park attendants complained about it raining and I told her that I took the day off work just to come here – that it can rain all it goddamn well wants, but it better not thunder or lightning because I probably won’t get another day this summer to take off just for Water World. I suspect you think she gave me a weird look at this admission, but in reality she thought it was awesome. She loved the fact that I would actually take off work just to come to Water World, and gave me a hearty thumbs up. Problem is, she had to do it from the grass because I still can’t steer the fucking Screamin’ Mimi sled worth a damn and kept running her off the path. It’s impossible not to look like an idiot while pushing that sled uphill.

Important Water World Insight: No matter who you are or how old you are, you will never, ever be able to steer the Screamin’ Mimi sled properly uphill to the launch. You’ll be zigzagging all over the place like Carmelo Anthony on I-25 in the wee hours of the morning. The sled is impossible.

Anyway, once at the top I helped the goofy goggle kid load his sled into the track, and then plopped mine down in there next. The teenager working the lever looked positively thrilled that some dork in his 20s was on his ride and asked me if I was ready. Do I look like I’m not ready? Just pull the handle, shave that embarrassing peach fuzz off your face, and let’s fucking do this!


You go at least three times further as a grown up with your added weight which seems unfair because all the little kids have to clumsily haul their sled through the water to hand to the next person in line. Now, when you’re done, the added distance means you stand up, military press your sled out of the water like you’re the Incredible Hulk, and hand it to whoever is standing there. It’s fantastic.

Important Water World Insight: Don’t ride the Screamin’ Mimi with Gutter. Good lord.

Stop #3: Speed Slides: Flatline, Redline, and Pipeline

I’ll always love you, Braaaaaaaack!

In the time it took me from handing my little sled to the next person in line at the Screamin’ Mimi to when I stood atop the eight-story tower where the Speed Slides begin, it was raining fairly intensely. Undeterred, I took the steps two at a time and climbed tenaciously to the tower’s summit stoked for the awesome thrill that awaited me. Naturally, I tackled Flat Line (pictured above) first since it had the biggest drop, the fastest acceleration, and largest jolt of adrenaline. As I pushed over the edge, I couldn’t help by smile as my body raced down the sharp decline propelling me 40 mph. Perhaps more appropriately, I tried to smile, but the water spray pelting in me in the face caused me to look more Edward Scissorhands when he punctures Winona Ryder’s waterbed and takes a steady stream right in the grill.

Since there was no line, and the fear that the park would close early due to lightning lingered in the back of my head, I decided to make the trek again and hit one of the other slides. I once again made the eight story hike and this time made small talk with the gal at the top. I didn’t recognize one of the slides in my field of vision, so I asked her very politely, “What the hell is that huge blue and yellow monstrosity right there?”

“Oh, that’s ‘The Revolution,’ (no picture available)” she informed me. “It’s like one of the toilet bowl rides, but you’re on a tube with three other people.”

“I see. Since I’m here by myself, I probably won’t be able to hit that one,” I responded.

“Well, you can usually find a group to go with since people often don’t have a full raft. All you have to do is ask.”

“Yeah, I’m 26 years old and here by myself. I don’t think I need any more help in weirding people out.”

“Good point,” she said. “You’re free to go whenever you want, by the way.”

Definitely. I think she had enough me, and besides, I was more interested in another ride that caught my eye. So I shot down the slide again (this time Red Line), hopped out all jacked up on the quick mainline of adrenaline and walked over to what might be the greatest evolution at Water World since being able to rent your own tubes.

Stop #4: Turbo Racer

12.09 seconds. Beat that hotshot!

You could spend an entire afternoon with seven of your buddies racing down this thing without getting bored. It’s basically a carpet slide you’d find in every shitty town in America, but with modern technology and lots and lots of water. You pick up one of the modified carpets at the bottom, haul it uphill, pick a lane, and race for your life! There’s an added level of gravitas to the proceedings because the lifeguard informs you at the top to go on the fourth beep, don’t jump early or you’ll be disqualified, and to keep your elbows on the mat at all times. The instructions sound pedestrian in the abstract, but when you’re standing there ready to dive down the tube, you feel like what you’re doing is actually important. I also feel like if you were there with one friend, one of you would have to say before each race, “I feel the need – the need for speed!”

As I trudged uphill (Quick aside: Given how much crap you have to carry uphill between tubes, these modified carpets, rafts, and the Screamin’ Mimi sled, Water World should give you the option of renting a fucking pack mule for the day. And with the rain, I felt like Forrest Gump walking through the Vietnam countryside looking for some guy named Charlie. You forget just how much work is involved with experiencing Water World), a small little boy, maybe 9 years-old, said to me (or to no one in particular), “This ride is so much fun!”

I looked around, found no one else within earshot, and responded: “Oh yeah? So, tell me little man, what’s the secret to going fast here?”

“Well, you gotta keep your elbows on the mat. And if you lift up the handles a little bit, you’ll go faster.”

“Thanks, dude. Do you usually win?”

“No, I usually come in last. But that’s because I’m small and the heavier you are, the faster you’ll go.”

“I guess I should do pretty well then, eh?”

(Looking at my less-than-perfect stomach) “Yeah.”

And hoo boy, that kid was right! Not only was this the most fun ride in the park (and possibly in all of existence), my fat ass hauled down this track like a runaway boulder barreling downhill. I positively slayed the little kids I was racing for an impressive time of 12.15 seconds. I figured that was pretty damn fast, but had no idea how fast until I watched other people’s times and only saw one guy come in under that. And he didn’t beat it by much. He clocked in at 12.13, but that was more than enough motivation to get up there and do my damnedest to best my already excellent time.

My second run saw me in second place coming out of the tube because the wretched little shit in Lane 1 left early, but as we cascaded down the final hills, I launched past him giving out a tad-too-excited maniacal laugh. “Ahhhhhhhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha!” I screamed as I left him in my wake and checked my decent time of 12.30.

Third run I got a great launch, lifted up the front of the carpet, and crashed to the end with a bad ass time of 12.09. Best run of the day.

My final run saw me matched with people my own size, a challenge I looked forward to immensely. They were even getting their stances set precisely which damn near made me squeal with delight because I knew the race was on. The fourth beep sounded, and we all leapt into the tube like the winner got a blowjob from Eliza Dushku at the finish line. I sped through the dark, and when I emerged into the light, I had left those chumps gasping for breath.

I am the champion of this ride!

Important Water World Insight: The gauntlet has been thrown down, faithful readers. 12.09 seconds. Best it if you can. If you beat it, I’ll call you a fucking liar and demand we hold an immediate best of 7 championship race this weekend. If you don’t beat it, well, let’s just go to Water World and race anyway. I’ll bring the Dr. K.

Stop #5: Prank Tank

Try not to wretch afterward

One of the toilet bowl rides. I’ll just say that I’m upset at how lame everyone is at this when you watch them from above. People get about two times around, sit up, and meekly drop out the bottom. Weak. Get on your heels. Get on your shoulder blades. See how many times you can make it around before dropping into that tiny pool of water at the bottom. That’s what I do. My record is eight.

This time I wanted to do more. So I tucked myself into a little ball to see if I could spin in tight rotations while circling the bowl like that guy in the commercial. It’s surprisingly easy as you just bring your knees up, lean toward the bottom of the bowl, and start spinning. The only problem is you don’t stop once you start. So you splash down, wearily climb out of the pool, and try not to throw up as you lean on a post. Good times!

I also went in the Space Bowl which is essentially the exact same experience, except in the dark. The only notable thing from that experience was me asking the lifeguard if she liked working here, and her responding, “Um, yeah,” and then giving me a look like, “Oh God, you’re not going to ask me to come to your van, are you?”

To answer one of the teaser questions from “Prelude to Water World:” No, you cannot make small talk with the lifeguards without seeming like a lecherous old creep.

Stop #6: Thunder Bay

Go faster than the wave like in Deep Impact

If you’ve ever as a little kid gotten sucked under this wave for a little too long, you understand that I still approach this ride a little apprehensively. When I was kid my biggest fear was drowning. So when I was 7 and got trapped underneath a couple of tubes, it’s not hard to figure out why I developed angst about this ride. It didn’t help matters that “I knew a guy whose brother worked at Water World, and he told me one time they found a dead body at the bottom of Thunder Bay” was the most popular urban legend about Water World when I was growing up.

Those feelings of dread, fears of drowning, and adolescent anxiety all momentarily come flooding back when I step into this pool. They usually evaporate just as quickly as they come, but that moment always gets me.

Anyway, since I didn’t have a  tube I only stayed one wave. I swam out to about the middle, treaded water waiting for the wave, then swam like hell and managed to stay at the top for a couple seconds before sliding down the backside. I didn’t die. It was good enough for me. Time to move on.

Stop #7: Thrill Hill

“Mine fell the hardest.”

I used to spend hours in the section of the park riding these four slides. Jet Stream is an enclosed tube that goes tosses you about in such a way that when you hit the water, you’re always surprised. It’s dark. It’s twisty. It’s turny. And it’s pretty damn fast. White Lightning is the older brother to the Speed Slides and only disappoints in that there’s no Black Hammer slide next to it.

White Lightning Featuring Jesse Ventura provides the best unintentional comedy in the park. If you do like you’re supposed to do, keep your legs crossed and arch your back for more speed, you’ll absolutely fly down this bitch. In the slide on the right I caught a little air over the last two humps which earned me kudos from the parents at the bottom. When I got a little too excited about it, I’m pretty sure they thought I was mentally challenged because I was all out of breath and telling them how I did it. Two more sentences from me and I think they would have returned me to the front gate and asked to page my legal guardian.

But little kids haven’t learned the tricks of the trade yet. They always sit up and spread their legs which causes them to stop on the flat parts and turn around panic-stricken that someone like me will be barreling down after them and crash. The guard can do nothing but give them an exasperated shooing motion to propel them down the slide. This also happens to people wearing t-shirts, a phenomenon I will never understand. Which reminds me…

Important Water World Insight: Don’t ever wear a white t-shirt to a water park. Fat people do this to cover themselves up, but instead of distracting people from their obesity, they only draw more attention to it. The white t-shirt reminds people you’re fat. If you’re fat, who cares? Wear it proudly and take off your shirt. Water World judges no one! Plus, you’ll go faster on the slides and enjoy yourself more. No one wins with the white t-shirt.

The other best part of Black Hammer / White Lightning is watching everyone at the bottom. No matter who you are, when you stand up after this ride you’ll be prying your swimsuit out of your ass. Watching someone pick a non-disgusting wedgie out of their crack is the highest of high comedy. In fact, now that I think about it, I suspect that’s what the two parents at the bottom were doing. I never saw them with any kids, and they just stood there. On my second trip down rather than inflaming their perception of me as a retard, I tried to be cool. I got off and tipped my hat to them (even though I wasn’t wearing one) and said, “Good day.” I think it had the opposite of my desired effect. Eh… fuck it. That guy’s mustache was crooked anyway.

Stop #8: Captain Jack’s Wave Pool

Where was this photo taken from?

I don’t remember this being called “Captain Jack’s” when I was a kid, but I could be wrong. This could be a tie in to the Johnny Depp character… honestly, I don’t care. This is a good wave pool. It’s better if you have a tube, but still fun without. I just wanted to hang out in the water for a while, so I went to the deep end and swam through the waves from side to side. I was running out of gas from climbing all the stairs and laboring up the giant hills, so floating around in the water was just what I needed to unwind. Besides, it had to be getting closed to lunch time, right?

As I walked toward the concession stands, I tried to locate a clock. The revolving digital clock had too many bulbs out to be able to tell what time it said, and I didn’t see another one anywhere. So I approached the acne-faced kid at the taco hut and asked him if he had a watch. He responded by telling me there was a clock right over there (which is where the scrambled digital clock was), and I said, “Yeah, but all it says is gibberish.”

He gave me a puzzled look, and said, “No man, right there,” pointing in the same direction again.

I said, ” Can you read that? I sure as hell can’t.”

And he says, “Yeah, it says 11:26.”

So I looked again, and sure enough, there was an analog clock several feet below the scrambled one. Before I could turn around and explain my mistake to him, he was gone no doubt to tell his friends what a moron I am. So, for those of you scoring at home:

Instances E Dagger Mistaken for Pedophile: 1
Instances E Dagger Mistaken for Retard: 2


Stop #9: Pier 1 Pizza

Pizza not as shitty as you remember

Pier 1 Pizza used to serve the shittiest pizza known to humankind – cheese made from some sort of chemical not originating from cows. Sauce that tasted like it was made in Lebanon as opposed to any country with Italian people, and crust that possibly contained sawdust making it the chewiest “bread product” I’ve ever tasted.

Yet Dzayson and I would purchase this every time we went to Water World without fail. Why? It was better than risking your health on one of their burgers, and the taco hut always smelled like someone was getting a perm in it. God… no wonder picnics are welcome.

Anyway, they’ve upgraded the operation to where you can now get a personal-sized Freschetta pizza that doesn’t taste half bad. Since I forgot the Dr. K, I drank my first regular Dr. Pepper in about 5 years and nearly went through the roof forgetting how sugary it is. Yowza!

Things were good. Since there were no lines anywhere on account of the overcast sky, I had hit nearly everything and it was only noon. The only hitch in my plan came when I forgot that I needed cash for the tube rental and spent my last $10 on the pizza and soda. Maybe I am retarded.

No matter, there’s no one around, so I shouldn’t have any problems getting myself a tube, and now I’m free to ride anything I want without having to store the tube. Maybe not retarded – maybe circuitously brilliant. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

Stop #10: River Country

It still hurts when I breathe in.

This set of slides always feels like way more work than it probably is. I think it has to do with walking uphill as opposed to up stairs. Hills always just feel longer for some reason. And when you have to walk uphill while awkwardly carrying a tube, well, it feels even longer. I used to love these slides when I was younger, but now I find myself bored with them. They don’t go all that fast, there’s the aforementioned carrying of the tube, and unless you’re riding real cockeyed, chances are excellent you’re not going to get wet.

But rules is rules, and I was determined to hit every slide in the park. So I carted my tube up to the top and dutifully slid down each one. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun gently gliding around the turns, but at no point did my heart jump into my throat, nor did I feel the bottom fall out of my colon. It was just… pleasant.

That is, until I was on my last of four slides. I think it was the Purgatoire River, but I can’t remember. I hopped on my tube, pushed off from the queer little wading pool at the top of the ride and began my merry descent downward. For whatever reason I was taking the turns really violently and on a particularly large banked left turn my legs whipped over my head and I flipped off the tube landing on my head. Meanwhile my legs didn’t get the memo that I don’t bend so well and proceeded way past my head like I was trying to suck my own dick. I wasn’t… and I’ll certainly know not to try that after the amount of pain that resulted in my chest cavity afterward.

I was groggy as hell and trying to clear out the cobwebs because I knew some obnoxious kid wearing Crocs would come busting down the slide shortly to kick me in the head if I didn’t move my ass. So I climbed back on the tube and painfully rode the rest of the way down.

As I got out of the splashdown pool, I knew something was seriously wrong because it hurt every time I took a breath and my right side didn’t feel right. I figured it was probably as good a time as any to float around in the Lazy River, so that’s where I headed.

Stop #11: Lazy River

Stop touching my feet, you little bastard!

I always think I’m going to have more fun on the Lazy River than I inevitably do, but I go anyway. When I was 12 I got into it with some obnoxious kids whom I told “Why don’t you go jack off with a Cheerio?” a dig they didn’t understand. They responded by telling me to have sex with a broom handle, which I didn’t understand.

Every other time, it seems like there’s always a chain of giggling girls connecting tubes that throws off the entire flow of the ride rendering your relaxation futile.

The second was true on this particular trip. Plus, my ribs/lungs really fucking hurt, so I couldn’t even sit in the tube properly. Two laps – I was done. I’m usually only good for about three, so it’s not like this was a total loss.

Stop #12: The Wave

This used to be sponsored by Ocean Spray. Anyone remember that? No?

I’ve always hated this ride on principal alone. The kids who do this a lot and are good at it are just so smug, I want to go in there and kick their boards out from under them. And really, if you’re that into boogey boarding, just move to a state with an actual ocean and quit slowing down the line so the rest of us can look ridiculous quickly.

Since one of my goals was to do every ride, I knew I owed it to myself to at least give this one a try. One of the smug kids I just mentioned was in line next to me with his own board. Asking him for advice might help me do better than 95% of the people on their first tries, so I solicited his help.

And I’m sorry I did. He asked me if it was my first time. I answered in the affirmative. He said that I wouldn’t do well then, but proceeded to give me advice anyway. The reason I regret asking is because I could have saved myself 3 minutes of esoteric shoptalk and instead focused on laughing at the cheesy dad falling all over himself trying to kneel on the thing. That would have been much better.

Needless to say, when my turn came, I ate shit within 10 seconds and proceeded to give myself gnarly burns on my knees from dragging them on the plastic. With enough practice I could be good at this, but until then, I’ll just stand by silently hating everyone who’s good at it.

Stop #13: Calypso Cove

Home of the Giant Spurtin’ Cock

Technically this is a kids’ area, but I like it because you get tons and tons of water dumped on you and it feels neat. Dzayson and I always used to do our little part of corrupting the innocence of the place by manning one of the pumps that that shot water into the air like ejaculate. We charmingly called this the “Giant Spurtin’ Cock.” I made sure to give it a couple pumps as I walked by for old time’s sake.

I then came upon a series of waterways with various types of grates for the water to pass through creating different kinds of flows. I immediately likened this to how petroleum gets from the ground to your gas pump and the various impediments that that faced. I was nerding it up playing out “Well, what if a company gets hit with a NEPA lawsuit?” or “What if there’s a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico?” or “What if the franchise owners suddenly revolt and drop the price of gas?” If someone had come up to me and asked what I was doing, I think I would have honestly answered, “Solving the world’s energy problems.”

Unfortunately, a bunch of kids showed up and ruined the entire game forcing me to leave. I think I could have figured things out with five more minutes, but alas, the world will never know.

At this point I came to a crossroads. I wanted to continue riding, but all that was left was family rides, another tube ride, or ones I’d already hit. I decided to do a couple more turns on Bermuda Triangle and finish the day with Tortuga Run - a tube ride so incredibly boring and oddly frustrating, it doesn’t even warrant its own paragraph.

Unfortunately my feet were pulling a Roberto Duran on me and crying “No mas! No mas!” I had to call it a day. And if it weren’t for my feet, the fact that it hurt every time I inhaled would have done me in anyway.

So I bid Water World adieu at 2:30 and headed home. The sun was finally starting to come out which I found unusually poetic. Considering shitty weather prevented my first trip to Water World, I found it interesting that shitty weather made my most recent trip even better.

As I sit here typing this two days later, my feet still have deep gouges in them from walking barefoot along the concrete all day and hurt like a bastard. I’m walking like an eighty year-old man, and everyone looks at me funny. It still aches every time I breathe in, and going from a prone position to sitting up is just about the worst pain ever. God help me if I sneeze again! I thought I stabbed my lung with a lawn dart when I sneezed that night. And finally, I estimate that I walked the equivalent of at least 100 flights of stairs while at Water World. I had forgotten what a fucking workout traipsing among all the waterslides was. My legs have a nice burn in them from the unintended benefit of all the exercise. In fact, I’m thinking of buying a season pass and making this my weekend workout program. Who’s with me?

I missed Water World more than I knew during my 8 year layoff. It wasn’t until I went back that I realized how special this place is to me. My favorite part was that apart from some minor cosmetic changes, Water World was exactly how I remembered it. Sure, there are more rides, but things are where they always have been and remain completely as they were. Thrill Hill is exactly the same as I remember. Bermuda Triangle is less popular, but still gives me a rush of excitement every time I climb those wooden stairs and catch a view of the downtown skyline from the top of the tower.

A trip to Water World is not only a trip to my past, but a trip to the present. When we get so caught up in our future plans – we have bills to pay, we have to save money, where am I going to be career-wise in five years – we sometimes forget to enjoy the present. When I was jamming down those waterslides, I was only thinking of one thing: Just how much ridiculous fun I was having. I didn’t worry about anything else.

And that’s like Christmas all over again.

Until next time…