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WRITE TEAM: A little laugh at my expense

When I asked my mother what she thought I should write this week, in all of her infinite wisdom, she told me to “write something funny.” So I thought that during this dreary February, everyone could use a little taste of the worst summer of my life. This is the water skiing story.

Every summer my family goes up to a cabin in Wisconsin to stay for a week. And that summer, we had jet skis. So we get the skis out and my mom’s going to be the first one out on the water.

My mother used to be one of those people who does pyramid skiing, where one person climbs on top of another person while they’re going 30 mph, on what is the equivalent of concrete at that speed. And I didn’t believe her when she told me. Surely I would know if my mother had this secret skiing skill.

Boy was I wrong.

She got up on those skis, went once around the lake, and then kicked off one of her skis. She went all the way around the lake on one ski, like some kind of ski wizard. My jaw was on the floor, and I was thinking, “My mom is the coolest mom in the world.”

Now after that, my sister went around the lake on skis. She was about 8 years old, and I’m thinking, “If she can do it, I can totally do it.” So I got strapped in and was pulled to my feet by the jet ski.

I made it about half a mile from the shore when I fell. My legs split apart like somebody breaking chopsticks at a Chinese buffet. And water went up my swimsuit, and up another place as well.

Do you know what an enema is? Because I didn’t.

I breached the water just as something else was breaching, and I am immediately in hysterics. I’m crying, screaming, because I have no idea what's going on or what crimes I committed to deserve such a punishment. My mom pulls back around on the jet ski, sees that I’m crying, and is immediately in mom-mode.

“What’s wrong?” she asks, voice full of concern.

I shouted that I was going. And couldn't stop.

And it was like a switch went off in my mom, and a sign declared “Mom-mode deactivated, feel free to laugh at your child’s pain.” Because she immediately started dying from laughter. She’s a nurse, she knows what's happened. She knows there’s nothing she can do but wait for it to be over.

But I don’t know that, and I’m in pain, so now I’m crying at both how much it hurts and at the fact my mother has lost her mind if she thinks this is funny. She tells me to grab onto the rope, and she starts tugging me towards shore.

As she pulled me back, I wiped my eyes, praying that nobody else would find out what happened. I’d finally stopped crying when we got close to shore and my mom announced what had happened.

And my family has never let me live it down. But it will all be worth it, if it made you laugh even a bit on this cold February day.

HOPE RUTGENS is an Illinois State University graduate who enjoys spending time with her family in Cedar Point. She can be reached at

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