There is a place where everyone at the Lake of the Ozarks goes to party. It is simply called ‘Party Cove’. It is a place of ill repute, where drinking is in excess, clothes are minimal and pretty much any form of debauchery goes. It goes without saying, that our ‘Party Cove’ days are essentially behind us. While vacationing at the Lake, we choose to frequent more a family friendly environment. It is simply called ‘Family Cove’.
Our friends, Bobby and Leslie, have a house on the Lake of the Ozarks. We have been fortunate that they frequently extend an invitation to our family to share in the summer fun at the lake. We ride jet skis, paddle boat, swim, fish, and just soak up the sun. On one of our summer trips to the lake, we all piled into the boat and headed for an afternoon of relaxing in Family Cove.
Upon arriving at the cove, Bobby and Leslie recognized several other boaters. As is customary, the lines were tossed and the boats tethered together so make one huge floating vessel. There were several people in the cove whom I also knew, but most I did not. Boating folks are a very friendly bunch and it was quickly apparent that we were all welcome to join in the fun. There were several people already bobbing in the water on floatation devices, sunglasses on, and beers in hand. The kids were jumping from the decks of boats into the water, the life jackets bringing them quickly to the surface. Good, clean, fun in the sun; until it got ugly.
We had only been there just a few minutes and we had just tied up to the other boats. Most of our crew had already gotten into the water and were making their way to the others gathered in the front of boats. I, being extremely self-conscious of my swimsuit body, had hung back, waiting for an opportunity to slide into the water without being seen. I should probably point out that my hesitation and my body image issues had no doubt got the attention of that bitch, Karma. Based on the series of events about to unfold, I would have been better off doing a cannon ball off the bow of the boat into the unsuspecting crowd of lake people.
I had decided the coast was clear to enter the water and I headed for the back of the boat. Bobby and another guy I didn’t know were the only two people I could see and I decided to slip down the ladder and into the lake. My plan went off without a hitch…EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT IT TURNED INTO A FAMILY COVE SIDE SHOW!! My plan was to step onto the ladder facing out and sit on the first wrung and slide into the water. As I launched my entry, my swimsuit bottoms got hooked onto the ladder. I must have started to panic, because my feet slipped out from under me and I could hear and feel my swim suit rip. I wiggled and squirmed and I could not get myself free.
There I was–just hanging there. I was suspended from the ladder, face down and bare ass up, hanging by what remained of my bikini bottoms. Bobby was the first to be alerted to my unfortunate situation and he swam over and asked, “Karri, what are you doing?” (like I was purposefully hanging there with my ass in the air). He was trying not to laugh, but I can only imagine what he was witnessing. It was funny.
“I’m stuck,” I told him, still just hanging there on the ladder with absolutely every shred of dignity dripping into the great expanse of the lake. Being a good sport (and probably eager to get this half-naked freak flag off his boat) , Bobby and his friend came to my rescue and they managed to hoist me up enough to untangle me from my snare and I slipped into the water.
My swim suit bottoms were in shreds and I had to tie the pieces together in the crotch and spent the entire afternoon in the water for fear of additional exposure. It was all so completely ridiculous and humiliating that there was nothing I could do but just laugh, because it was also hilarious. I was teased relentlessly: “She was only at Family Cove for five minutes and was showing her ass” and “Hey, Karri, if you were going to swing off the back of the boat without your bottoms on, you should have gone to Party Cove”.
Just like the girl with the little bitty teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini, I eventually had to come out of the water. I put my legs through the arm holes of a life jacket, and Kevin lifted me up into the boat, where I was able to find adequate cover. I think I was fortunate that not very many people actually witnessed my full moon over Family Cove (that is what I tell myself anyway).
It’s hard to take myself too seriously after being suspended from the back of a boat with my rear end bared to the world. Body image is something I have struggled with my whole life and I know there have been many times I have let my hangups hinder me from enjoying life to its fullest. I am a product of the airbrushed generation and it has been difficult for me to accept the many imperfections that are me–physically and otherwise. The older I get, the more ripples, bulges, sags and bags there are to contend with each and every day. But the older I get, the more I realize that I only get this one life to live. I can either hide in the boat and miss out on making memories or I can hang over the water by my drawers and laugh ’til it hurts. One life–one chance–there is no time to spend hiding in the boat. Life is meant to be lived (but with my bottoms ON).