Oh well…so much for fun in the sun
Leada Gore, Editor
It was an offhanded comment, really nothing more than an add-on to the conversation I was having with my mother.
"Oh, don't worry if you call and we're not here this weekend," I said. "We have that meeting at the beach I have to go to every year."
"The beach!," she exclaimed. "Please be careful. Just promise me you won't get electrocuted."
She then proceeded to tell me a tragic story about a man and his young stepson who were electrocuted as they stood at the water's edge.
"I don't know where it was, but they both died. It was terrible. Just promise me if it starts lightning you will go inside," she said.
"And you really shouldn't be in any water deeper than your knees because of the sharks," she said. "I just read about some other shark attack. I don't know where it happened but the person was lucky not to have died," she said.
"I never get in the ocean past my ankles, much less my knees," I said. "I don't like fish swimming up next to me. So, unless the shark is going to walk up on the beach and get me on my towel, I think I'm pretty safe from sharks. I really just hang out by the pool."
That got her started on another topic.
"Well, I hope you wear sunscreen. We're seeing more and more cases of skin cancer now," my mother, an oncology nurse for more than 25 years, said. "You really cannot put on enough sunscreen and make sure Greg uses it, too. Actually, I would just go inside during the hottest part of the day. You can't be too careful."
The safety lessons continued. I was warned about jellyfish (avoid the water); sand crabs and sand fleas (I could be allergic to both); and floating out too far in a raft and drowning or ending up in Cuba (this one has some basis in fact, as I floated out too far as a child and had to be rescued by my father).
"And make sure to be careful about what you eat down there," she said. "You can get really sick from bad seafood. I've heard people have even died from eating spoiled shrimp."
I began to wrap up the conversation, realizing that this quick trip was actually fraught with peril.
"Don't worry, Mom," I said. "I'm actually going to be working most of the time. This isn't a vacation. I'm bring my laptop and everything so I can get some work done while I'm at the beach."
"A laptop!," she said. "You really should be careful using those computer keyboards. There are so many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome now."
"Bye, Mom," I said. "I will call you when we get back Sunday."
"OK," she said. "Have fun."
Somehow, I don't think that will be possible.