Cliff-diving, t-minus 2 hours.

An old quarry was turned into the Deliverance version of a public pool.

The rope swing was a rotten log with a tattered, green rope at the end of it and probably a few old bodies on the bottom of the quarry.

If you could reach, toes off the rocks, you might be able to reach the rope.

For only $12 per person. Somewhere Jimbo was making snow angels in 100’s.

My buddy and I were there, and this girl invited herself along when she found out we were going, and she decided to bring a friend.

He was weird, but not dangerous weird.

Just enough where you didn’t want to have to be the only one talking to him. Like he was a comedian who was trying to be ‘on’.

Everything he said had to be hilarious.

Typical schlub uniform: vintage Walmart t-shirt, black basketball shorts, talking about how cool his swimsuit was and how many compliments he usually gets.

We just ignored it, and his static kept going for a few minutes while we looked at things in the distance.

The line to the diving platform we were near just cleared so, Friend, Girl-tag-a-long, Weirdo and I start walking towards it, and then Weirdo drops his basketball shorts and he’s wearing a pink, plaid speedo (with a tiny belt built in).

Let that marinate:

  •  Pink
  • Plaid (white and red, all valentine’d up)
  • Speedo
  • With a tiny belt. Because otherwise it’d fall off. And then you’d look silly.

Have you ever used a racial slur in a job interview? I haven’t, but that was the instant reaction we all had. If he told us he was getting an internship at ISIS, I would have been less startled.

We all jumped, got out and I separated from the rest of the group to take pictures from the other side of the quarry.

That’s when it hit me.

I was him.

Not now, not here, but I have been him before.

How palpably you could hear him crying out to be noticed.

Like a kid, crying in a supermarket aisle, just looking for attention.

Alone, on the opposite side of the quarry, the terrible, terrible, terrible embarrassment of all of the stupid things I’d done for attention in the past.

I wasn’t embarrassed of the disco we threw in our high school’s library, but oh god there were some terrible ones. All the stupid things I said trying to be cool.

Mouth to the fire hose, they came pouring out, one after another.

It’s funny how the worst moments are right there, ready and waiting to punch you in the head on a Saturday afternoon.

“Feeling down? Have you tried reliving your bad experiences over and over?”

Like the 14 year old girl who dyes her hair pink to ‘stand out’, instead of actually becoming different.

It’s so hard to put in the effort to make yourself interesting by having substantial opinions, actual passions, being honest about fears and being vulnerable.

It’s so much easier to just play fantasy football or wear a pink, plaid speedo.

I think that’s one of the fundamental parts of a fulfilled life: actually and honestly putting yourself in a place where people can look down on you.

Where you have an opinion that could potentially be uncool.

That’s the problem with not living genuinely.

It’s impossible to pretend: the constant fear of saying the weird thing is always on your face, and people notice it.

Until next time,