My First Broken Bone

A story about showing off

In the 80s we rode Jet Skis. That was before everyone got lazy and decided they’d rather ride sitting down and bought Wave Runners instead. But before then, we stood up. It took practice just to be able to ride without falling down. I actually got pretty good on the thing. I could ride it standing backwards, straddling the hood, and even standing on my head. Really, I could. The only thing I couldn’t do was “sub” it. Subbing was where you’d jump the Jet Ski as high as you could out of the water, then bring it down nose-first. If you were going fast enough and did it right the entire Ski, along with the rider, would submerge entirely under water for a second or two, then pop up like a cork and keep going. Coolest move ever, and the only one I just couldn’t do well. I waited my turn on the Ski, and when Terry finally gave hers up, I jumped on, determined to sub the thing. On my second attempt, I went in nose-first, just like you’re supposed to. The problem was that Terry had been wearing tanning oil, making the deck slippery. When I hit the water, the sudden deceleration caused my foot to slip forward into the front of the Ski. I heard the bone break before I felt it, but not much before. It was one of the meta tarpals or carpals or whatever they’re called. It hurt like hell. I couldn’t ride back to shore, so I waved down one of the nearby boats and they hauled my sorry ass back in. My foot had swollen to about twice its normal size.

That was the end of the Jet Skiing for that summer. I never did learn to sub one.