Ah, family outings.
When I was growing up, our family outings were modest. We weren’t going off to Disneyland or anything, but we had fun times. (Remember when I barked at those dogs? Good stuff.)
This particular trip was to a place called Half Moon Lake. I was probably seven or eight years old, maybe younger.
Here’s a photo I found of Half Moon Lake via Google image search (as usual…)
Not breathtaking, but nice enough.
I have to admit, I’m biased. I mean, our whole day at Half Moon Lake was a bit…doomed. First of all, we got ice cream from this cute little ice cream stand/cabin thing, which was super exciting, but then my brother Bryan dropped his strawberry cone into the sand and the day was effectively ruined. Like, he was so upset that not even a new ice cream cone could soften the blow.
Then it got worse.
We – that is, my mom, dad, brother, and I – were all playing in the sand. I think I was working on the tower to a sand castle, which just means I was packing somewhat wet sand into a small plastic bucket. It was warm and sunny. I’m pretty sure I was even wearing a bathing suit. (Probably one of the last times I ever wore one.) It was almost like being on what my mom would call “a real beach.”*
Then it happened.
A little girl screaming.
I looked up, scanning the sandy area around me, trying to place where the desperate screams were coming from.
Then I realized that the little girl screaming was standing about waist deep in the water.
Look, at this point, I was already not a fan of water. And now I was watching in horror as a girl who was basically my age was SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER while standing in the water.
I was certain it was a shark and we were all going to die. Yes, even those of us who were not actually in the water.
Sharks have their ways.
The girl’s dad or mom or whoever ran to her rescue. As it turned out, it was not a shark
It was a leech.
As an adult, I say LOOK AT IT. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS.
So, we didn’t go into the water at Half Moon Lake that day. And now that I think of it, we never went back to Half Moon Lake, either.
Lesson learned: Sharks aren’t the only reason to be scared of the water. Leeches are also a valid concern.
*What qualifies as a “real beach,” you say? I don’t know. You have to ask my mom. She’s from Mozambique. She knows her shit.