Friday, August 22, 2008

When Nature Calls

Thing 1 hobbled through the gate. Beneath her oversized safari hat and knock-off designer sunglasses from Claire's (the most evil of crap-filled chain stores in a mall near you if you are the parent of a tween girl), she twisted up her mouth in pain.

"Daaaaaa-deeeeeee!" she sobbed. "I got stunged by a jellyfiiiiiiiiish."

I forgave her poor conjugation of verbs this time. It was obvious she was in a world of hurt.

"Where'd he get you?"

"On the beeeeeeeeach. I was fishing … with Mom … "

(Yes, Thing 1 and My Love were pointlessly sending XXXL bloodworms to their death on the Atlantic shores while I, Non-Sportsman of the Year, lounged about the pool of our rental home, mentally calculating physics and chemical compositions in effort to correctly determine which would be frozen first -- the Bucket O' Margaritas or Bucket O' Mojitos. This was important business as cocktail hour on our vacations commence promptly at 11:03 a.m. -- EDT.)

"I figured that much, honey. I mean where on your body did you get stung?"

"My foooOOOOOOoooooooot," she crooned pathetically.

In all the hours I have logged on the beach over my 40 summers of painful family and joyful non-family vacations, I had one fleeting encounter with Aurelia aurita. It left me with an itchy, scarlet rash on my inner thigh. Lest you think it was something else, perv, I was only 9 at the time and quite unskilled in the ways of women. Well, even less skilled than I am today. Regardless, I sucked it up and didn't breathe a word of it because I was raised Roman Catholic and we just don't talk about such things. Ever.

I sorted through my memory banks for some nugget of past learning that might apply to dealing with a jellyfish sting.

Let's see, let's see ... butter? No, no -- that's for burns. At least that's what they used in that pirate movie I saw on Channel 11 once when I was a kid. Besides, we only have Smart Balance.

Meat tenderizer? Accent! Yes! … No, no, NO, dam the Yangtze! All we have is Mrs. Dash. Curse this borderline blood pressure of mine!

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling … wait for it.

Must-See TV Thursdays. Yes. Processing.

"Friends." Monica. Joey. Beach.


In preparation for the aforementioned cocktail hour, I had been downing pint after lemon-wedged pint of seven-time filtered Aquafina -- official sponsor of my four-waking hours of daily sobriety whilst on vacation.

"OK, come with me," I said, leading her upstairs to our bathroom on the third floor. "This is my time to shine."

Thing 1 sat on the edge of the whirlpool bathtub. "Owwwwie! It stings. It stings. Owwwwwie!" she cried.

"It's OK, sweetie pie. Daddy's bladder is fully charged with liquid gold painkiller."

"Huh? Mom said put vinegar on it. Noooooooow, Daddeeeeeee!"

"Look, your Mom was raised amid a zillion square miles of cornfields. The closest she came to a jelly was bag of Swedish Fish at the matinee. Look, I'm locked and loaded."

"Daaaddeeeee! Nooooooooooo!"

And then I whipped out … my laptop.

See, during this whole time, I had been stalling so my Wi-Fi connection could fire up and I could double check Sure enough, it confirmed vinegar followed by hydrocortisone cream, which we never travel without for reasons I'll let you ponder silently to yourself.

"All right, sweetie, what do you want: balsamic or red wine? Croutons? A little fresh pepper, perhaps?"

Hungry for more humor? Go to and give me a smile!


  1. It's a blessing, really, that I am landlocked, for I never have vinegar.

    Also? I wiled away many a teenage hour heisting the inventory of Claire's Boutique when my mom dropped me and my friends at the mall. I imagine I've paid my dues for my crimes, for all the earrings I lifted left my lobes infected. In a strange twist, I wonder if vinegar would have worked on my cheap earring affliction. Hmmm...

  2. oh dear god. I remember that episode. And for more than a second I thought you might actually pee on her.

  3. Oh. Thank. God.

    I know that if you had to, you would have manned up and peed on the girl. But I am just SO grateful that this wasn't the occasion that demanded that particular brand of manliness.

  4. This is the third blog on which I have have learned of the evils of jellyfish. The great thing about the Great Lakes? No jellyfish.

  5. I think it's a fair trade. You hold her pee cup and you can pee on her jellyfish wound. Daddy/Daughter bonding people, it's bonding.

  6. as my father said to me this summer, man can exist on nothing but vegetable juice (aka Bloody Marys) and water (aka Coors Light) at the beach.

  7. I think I'd rather smell like a salad then the alternative.

  8. I am allllll about the $1.69 gallon of white vinegar (preferably from the Grade A). My house stinks like a pickle barrel, but I'll take it over the "green" concoctions available in the poison, i mean CLEANING, aisle any day.

  9. Well.......did they catch anything? Sorry. That's the Flyfisherman in me showing. I'm glad everything worked out. And by worked out I mean I'm glad you didn't have to pee on your Daughter. *shiver*

  10. CIII - They caught a spot and a small flounder. Our friend caught a stingray.

  11. If I remember that espoide wasnt that when one of Ross's girlfriends also shaved her head? Yes the things we can learn from friends.
    One more question....which froze first...the mojoito or marguerita???

  12. Dude. You kill me.

  13. LMAO. I seriously thought you were going to pee on her. I would've.

  14. There was a guy up here at the cape who had a face to face encounter with a jelly fish. In that the jelly fish got sucked onto his face. I wonder what the poor lifeguards were thinking. How would you have handled it?

    Btw, I am quite familiar with Claires, having witnessed my almost 11 yr old daughter agonize over how much crap - er - stuff she can buy with only a 10 dollar gift card.

  15. I often tell my kids, "I'd walk through fire for you, you know that?" Now I'm gonna replace it with "I'd pee on you, you know that?"
    They'll be so grossed out.

  16. We recently had a discussion regarding this episode of friends while on our beach vacation.

    My mother, bless her heart, can be extremely naive and ditzy, but also well meaning and kind to strangers. When a little girl apparently wa stung by a jelly fish, she called for me to remove Aidan from the ocean where I had sent him to pee, yes I am THAT mom who does not move off her beach chair to take her children to the bathroom, so that he could help the little girl.

  17. My six year old recently discovered Claires. She has pissed away quite of bit of allowance at that place. Of course, I pissed away quite a bit of allowance at that place too.

    Glad we live in WI. No jellyfish in Lake Michigan.

  18. excellent post. excellent. I woulda bet money you were gonna pee on it. HA

  19. "Daddy's bladder is fully charged with liquid gold painkiller."

    If I ever have kids I'm going to hurl jellyfish at them by the hour until I can use that quality line. Nice one!

  20. I'm amused - very amused... I too would be calculating which would freeze first...

  21. So was Monica and Chandler's last scene a mere foreshadowing of what was to come, or were the writers desperate for episode material, jumping the hookup shark?

  22. ...and another thing...
    THANK YOU for adding me to your blog roll!

  23. OH my gosh, I really thought you were going to do it. Excellent post.

    My mom worked at Claire's when I was a teenager. The stock of crap I had would make my daughter envious today.

    Thanks for coming by to visit me.

  24. We got stung by jelly fish this summer too. NOT FUN!

    So glad you didn't have to pee. :o)

  25. I LOVE Friends and that's what I thought of instantly too!

    And I really thought you were going to pee on her for a minute! Glad you didn't though!

  26. Nice.

    My niece was here in CT this summer and got stung ("bitten") by a jellyfish. We told her it was good luck. Which only made her brother jealous of the sting.

  27. You are an excellent dad!
    Unlike a jelly fish you have the backbone it takes to care for your kids.

  28. I SO thought you were going to pee on her.

    My family all has instant recall of any and all Friends episodes - it's our let's-go-to-sleep-with-a-smile-on-our-face ritual.

    BTW A paste of meat tenderizer and vinegar works well too.

  29. Oh.
    So, you're saying that when my 16 year old daughter got BITTEN BY A SHARK I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING this summer in South Carolina I was NOT supposed to pee on her?
    That explains the looks I got from the Beach Patrol...

  30. I was soooooo hoping you weren't going to pull a "Friends" moment.


  31. I was seriously scared for Thing 1. The peeing would have been traumatic! Well, I'm assuming anyway. Not that I'm referring to your plumbing or anything specifically. I, um . . . will stop digging and shut up now. :)

  32. It still would have been pretty interesting to see your daughter on Oprah one day b/c she was traumatized for life when her Dad peed on her. Ah...The things we do for our children.

  33. So crazy! Our family just took a trip to the coast and my son was playing in the ocean when I saw a dead jellyfish wash up on the beach. I freaked out and made us evacuate immediately. It was as though there was a shark sighting or something. I told hubby that I better be able to conjure up some pee fast if I needed it. He looked at me like I was crazy. I replied, "Friends? Duh! Remember how Monica peed at the beach?"


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