Monday, October 10, 2016

Boy Was My Face Red

Typically one is happy to receive an award or trophy, and they are proud to display it for everyone to see. Now I haven't received many awards or trophies in my lifetime but I can tell you that I earned one trophy when I was a teenager that I hid and hoped the entire world (my small circle of friends and acquaintances) would forget about.

It was the summer of '74 when I found myself the recipient of that ill begotten award. At the time, like many 14yr old girls I was awkward and self conscious, often finding comfort by reading true stories submitted to Young Miss magazine for their 'Boy, was my face red' feature. The stories were never anything really shocking and in a way put everyday little mishaps into perspective. Then it happened! I had a story that topped every story I had ever read, but there was NO way I was going to write in to the magazine and share my humiliation.
Growing up in Southern California my summers consisted of long afternoons surfing the waves, fun filled times at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm and Baseball! Now if you are fortunate enough to remember the 70's, you may remember that national news agencies proclaimed a streaking epidemic in '73 that rose in popularity and was was called a "a growing Los Angeles-area fad" by Time magazine in it's December '73 issue. By the summer of '74 streaking had reached a high point in pop culture with a wide range of novelty products flooding the market and Ray Steven's song "The Streak" hitting number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May. While I thought the song was great and regularly attending Dodger games so I had seen my share of streakers, I was not usually one to follow fads and I certainly had no intention of bearing it all to follow that one.

What I didn't know was that Ol' Neptune had different ideas. No one warned me when I chose to follow the string bikini fad that I would be setting myself up to join the growing number of individuals following the streaking fad. While body surfing one hot afternoon, I discovered just how much Ol' Neptune likes his ladies bare.

As was my typical routine, I had gone to the beach with my eighteen year old brother and a large group of his friends. It was a bright sunny day and the waves were really good, probably thanks the rather strong rip tide. We had been surfing for a few hours when I saw what would be both the best and worst wave of the day. I quickly swam out, positioning myself for probably the best body surfing I have ever done. It was perfect! I caught that wave and rode it all the way in. With the thrill of the ride still running high in my system I leaped to my feet as I the wave deposited me on the shore. I know I must have been grinning like a cat that just caught the fattest mouse. Then I saw one of my brother's friends. He was standing directly in front of me with the most shocked look on his face I had ever seen.

I could feel the rip tide pulling the wave back out to sea as I looked down and discovered I was Naked! As fast as I could I STREAKED back into the ocean, looking around for my best friend or my brother in the hopes they would bring me a towel. Much to my dismay neither were anywhere to be seen. Instead it was my brother's friend who ran and got a towel, then waded out into the water to give me the towel. I was very grateful but still completely mortified and hoped that no one else had witnessed the event. My hopes were soon dashed when a few days latter I received an award, which was quickly hidden away, that read "World's Fastest Streak".  It stayed hidden for many years, and although others enjoyed reminding me of how I got the award I did not talk about it until my own daughter became a teenager. 

She too loved to surf and one afternoon before heading out to buy her a new swimsuit I pulled it out and told the story as a warning to be very careful of the bathing suit she was about to choose. I had completely forgotten the incident when Liselman posted this on his blog and reminded me. As I read his post I found myself laughing at the memory of my short streaking career, and promised to post my story. I looked for the award but have no idea where it has gone. It is most probably buried under a ton of rubbish in a landfill somewhere, so I decided to have a bit of fun and make one.

Have you ever wondered why it is that we find events that at the time totally embarrassed us so funny years later?

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