The Normal Mormon Wife is a straight arrow. She lives a very clean, pure, wholesome life. For example, in the twelve years that we have been together I have never heard her swear. And I'm not talking about just the major cuss words that naturally flow from Jerry Sloan's mouth every time it opens. I have never even heard the NMW use any of the "minor" swear words that appear in the scriptures unless she is actually reading the scriptures. In fact, I think she squirms a little when she has to read verses like Mormon 9:4 and would feel more comfortable referring to the "...darned souls in heck" instead of the doctrinally correct scriptural verbiage.
So imagine my shock when my pure, virtuous wife told me that she wanted to take a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to broaden her horizons in three areas:
I felt in that moment like Danny Zuko must have felt when Sandy unexpectedly shows up at the Rydell High carnival in skin-tight black leather pants and high heels while puffing on a Virginia Slim. Needless to say, I had chills. And yes, they were multiplying. But no, I did not lose control.
Well, we took the trip to Myrtle Beach and the NMW got what she needed in terms of implants, drugs and happiness. And if those provocative topics are not scandalous enough for you, our weekend also included heavy doses of binge drinking, profanity, and skimpy bikinis.
Ahhhh, you've gotta love South Carolina.
I try to stay away from South Carolina as much as possible because odd things tend to happen to me there. One recent experience in South Carolina ended up with me dealing with hobos and defecating canines. While I am pretty sure that both of these groups have large representation in the South Carolina state senate, I am not used to personally dealing with either of them. The purpose of my last visit to South Carolina was to tell fifty people that they would be losing their jobs because their plant will be shut down later this year. Good times!
So, you must be asking yourself, why would a temple recommending holding happily married mother of three be looking for happiness in implants and drugs at Myrtle Beach?
The answer is simple - she is a dental hygienist. In order for the NMW to keep her license she needs to complete continuing education classes every year. This year a large convention was held at Myrtle Beach where the NMW was able to learn about dental implants, dental anesthesia (read: drugs), and finding professional happiness in the dental office. The whole thing sounded so much more tawdry when taken out of context, didn't it?
I'll get to the binge drinking and bikinis later.
The NMW's convention ran from Thursday through Saturday and since we had already booked a beachfront hotel, I took Thursday and Friday as vacation days from work and went along for the ride.
My part of the bargain sounded pretty fun. While the NMW would be in boring classes from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., I would be able to just kick back with my three kids who are seven years, five years, and eleven months old. We would wake up late, eat mini-Hostess powdered doughnuts for breakfast, drink chocolate milk, watch Disney Channel, lounge at the indoor pool, then hit the beach for a few hours. Sounds great, right?
I did not realize what a terrifying place the beach can be with only one semi-competent parent trying to keep track of all three kids at the same time. Instead of just relaxing at the beach, I had to spend hours on end assessing all of the ways my children could die if I took my eyes off of them for more than seven seconds.
My seven year old son is a decent swimmer, yet he kept taking his boogie board just a little too far into the ocean for my liking. Every five seconds I was looking for him to make sure he wasn't drowning. I just knew that at any given moment I would have to spring into action like a hunky Baywatch lifeguard and rescue my son. Assuming, of course, that hunky Baywatch lifeguards also have farmer tans, flabby stomachs and herniated discs in their lower backs.
My five year old daughter cannot swim so we bought her a life jacket. Every minute she spent in the water the tide would push her about fifty feet away from my spot on the beach. I was terrified that she would end up losing sight of me and getting lost somewhere on the beach. Or worse, kidnapped. And believe me, there were a fair number of shady looking men who probably drove "kidnapper vans" (you know, 1970's model, no windows, shag carpeting, rusted mufflers, public library bumper stickers, etc.) and were just waiting for me to turn my head so that they could pounce and kidnap my daughter.
At one point I literally had to force my eyes to work independently of each other like a chameleon so that I could simultaneously watch my nearly-drowning son and my nearly-kidnapped daughter.
Oh, yeah, and then there was my 11-month-old girl. At the same time I was watching the older kids I also had to make sure that my baby girl didn't get sunburned. Or eat sand. Or put sea shells in her mouth. Or poop her swim diaper. Or get dehydrated. Or get run over by the hunky lifeguards on their ATV's.
Then, to top it all off, we found out that it was national college fraternity/sorority week! And, as luck would have it, a horde or drunken college students decided to set up shop about six feet from my spot on the beach. After observing their behavior for about thirty seconds I concluded that there were five requirements to get into their fraternities/sororities:
1) Get drunk.
2) Use the "F-word" in new and creative ways.
3) Scream "WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOO!!!!!" at the top of your lungs and run head first into the waves.
4) Get even drunker.
5) Men must wear swim trunks that show the cracks of their rear ends; ladies must wear bikinis the size of baby wipes.
In addition to the perils of drowning, kidnapping, sunburns and sand eating, I now had to worry that my children would return home talking like Andrew Dice Clay. Or, worse yet, using the real words for "darn" and "heck" when we read the scriptures.
And just when I thought things could not possibly get any worse, the sorority bikini squad attacked me.
Well, not me, exactly, unless attractive twenty-year-old female coeds are attracted to married guys in their mid-thirties with three kids, a farmer tan, a flabby stomach and a bad back. No, they were in love with my adorable 11-month-old daughter and they, "just had to come over and say 'hi' to her! (Giggle, giggle!)"
The bikini squad consisted of four young ladies who, as the scriptures might say, were "very fair" and "woreth smalleth bikinieth." I am pretty sure that they were also mincing and making a tinkling with their feet, but I was too afraid to look closely enough to verify that statement. Being surrounded by four intoxicated, scantily clad, extremely excited young women at Myrtle Beach while my wife was nowhere to be seen was one of the most awkward moments of my adult life. I was half-tempted to get up and flee like Joseph before Potiphar's wife, but guys with herniated discs are not quite as nimble as Joseph. My version of fleeing right now is probably similar to that of a walrus making his way from the beach to the ocean. Only I have to grunt more often than the walrus does.
My only option was to blush like a tomato and engage the bikini squad in conversation until they left. Or passed out due to alcohol poisoning. Whatever. We spoke for about three minutes before they moved on to flirt with a boy named "C.J.", who was apparently childless, had an even tan, sported six pack abs, and appeared to have a fully-functional back.
As soon as the bikini squad left I realized that I had taken my eyes off of my seven and five year old kids! I quickly scanned the beach and ocean and did not see either of my children. I immediately started thinking of ways to explain to the NMW just exactly how I lost two of our three children at the beach:
"Well, hon, the funniest thing happened. You see those four nice looking, young, slightly drunk girls in the bikinis over there? Well, the five of us got to talking on the beach for a while...."
Oh, man, I was dead!
Then, fortunately, I saw the Normal Mormon Boy's head pop up from behind a small wave. I then located my five-year-old daughter building sand castles several feet up the beach from where she had been playing earlier. Plus, my infant daughter had still not gone #2 in her swim diaper. We were all alive. Life was good.
Instead of continuing to press my luck at the Death Hole - I mean Myrtle Beach - I grabbed my kids as quickly as humanly possible and told them we were spending the rest of the day in the hotel room watching a marathon of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody on the Disney Channel. Since we do not have cable at home the kids were all for it.
And I am proud to report that I got my kids away from the frat boys before either of them picked up any creative ways to drop an F-bomb. Yep, they are still a couple of straight arrows.
Just like their mom.
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