Well, good morning (/whatever greeting is appropriate to the hour at which you are (supposedly) reading this) blogees!
Who's in the mood for a story? I hope you are, or you'll be kind of disappointed by this bloggage.
I'm about to explain my only hatred for any living thing. I'm the freak who will trap moths and ants and stinkbugs and set them on the ground outside. I'm the girl who gets out of the car to move a turtle out of the street. I chase frogs out of the tall grass before we mow the lawn. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Because I believe that every one of God's creations has the right to live the life it's been given.
Not these creations though. And so my story begins.
Once upon a time, my family took a little vacation to Florianopolis. (It's a coastline city in Brazil...at the time, this was just a "little vacation" because we weren't in the States...dahn't yah rrrecahgnahze mah ahccent?!? Just kidding. That's not even an accent known to the natural world. Okay, back to my story.) When you're in a coastline city in Brazil that's known for its natural beauty, you go to the beach, of course. My brother was pretty little, so my mom stayed at the hotel with him, so it was just myself and my two sisters and my dad.
So here's what we have to work with: lengthy white sandy beach, perfectly blue-green Atlantic ocean creeping up and down the damp shoreline, white crests of waves making designs along the horizon line like tendrils of frost on a window. Men and women that might as well have been pulled straight out of swimsuit ads...and they're everywhere! Basically, this place looks like a "wish you were here" postcard ALL THE TIME. And there I am, nine years old (I think, or something like that), soaking it all in from my boogie board, ridin' the waves.
Hey! Stop your snorting. I was quite the boogie-boarder in my day. I'm still pretty good at it, so...yeah. Don't judge.
Anyway, I had just ridden a wave into shallower water and was getting ready to head back out, when suddenly I felt something tickle my knee-pit.
You all know exactly what I'm talking about. Knee-pits are probably more ticklish than armpits, people just don't give them enough credit because they get aired out more. And what is your initial reaction when someone tickles your armpit? You clamp it against you with every ounce of effort you possess. So, naturally, that's exactly what I did. I picked my foot up off the ocean floor and squeezed my knee-pit shut. (That was kind of difficult to describe.)
Unfortunately, what I didn't know as I was performing this natural anti-tickling reaction was that I was not being tickled by a strand of seaweed, or a stray straw wrapper, or even some old guy creepin' underwater with a pair of goggles. Nope, I wasn't that lucky. (What?) It was...well, I'll get to that in a moment. Gotta keep you blogees on the edges of your seats.
There was this sharp pain suddenly shooting through my knee and thigh, and it felt like someone slammed a sharp elbow into my stomach and tightened two massive hands around both my lungs. And...I was nine years old, you guys. Of course I started crying a little. I started looking around for help. This couple walked by staring at me the entire time, like I was psychotic or something. Probably because I was a skinny white girl with a boogie board strapped to her wrist, sobbing in paradise (AKA any Brazilian beach). But anyway...that's no excuse. Then this massive body-builder type guy (or at least he looked that way to little me), with a friendly face and dark skin, splashed over to me and just said "agua-viva."
Now, if any of you have any knowledge of Portuguese or the romance languages in general, you know that "agua-viva" literally means "living water." Which is what we call Jesus in some praise songs, by the way. So forgive me if all I did was stare at him like he was the crazy one. Then he pointed at the water about four feet away, and I saw what he meant.
Don't laugh, people. This was a scary jellyfish. With red and pink veins and stuff. I gasped, and that guy scooped me up and carried me to my dad. (Now that I think about it, I have no idea how he knew who my dad was...hmmm.)
As soon as the stranger dropped me onto my towel on the beach, I started throwing up. I won't give too many details now, in case you've just eaten, but I'll just say it was ch-ch-ch-chunkay! (You're welcome. I know you needed that.) And I just kept spewing chunks, and my dad kept piling sand on top. (I pity the little kid who went digging for seashells after we left...) Then this random girl, probably in her early teens, came over and said, "Vai aos bombeiros porque eles tem remedio," in the sweetest little voice ever. I still remember exactly how she said it. What a Godsend, she was. Oh, right, translation: "Go to the lifeguards because they have medicine."
Basically, the quarter-mile walk to the lifeguards' station was a disaster. I had to stop walking every few yards due the searing pain in my stomach and chest. And the dry heaves. And my knee-pit had this massive red spot that was spreading across my leg. Kind of unnerving.
When we arrived at our temporary destination, there were two or three other people sitting on the deck; one had a red sting from his neck to his elbow, and the other had one on his/her chest or stomach or something, I think. They had just sent another jelly-sting victim to the hospital. The lifeguards told me I was lucky, because the venom couldn't spread anywhere vital from my leg or something. Not quickly, anyway. They dabbed this stuff called "Especifico" on it, or at least that's what it sounded like. It was almost instant pain relief, but I was still sick and short of breath. They told me not to eat for a long time, and we made our way back to the hotel.
Even with Dad carrying me, I had to stop and take breaks. My sisters carried all the beach stuff, so...give them a figurative round of applause.
And guess what? I survived. I still have a scar, which is pretty cool.
But I hate jellyfish with every fiber of my being. You know that part in "Finding Nemo?" Can't stand it. Ugh. Sick.
So the moral of the story is, clearly, that you should start training yourself now to resist the anti-tickling impulse. It could save your lunch.
On the other hand, you wouldn't have a fantastic story like this to tell. So it's your call.