Adventures Childhood Family

Round two with the sea

I don’t like losing. Granted, I don’t know many people who actually like losing, but I do know plenty of people who do not have it actively affect their blood pressure, even if it is something as important as a board game or a football game on TV.

So when the sea challenged me to a rematch, you can believe that I was itching for my chance at revenge for my previous loss.

I know what you’re thinking having read that last sentence: How much saltwater did I drink to make myself hallucinate?

Alas, it’s not that. (I think.) It’s just that when I am presented with a challenge, I often find it is a great motivator if I can avenge a prior defeat. I told you a few weeks about losing a chair to the ocean, when it was swept into a harbor courtesy of the wind and inattentive crabbing companions. Despite my best efforts, the sea won that day, and it now owns what used to be my wife’s favorite chair.

I took the defeat personally and have routinely shaken my fist in the general direction of the ocean, just to let it know I haven’t forgotten.

So imagine my delight when I was presented with another face-to-face matchup with my old nemesis, the chair-thieving ocean itself.

I was on a dock near a river that feeds into the ocean. My son had a bucket with him, along with his trusty Bubble Box, an aerator about the size of two iPhones stacked together. It clips to the side of the bucket and keeps the water oxygenated and thus any living things inside said bucket alive. Well, at least they don’t die from lack of oxygen. We are constantly finding new combinations of living creatures that do not play well together in the same confined water space.

He had a caught a small fish he was observing, but realized he had put a bit more water in the bucket that he intended. He tilted the bucket to dump the water. And the Bubble Box decided it was time to go for a swim.

“NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” my son cried out as it immediately sunk. He looked at me. Then back at the water. Then back at me.

I did what any of you would have done. I pointed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Ha! Just kidding. The look on his face told me this was no laughing matter, and doing that would not have been a good idea, if for no other reason than it would make me an awful person.

“What do we do? What do we do?!?!??!”

Challenge accepted, sea.

I emptied my pockets and jumped in the water. It was about 10 feet deep, which was fortunately deep enough where I could no longer see the “No Jumping from the Dock” sign.

I went flat and extended my hands out, only momentarily thinking about how many stingrays we had caught in this river over the years. Nothing.

I came back up for air. “Did you find it!?!?!?”

Back down again. I moved forward a little more, to where I thought the Bubble Box had fallen in. Because it is powered by two D batteries, it’s fairly heavy, so I guessed it would have gone fairly straight down. I extended my hands again. I felt something. And it was an oyster, which only gave me a small cut. Great, I thought, some blood in the water, in the river we have caught numerous sharks over the years. I reached my hand a little further. And there it was.

I felt the block, nestled right past the attack oyster. I grabbed the box and pushed off. When I broke the surface my son said, “Did you…” I cut him off by reaching up and triumphantly placing the Bubble Box at his feet on the dock.

Victory is mine, sea.

Fortunately, the Bubble Box still worked, which is a testament to its durability. It was up and running again in no time, and we decided that removing it from the side of the bucket before dumping water would be a good practice for the future.

With my victory securely in hand, I am riding high at knowing today was not my day to be the loser. It was yours, sea. Let’s just hope it’s not a best of three series.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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